The Changing Economics of Produce

PMA High Performence Mgt Conference

Slide from my recent session at The Produce Marketing Association High Performance Management Conference.  I’m still working out the challenges and opportunities from this trend, but digital communication with consumers will play a big role. What do you think?


headshot newMaryanne Conlin is an award-winning digital marketing expert and CEO of RedRopes Digital, a consulting firm focused on building strong digital brands. Check back in a few days to access her December 5th presentation at the PMA High Performance Management Conference . Meanwhile, connect with her on Twitter @maryanneconlin.


Drive Repeat Purchase With Food Fusion

 Since I work in the food industry, in particular with brands of less well known foods…by choice, I might add, I am always on the look out for ways to incorporate the unusual into the American diet.

I’m fortunate that I tend to work for truly healthy foods – but I get to use the “health” message, far less often than the “tasty” one. Wow – look at this delicious, delectable way to use fresh subterranean spinach pear … can you imagine how you will love biting into this? Incidentally, go ahead…it’s healthy too.



Convincing trial is less arduous than one might think in this “Foodie’ culture of ours – people are willing to try. It’s helping them figure out how to actually use this new “stuff” they brought home, on a regular basis and put in their cabinet or frig that can be challenging.

So, I like to read articles, like this one in Fast Company: Dip Into Innovation: How Sabra’s CEO Is Going To Put Hummus In Every U.S. Fridge.

Cut to the chase here- the key to getting beyond trial and into the weekly menu is embracing “fusion”.  American consumers are so much more willing to add a new food to a beloved dish than they are to incorporate a new dish into their diet. Find a twist on any standard dish that drives the top chef in any household batty with its repetitiveness in their family’s repertoire and you have an almost guaranteed winner.

But getting there is not so easy.  It takes lots and lots of mouthwatering examples, otherwise known as recipes to hit on that combination of meal ideas that speak to the palate of target consumers.  It takes hours of recipe development and importantly visual and textual presentation on digital properties. In this age of social media, broadcasting is optimal…over and over on a variety of social media platforms in various guises…as a pin, as a post as a tweet .  It takes relationship building with the hundreds of thousands of chefs, dieticians, bloggers, foodies and household chefs to build an information web visible enough to change consumer behavior on an ongoing basis.

Food: Porn, Paparazzi and Pleasing To The Eye

The intersection of food and photography, while always important has, if nothing become democratized in the past few years.

Last week during Social Media Week, LA I had the opportunity to attend a few of the panels, one of which was Feed Me – How technology and social media are changing the way we eat.

I would probably be more specific. While the channels (social media, mobile computing, etc.) have changed the way we broadcast what we eat, I’d be more apt to say that the biggest revolution is the way we communicate information about food to each other. More pictures, fewer words. That is, along with taste and smell, visual appeal has gone well beyond something engaged in by food stylists to something to strive for by everyday cooks and small, hole-in-the-wall  restaurants.

A few tidbits I learned that exemplify that:

  • Over 40% of photos uploaded on Pinterest during the Superbowl were of food.
  • Desserts and well presented dishes are most shared on social media
  • Eighteen percent of food photo tweets are of food
  • Most uploaded food photos on Twitter occur at dinnertime!

My takeaway, surprisingly enough, was not “ feature lots of food photos on your brand site”. It was, what I have been successfully implementing with one of my clients right now – give your visitors an easy way to share their own food photos, recipes and tips.

Do this on your Facebook page, on Twitter and Pinterest and on your website. Easily double the number of ways you show your consumers how they can use your product by encouraging content developer fans to contribute.

And keep taking those pics yourself!

The Organic Debate – Why Consumers Buy Organic Anyway!

Surfing the different posts on the web about the recent debate on the health benefits of organic, I keep coming back to a simple question that needs to be considered…as a marketer, I mean:

Why in the world consumers buy organic anyway?

It’s not “nutritional value”.

It’s not vitamin content.
It’s Pesticides…or lack of them actually. ( and some GMO concern thrown in there too.)

So, am I worried about the impact of this recent report on marketing organics?