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.

 

All-Natural Granola Brand and Innovative Food Cooking Show Select RMD as AOR

All-Natural Granola Brand and Innovative Food Cooking Show Select RMD as AOR

RMD client WhirlybirdRMD Advertising, an integrated advertising, brand strategy, social media and public relations agency considered to be an expert in the challenger food brand category, is proud to announce the addition of two new accounts. The agency has partnered with Real Food Real Kitchens, a show that films real people in their kitchens telling stories of their family dishes, and Whirlybird Granola, producer of all-natural, Non-GMO, gluten-free and vegan granola. Under its insightful eye, RMD Advertising will help its new accounts grow awareness and attract consumers through the strategic use of public relations, advertising and marketing.

Real Food Real Kitchens is a cooking series and brand that goes into the kitchens of everyday people and Real Food Real Kitchens selects RMD as their AORtells the story of families’ traditions and recipes. Available on Amazon Prime, the show is the image of authenticity. Whirlybird Granola is an all-natural and healthy-for-you granola brand made by passionate food lovers. The brand offers four delicious flavors of granola made with nuts, seeds and berries in four flavors: original, chocolate, vanilla berry and citrus ginger. RMD Advertising is proud to work with both new clients, proving the versatile and nimble approach the agency takes in the area of food brands. Current clients describe RMD Advertising as a partner with unwavering work ethic and commitment to the food category overall.

“Both Real Food Real Kitchens and Whirlybird Granola are the best at what they do, and we are excited to spread the word about their brand,” shares Sue Reninger, Managing Partner and Brand Strategist at RMD Advertising. “We are primed to make deeper connections for them with their respective audiences, and to make great things happen very quickly.”

Happening Right Now: Facts Frightening Marketers

Happening Right Now: Facts Frightening Marketers

Marketing can be spooky

We couldn’t resist. With October comes the ghostly opportunity to shine a new light on some frightening food marketing stats. Can these help you to build out a skeleton of a plan for a stronger, better 2018?

You be the judge. But the truth remains: not all food marketing is the same. If your Challenger Food Brand plans to make a bigger splash next year, consider these three powerful thoughts:

Frightening Fact #1: You’re ignoring two highly credible, highly influential consumers.

Challenger food brands can’t ignore Millennials, for sure.  According to Statista 2017, nearly 80 percent of them regularly purchase specialty food brands. But the markets you’re ignoring could be killing your profits.

Gen X consumers (ages 40-51 years old) and Baby Boomers (ages 52-70) also line up for your brand.  In fact, more than 60 percent and 40 percent, respectively, actively purchase and seek out specialty foods.

Frightening Fact #2: It’s not a fad. You’re discounting the growing gluten-free category.

Though the buzz has quieted, it’s interesting to know that the gluten-free marketplace is actually growing. According to Statista, consumers choosing to go gluten free are actually climbing at a steep rate.  In fact, 72 percent of the market for gluten-free consists of consumers who choose the lifestyle as a way of life (up from 56 percent in the previous two-year period.)

Frightening Fact #3: Brick n’ Mortars are battling online shopping.

According to a Bricks Meets Clicks study, Americans who shop for groceries online once per month do an average of 17 percent of their total grocery spending online. That leaves a LOT of room in the budget for traditional grocery brands.  This compares to 21% for those who shop twice online.

Best strategies for food manufacturers looking to succeed in e-commerce

Best strategies for food manufacturers looking to succeed in e-commerce

We’re always proud when industry publications approach us for our leadership thoughts regarding the food industry. It’s our passion to help our clients grow with new and creative ideas that generate sales of their product. Food Industry Executive Magazine looked to Donn Ditzhazy, Managing Partner of creative, for his input on the ever-growing e-commerce marketplace.

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1. What are the best strategies for food manufacturers looking to succeed in the growing e-commerce market?

Regardless of how exemplary your e-commerce store is, it will likely go nowhere without a strategic marketing plan behind it. Fuel your online store by first outlining how you will promote your products, whether across your social media platforms with photography, digital artwork, and video, on a blog on your website, through e-marketing or with pay per click buys and ad word searches.

After you’ve begun a conversation with consumers who are interested in your e-commerce store, keep them engaged with e-marketing. This is one of the best ways to influence shoppers with news or product offers. With the tools you need to drive awareness to your store, ensure that your entire process, from cart to checkout is seamless. To do so, consistently test your site to check that it is secure, intuitive and quick to use. This also means utilizing the power of mobile.

2. What tools and technologies are most helpful?

Tapping into your website’s analytics is the most powerful tool you can use to continue growing your e-commerce business. They can pinpoint the moment in a consumer’s buying process when he or she abandoned your site. Their journey through your products pages, to the cart and to the check-out process tells a story about where they may have lost interest or been deterred in any way.

Re-marketing can help you to reach back out to these consumers with a quick email reminding them to complete their order, further increasing your chances of completing a sale that otherwise might be lost.

Website analytics can also drive repeat purchases. Put featured products or suggested products in front of consumers who have shown interest through a similar purchase, offer exclusive promotions or deliver important updates. By sending reminders to your shoppers to purchase their favorite products time after time-based off of their already-established history, you can ultimately simplify the entire user experience. Website analytics give you the power to deliver just what your shoppers want, sometimes before they know exactly how to search for it.

3. What research and resources are most important to cite?

The best way to succeed in the e-commerce market is to rely on an advertising agency. With the tools necessary to think intelligently and strategically for your business, the right team can help you to work with efficiency. A capably integrated agency will be able to strategically use SEO keywords and phrases, help to create effective deals and promotions and make the user experience a pleasant one, all while organizing your e-marketing community to keep shoppers coming back for more.


Donn’s passion for food began while growing up in the culturally diverse city of Detroit. Experiencing the wonderful flavors of the city taught him that there’s more to life than the same old same old. Today, Donn takes that same approach with the creative direction of the agency.

Snack Attack this Month!

Snack Attack this Month!

RMDAdvertising-NationalSnackFoodMonth

National Snack Food Month is more than a celebration of America’s love for the salty, the sweet and everything in between. Especially in the age of the snack-loving consumer, National Snack Food Month has taken on an entirely new meaning.

This month, we’re celebrating our favorite brands and taking a look at how America has changed the way it eats. Gone are the days of the sit-down meal. Today, it’s all about fueling up and hitting the road!

Tweet: #FunFact: 67% of households prefer salty snacks. #NationalSnackFoodMonth https://ow.ly/XOui2#FunFact: 67% of households prefer salty snacks. #NationalSnackFoodMonth https://ow.ly/XOui2 https://ctt.ec/L7r22

“Sales of snacks account for a whopping forty percent of the $370 billion U.S. packaged food market and are set to grow two percent annually through 2019,” according to Food Navigator. As a matter of fact, the snack food industry is driving America’s food scene forward, with sales growing more than three percent a year since 2008.

It’s easy to reap the benefits of this trend as a snack food brand. However, we’ve learned that industry leaders ask why. The answer? Millennials.

While millennials can be pin pointed for moving the needle on some of today’s biggest flavor trends, they are also the culprits of our fascination with snacking. Research says they tend to replace meals with snacks two times more frequently than other generations. Making the most of this trend are brands featuring protein-rich and healthier-for-you grab-and-go options that capitalize on consumers’ focus on nutrition.

Brands can take advantage of America’s renewed interest in snacking by speaking loudly and clearly to consumers’ need for speed. We’ve evolved into a quick-paced culture and our eating habits need to fuel our busy lives!

RMD Advertising at The Fancy Food Show

RMD Advertising at The Fancy Food Show

RMDAdvertising-FoodAdvertisingAgency-FancyFoodShow

While most are blogging about the trends that grazed this year’s Winter Fancy Foods Show in San Francisco, we want to dig a little deeper. Why did those trends make it to the aisles of this food fest, where some of the industry’s most innovative brands make their voices heard?

With more than 1,500 exhibitors from around the world showcasing 80,000 different specialty food and beverages, there were plenty of items for the Specialty Food Association’s Trendspotter Panel to recognize. Take a look at not only what will drive consumers’ purchasing behavior in 2016, but also the “why” behind it.

Making the unfamiliar familiar. Bringing the flavors of the Middle East or Italy home will turn mainstream this year. From chicken nuggets spiced with Indian seasonings to caramels laced with coconut, Americans are bringing ethnic flavors home.

A whopping forty percent of today’s top food trend setters, millennials like to try new kinds of ethnic cuisines and “anything new and different,” compared to 34 percent and 32 percent respectively of Gen X and Boomers combined. Making the unfamiliar familiar is now as easy as tossing Tandoori spices on their favorite foods!

RMDAdvertising-TandoorChef

Packing in the protein. Protein has never been more popular. Cricket flour, hemp and plant-based protein all make this nutrient much more obtainable. “Enticed by the promise that it can help you lose weight, get stronger and avoid age-related muscle loss, some 71 percent of consumers say they want more of it in their diets,” notes The Washington Post.

While other diet fads are centered around avoidance and restraint, focusing on protein gives consumers a way to think differently about how to evolve their diets to be healthier.

Roots make a move. Beets, like the ones by Love Beets, are making a comeback and as one of this year’s healthiest vegetables, it has turned into a must-have ingredient. Found as the natural coloring in foods with a bright purple hue and diced, sliced and shredded into meaty plant-based options, they’re versatile! “What seems to have really sparked the beet renaissance is the health-related research on beetroot,” says nutritionist Janet Helm.

Why? Transparency has made consumers ultra-aware of what they are feeding themselves and their families. Turning the spotlight on nature’s bounty is a great way to capture their attention!

We’re loving this year’s biggest food trends as both foodies and as food marketers. So, how will you make the most of them in 2016? Share your faves with us and join the conversation on Facebook or Twitter!

Nothing scary about these food brands

Nothing scary about these food brands

RMDAdvertising-FoodBrands-Halloween

When you’ve been around for more than 23 years, you develop a lot of traditions. Some strange. Some a bit quirky. But all definitely creative. And halloween is the perfect time to showcase our agency’s creative side while giving a nod to the industry we serve … food brands. It’s also a wonderful time to honor a few of our client brands as well. Happy halloween and remember, the only thing scary about this day? When food brands don’t work with RMD.


Donn’s passion for food began while growing up in the culturally diverse city of Detroit. Experiencing the wonderful flavors of the city taught him that there’s more to life than the same old same old.   Today, Donn takes that same approach with the creative direction of the agency. 

 

Happy Marketing Week!

Happy Marketing Week!

This Marketing Week, we’re asking ourselves: What makes us proud marketers?

Smart Marketing Week

What makes us think hard? Think big? Think out of the box? What inspires us? What pushes us to be better today than we were yesterday?

Marketing.
From October 5th through October 9th, join us everyday as we celebrate the marketing world and everything it’s done for all of us. From agency to brand to consumer, marketing touches everyone … and it has since before the first printed advertisements appeared in 1450.

We love this infographic Entrepreneur shared. Today, our mission is to honor the founders of marketing (like David Ogilvy, Mary Wells Lawrence and Edward Bernays) and start the important conversations that really matter between our clients and their consumers.

RMDAdvertising-MarketingWeek-InfographicEntrepreneur

See the full infographic here

Of course we love National Food Days … doesn’t everyone?

Of course we love National Food Days … doesn’t everyone?

Why we love National Food Days, why some people hate them (psh), and why you should adore them:

RMDAdvertising-QrunchBurgers

August is National Sandwich Month, but don’t think we’re celebrating this yummy month just to perpetuate some obscure marketing gimmick. While it may be an opportunity to highlight all of the best our sandwich-loving clients (like Klosterman Bread, Qrunch Foods, and Panera Bread) have to offer, we’re all about celebrating food!

Sandwiched With Love

Food is love and love is life. It would be a shame to throw away the meaning that we’ve given to our food. Like Peeps on Easter or BBQ on the 4th of July, some foods hold happy memories that make special moments that much more … special!

… And that’s why we’re celebrating National Sandwich Month! Join us!

Donnelly is a millennial and a food writer based in Columbus, Ohio.  She started writing from a very young age, and her writing skills are a reflection of her passion for food, baking and the creative arts, overall.  She moved to the agency world after a stint as a ballerina.  On her journey, she learned a range of skills, including creative writing, the art of influence in advertising and PR, and how food helps people of differing backgrounds connect on an emotional level.

Power of the woman

Power of the woman

Although you may have missed Woman’s History month, it’s never too late to appreciate the accomplishments of women in the food industry. RMD Advertising salutes Walmart’s commitment and initiative to support women-owned businesses.

RMDAdvertising-WalmartWomenOwned

“As the world’s largest retailer, we have the opportunity to use our scale, purchasing power and local presence to help others,” noted Kathleen McLaughlin, president of the Walmart Foundation and SVP of Walmart Sustainability. “By sourcing more products from women-owned businesses and making it easier for customers to identify those products at the shelf and online, we are helping to empower women and their families. We are excited by the power of business, and retail in particular, to increase women’s economic mobility.” In fact, the retail powerhouse has aligned products, resources and web assets to support the initiative.

Some of our favorite brands are women owned and/or women-run — including Mom Made Foods, The Piping Gourmets Whoopie Pies and Klosterman Bread (and your’s truly, RMD Advertising) to name a few. But outside of RMD’s clients, there are some amazing business that were started by women. Did you know Birchbox, Flickr and Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse all began with a woman at the helm? To see 12 of the most amazing woman-owned business, read Business News Daily’s account here.

– S. Reninger, Managing Partner, Brand Strategy

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