Food For Thought - RMD Blog

Do Certifications Matter in the Restaurant/Food Service Category?

Do Certifications Matter in the Restaurant/Food Service Category?

Entrepreneurial Chef Magazine authored article by Sue Reninger

By Sue Reninger, Managing Partner and Client Brand Strategist

The food industry is independently unique, and today, consumers are more educated and thinking more critically than ever. In fact, many have begun asking whether the industry and the restaurants it encapsulates are doing their part to maintain the integrity guests so desperately desire.

Are we doing our part to lead guests to better, more healthful and more sustainable choices? Are we offering guests the food from our menus because we truly believe in its inherent good?

To best serve restaurant guests, today’s chefs and their menus need to reflect the restaurant as a brand, but also its mission and values, overall. For many, that means turning to the power of third-party certifications. Top certifications in the food world include, but are not limited to, a handful of the select elite:

USDA Organic: This relevant certification regulates the standards for any farm, wild crop harvesting, or handling operation that wants to sell an agricultural product as organically produced.

Why this certification is important: A 2016 poll from the Pew Research Center found that 55 percent of Americans believe that organic food is healthier than conventional. This is particularly true of organically grown fruits and vegetables. The market reached $43 billion in 2016, and a 2017 survey found that 82 percent of American homes stock organic food.

In considering certified organic ingredients versus foods simply labeled as ‘organic’, consider the fact that a certification requires that farmers and handlers document their processes and get inspected every year. This ultimately allows you to make an educated and informed choice for your restaurant.

Non-GMO Project Verified: The Non-GMO Project is an independent verifier of products made according to best practices for avoiding genetically modified organisms in the U.S. and Canada.

Why this certification is important: A non-GMO market insight report released by Mintel in February 2017 states 34 percent of Baby Boomers and 29 percent of Millennials surveyed avoid genetically modified foods in their diet, which supports the fact that this mindset spans generations. Research demonstrates today’s restaurant guests are actively seeking out non-GMO foods, and the ingredients on your menu can mirror their concern.

 Certified Gluten-Free: The Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO)is dedicated to providing certification services to producers of gluten-free products using quality assessment and control measures throughout production, in order to provide consumer assurance of the safety of their foods.

Why this certification is important: With rigorous standards ensuring no cross contamination, a Gluten-Free Certification oftentimes means you can cater to a still growing community of foodies. For guests not participating in an exclusively gluten-free diet, your commitment will help them perceive your restaurant as one that is both tolerant of these special dietary needs and inclusive of their friends and family who rely on a gluten-free diet.

 Certified Humane: Administered by independent nonprofit Humane Farm Animal Care, this program ensures that animals raised for dairy, lamb, poultry or beef products are treated humanely and with their welfare in mind.

Why this certification is important: Packaged Facts survey data from February through March 2017 show that 58 percent of U.S. consumers are more concerned about animal welfare than they were just a few years ago. This certification shows them you are listening, and even more, doing your part to support a sustainable food system.

Certified Vegan: Products Certified Vegan speak most prominently to a population of food lovers interested in vegan products. The certification ultimately aims to help vegans shop and eat with confidence. It also helps companies and restaurants recognize a growing vegan market and brings the word Vegan—and the lifestyle it represents—into the mainstream.

Why this certification is important: While your restaurant does not need a certification to wear a vegan label, ensuring the ingredients you use on your menu have integrity behind them is important to restaurant-goers. Show them you align with their values and respect their need for complete transparency.

Above all, the certifications and conversations surrounding food should demonstrate to restaurant leaders the way guests view nutritional information is vastly different from what it once was, and what it will be in the years to come.

In reflecting upon whether your menu should showcase the trends and certifications that have frequently spotted the food industry, consider the restaurant’s authenticity through the guest’s eyes. If your menu no longer speaks to your core guest or aligns with their values, it won’t be long before your brand lags behind your competitive counterparts.

Today, third-party certifications can help affirm your restaurant’s commitment to transparency and authenticity. Furthermore, third-party certifiers can act as strong partners in bringing a menu and dining experience that match what you envision for your brand to reality. For brands especially focused on the up and coming generations of restaurant goers, certifications can help shape your image, convey the values your company stands for and, as a result, build loyalty.

This outward reflection of your restaurant’s internally stated morals is one avenue by which you can show shoppers you are committed to their wellbeing, while still boasting an impressive menu.

 

O’Dwyer’s Recognizes RMD as a Top 20 Food Advertising Agency

O’Dwyer’s Recognizes RMD as a Top 20 Food Advertising Agency

RMD Advertising, a fully integrated advertising and brand strategy agency with a sole focus on the challenger food brand category, has been recognized by O’Dwyer’s among the top twenty agencies   nationwide specializing in food. This acknowledgment demonstrates RMD’s exemplary work within the advertising, public relations, digital and social media worlds, particularly within the food industry. A total of 48 agencies complete the O’Dwyer’s list of top Food & Beverage Public Relations Firms of 2018, ranking those that have demonstrated their expertise in niche marketing within the food industry.

RMD is honored by O'Dwyer'sIn being determined as an agency within the top 20 performing firms, RMD’s depth of knowledge within the challenger food category, specifically, separates it from the rest. An accomplished 26-year history and a full roster of blue-chip food clients has marked RMD’s presence as a growing force. The agency is known for serving national food brands that are category leaders – brands that have carved out a strong niche for themselves and prefer to work with a food agency that is as committed to their growth as they are. What differentiates RMD is a compelling promise to documenting tangible results backed by unique expertise that precedes confidence in sales-oriented results.

“RMD has always been focused on quality, smart and highly strategic work. The challenger food category is where we shine,” shares Sue Reninger, Managing Partner, Client Brand Strategist at RMD Advertising. “To be recognized for our integrated work for food and only food for the past 15 years is an honor. We’re proud to be able to work with passionate food brands, who have driven us to continue growing, pushing and making strides within this exciting industry.”

RMD’s ideas address the agency’s clients’ challenges with solutions embodying the words smart, creative, sharp, passionate and problem solving. Objectively considered one of the strongest brand-oriented challenger food advertising agencies, the RMD team works to find a better way for clients to relate to their audiences from both emotional and intellectual perspectives.

In The News: Enhancing The Food Influencer Program Brings Greater Awareness to Challenger Food Brands

In The News: Enhancing The Food Influencer Program Brings Greater Awareness to Challenger Food Brands

RMD Advertising, a fully integrated advertising, public relations and brand strategy agency, focusing exclusively on growing challenger food brands, announces its renewed strategy to influencer marketing with a unique program. This exclusive program invites food brands to celebrate new levels of awareness. It also allows digital influencers to become official brand ambassadors for RMD’s food brand clients. As brand ambassadors, influencers will create unique recipes and work with these challenger food brands in unique ways.     RMD_Influencer

According to Forbes, 30% of consumers are more likely to buy a product from a non-celebrity blogger. Similarly, 70% of millennial consumers are influenced by online reviews of products by their peers. This consumer to consumer marketing strategy gives shoppers a try-it-before-you-buy-it reassurance and ensure an honest review of products.

“We’ve been enhancing and perfecting this program for several years,” shares Sue Reninger, Managing Partner and Client Brand Strategist at RMD Advertising. “As one of the few advertising agencies in the US that focus exclusively on Challenger Food Brands, we’re proud of the value this enhanced program now brings to the food brands we serve.”

RMD Advertising’s expertise in the food industry spans more than two and a half decades, making it the ideal agency for authentic clients. With a sales driven mindset and the discipline to follow through on each project it adopts, the RMD Advertising team often attracts growing and emerging food brands that are passionate about their future. The proof of the agency’s success is in the lasting relationships built with brands such as Graeter’s Ice Cream, Rudolph Foods and Bil-Jac Foods. Currently celebrating 26 years of experience and its expansive industry knowledge, the agency cultivates a strong relationship with its brands in an ever-competitive industry.

Natural Products Expo West … Fits Us Naturally.

Natural Products Expo West … Fits Us Naturally.

RMD attends Expo WestNatural Products Expo West is arguably the biggest, the most interesting and the most exhausting food trade show of the year. Food brands of all types come from across the country and the globe to introduce their foods and new product development, share their ideals and gain new distribution and fans. In short, everyone is after the almighty and powerful retailer relationships … and consumer dollar.

So, what were the trends that Team RMD spotted at Expo West last week? Here’s a summation, along with some of our favorite finds:

Bars and Balls: From protein-enriched to caffeine-enhanced, meat and grain bars and nutrition balls are making their way into all meal categories — and aren’t just for snacking anymore. Our favorite: The Better Than Coffee bar at 100 calories and just 3g of sugar, it truly tastes like a caffeine kick (and agency people are known for their love of coffee). We also love the relaunched MetaBall, which has introduced a whole new array of flavors (and new packaging!), including our favorite – Berry Cobbler Crunch.

Pork Rinds: Grandpa’s snack has made its way to mainstream America with reinventions of this old favorite. Our favorite, of course, is Southern Recipe Small Batch’s rinds. Newly introduced at the show? The oven baked rinds, touting less fat and a powerful bacon flavor. The traditional line of Southern Recipe Small Batch rinds is equally delicious. We suggest the Spicy Dill. This flavor combination insists that your taste buds take notice.

Grab ‘N Go Everything! There’s protein-enhanced, grab ‘n go foods in nearly EVERY category. Clearly, we’ve gotten the message that protein = good and we’re all on the run. For a flavor sensation that’ll make you turn that car around and want more, give Lilly’s Hummus a taste. It’s hummus made with clean, simple ingredients… and obviously, lots of heart.

Grain Free/Alternative Grains/Gluten Free: The Gluten Free community is in for a TREAT if Expo West is any indication of what’s going to be found in grocery aisles and on Amazon in the coming months. Outrageously delicious, this category has come a long, long, long way. Our must-try favorites: Soozy’s Muffins, Brekki Overnight Oats, The Toasted Oat and Oggi Pizza. OMG, delicious!

Convenience: Everything that’s entering the market is in some way trying to solve our biggest challenges … we’re time-starved and still, want delicious food when we sit down at the table. Food brands have gotten this message. For the best products in this category (that we LOVE), try Saffron Road entrees (like, wow!) and Medlee Food’s new line of flavor-infused butters.

Cut Through The Clutter And Attract Your Tribe

Cut Through The Clutter And Attract Your Tribe

RMD_Social_Strategy  The food industry is a competitive one, with restaurants dawning trendy personas, while food brands are introducing new must-have products that entice consumers to buy as soon as they hit the selves.

For marketers, this means battling a crowded field where the average restaurant guest or food consumer no longer respond to overt messages to “buy now!”   Read the rest of this compelling Entrepreneurial Chef magazine article written by our very own Managing Partner of Strategy, Sue Reninger.

5 Key Food Crisis Tactics to Gain the Upper Hand

5 Key Food Crisis Tactics to Gain the Upper Hand

Food DiveAt a time when consumer awareness has peaked and transparency remains critical, the food industry has worked to reestablish the role and definition of food safety. Included in the cost of doing business today is a food safety communications plan that ultimately rises above industry standards. Companies must not only employ a strategically sound plan for crisis management but also whip-smart crisis communication and protocol.

Read more about Sue Reninger’s article as it was published in FoodDive

We Took AIM And Score With Three Wins

We Took AIM And Score With Three Wins

We are proud to have been recognized with three awards from the American Marketing Association’s annual AIM Awards, including Platinum PR Publishing Division for Graeter’s National Ice Cream Month, Gold PR Publishing Division for Graeter’s National Ice Cream Month and Gold Marketing Campaign for Southern Recipe’s Truck Driver Appreciation Week. These awards speak to RMD’s imaginative and innovative use of media, social media and online influencers to create successful and influential campaigns through both Graeter’s and Southern Recipe.

The AIM Awards recognize leaders and innovators in marketing, communications, graphic design, public relations and advertising throughout Columbus, Ohio. AMA, which judges and selects the AIM Awards Winners, is comprised of practitioners and academics, who share an interest in networking, learning and serving the community. The awards symbolize excellence in clear, concise communications, and AIM recipients represent marketing professionals, companies, nonprofit associations and institutions local to Columbus.       RMD/Southern Recipe AIM winner

“We were honored to have been recognized for the strategic work we did with the Graeter’s Ice Cream Month and Truck Driver Appreciation Week campaigns,” shares Sue Reninger, Managing Partner, Client Brand Strategist at RMD Advertising. “We love the AMA’s because we are so proud to be amongst marketers statewide and nationally who work to help their brands grow. For us, it is all about helping our clients reach a new level of distinction, growth and success.   RMD_Graeter's_AIM_Awards

Amidst hundreds of submissions, RMD’s entries for Southern Recipe’s annual Truck Driver Appreciation Week and Graeter’s Ice Cream Month campaigns were distinguished as leaders in their respective categories. Graeter’s Ice Cream Month campaign focused on utilizing National Ice Cream Month to generate sales and brand awareness through media, contests, giveaways, social media and online influencers. Meanwhile, Southern Recipe’s Truck Driver Appreciation Week campaign partnered with the St. Christopher Truckers Development and Relief Fund to spread awareness of health problems truckers face and raise money for the charity through the use of a social media photo contest.

How To Stop Thinking Just Anyone Can Represent Your Business in Social Media

How To Stop Thinking Just Anyone Can Represent Your Business in Social Media

SEO OptimizationThe food industry is crowded with brand after brand just trying to make it to the shopping cart of the consumer. What makes a food brand special? What makes you indispensable in the consumer’s mind and heart? An agency that specializes in the food industry has access to knowledge that can propel you forward, putting you in the hands of the perfect consumer for strength and sustainability.

For each brand, their purpose is different. It’s time for you to evaluate (or re-evaluate) yours … and identify the most strategic avenue by which to share it.

The list of impactful social media platforms goes on and on. While a good product is a key to success if consumers don’t know about it, how well can it perform? In the meanwhile, the world is seemingly in tune with the latest social trends. In order to maximize your momentum in this space, there’s something deeper brands should responsibly consider.

The question is, why should you employ the services of an agency to manage your social media instead of that eager new intern or a family member who can’t wait to get their hands on your social accounts?

Instead, consider these four big reasons to rely on an agency to help share your brand’s story and, just as importantly, your purpose:

1. Talking to the consumer and managing crisis.

A series of high-profile food crisis has caused a growing awareness of particularly stubborn pathogens amongst all consumer groups. Both food manufacturing teams and their marketing counterparts have been charged with the daunting task of exemplifying excellence in food safety by incorporating industry best practices, particularly by bolstering their crisis management plans … this is especially necessary in a space as transparent as the social space.

 By fine-tuning a food crisis strategy, your brand can ensure it continues to serve the organization well and protects its public profile while helping to instill trust between the brand and its consumers. Partnering with an agency with a deep knowledge of the industry and a solid track record in times of crisis is an exemplary way to prepare your brand for the unforeseen. In a volatile industry, such as the food industry, your agency partner should realize that food can either nourish us or serve as a toxin. Their work should prepare your brand and protect it accordingly.

2. Strong SEO means big power for your brand.

 Powerful SEO is a must-have today and it can be integrated into your marketing mix seamlessly with the help of an agency. For maximum effectiveness and brand power, your agency partner should be able to incorporate a smart SEO strategy into your day-to-day efforts across social media. One brand, one topic, one voice every day. This is the fastest way to become (and stay) a Love Brand.

3. Posting in your voice, as a friend to the consumer.

As consumers peruse the social space, they’re actively reading messages and posts from their friends. It’s critical that your agency brings them friendly messaging that’s in line with what they’re already expecting to see on that platform, while broadening the conversation to accommodate a variety of subjects that relate to your brand.

Recent research demonstrates that 79 percent of Millennials and 84 percent of other generations prefer brands to let their personalities shine on Facebook, while 51 percent of Millennials and 35 percent of other generations like it on Twitter. Your fans want your brand to tell stories they can relate to, share recipes they can identify with or post articles that highlight how you can add value to their lives. It’s simple, it’s subtle and it’s friendly.

4. Posting on a regular schedule, without being predictable.

Strategically diverse – conversational yet intentional. There’s strategic thought that goes into each post, and the content calendar your agency creates for you is a tool not likely to be found in the hands of a social media team that’s not simultaneously armed with a marketing mindset.

Simple but effective tools built monthly for your company’s unique needs. Important holidays, food celebrations, retailer awareness and more are crafted to be talked about in each month, using a pattern that keeps the message fresh and the user engaged.

It’s easy to have that son or daughter, that cousin, that guy in billings who has an Instagram account, take care of your social media needs. It seems smart and affordable. But when you consider that social media is an advantage medium and your direct connection from your brand to your consumer, you realize your product may be the most important key to your business.

The advantage of daily communication with your consumer is a very close second … and that shouldn’t be in the hands of a single person who has an idea of what they’re doing, or just having fun learning. That should be entrusted to a team of individuals that want the same thing you do: success.

See how we can help you and your brand find just that right here.

Hard Work Pays Off With Two More National Awards!

Hard Work Pays Off With Two More National Awards!

We are honored to win two national Clarion Awards. Awarded by The Association for Women in Communication, this award highlights RMD Advertising’s excellence in campaign marketing. We won for our work on Rudolph Foods’ annual Truck Driver Appreciation Week campaign and NestFresh’s Egg-Cellent Baking Contest.           RMD Award winner

The Clarion Awards symbolize excellence in clear, concise communications. Clarion recipients represent media companies large and small, leading corporations, small businesses, and nonprofit associations and institutions. Started in 1972, the Clarions honor excellence in more than 100 categories across all communications disciplines. Amidst hundreds of submissions, RMD’s entries for Rudolph Foods’ annual Truck Driver Appreciation Week and NestFresh Egg-Cellent Baking Contest campaigns were distinguished as leaders in their respective categories.

“Winning not only one, but two Clarion Awards for our campaign efforts is an honor,” shares Sue Reninger, Managing Partner, Client Brand Strategist at RMD Advertising. “We are so proud to be amongst marketers nationwide who work strategically to help their brands grow. For us, it is all about helping our clients reach a new level of distinction, growth and success.”

Rudolph Foods, the world’s largest manufacturer of pork rinds, works to celebrate Truck Diver Appreciation Week each year – an event partnering with the St. Christopher Truck Driver Relief Fund. To advocate for the all-American egg during National Egg Month in May, NestFresh, one of the most innovative specialty egg products in the nation, hosted a baking recipe contest. These campaign efforts accurately portrayed RMD’s excellence within the industry and led the agency to its Clarion wins.

 

Two RMD Social Media Clients Shine In National Spotlight

Two RMD Social Media Clients Shine In National Spotlight

Well, color us proud … thank you, Social Media Today for selecting not one but two of our client social media campaigns to spotlight in your article, 37 Inspiring Ideas to Rock Your Facebook Contest.”  We kinda think you rock, too!  To learn more about our social media efforts for Southern Recipe Pork Rinds and Keystone Meats, give us a call … or read on to see all the excitement.Southern Recipe

Keystone Meats

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