How Chefs Go From Restaurant Kitchen to Grocery Store Brand

Jeff Lotman has tried for years to get to Nobuyuki Matsuhisa to license his name. “I don’t believe in ‘no,’” the brand-licensing executive says. “I only believe in ‘No, right now.’ I have chased people for years before they’ve said yes. Chefs are often afraid they can’t get control. They can.”

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Where Matsuhisa, the world-renowned chef behind Nobu, has refrained, other household-name chefs have done the opposite, signing over their names to restaurant operators, manufacturers, and retailers, lending their image to everything from sauces (Bobby Flay) to spatulas (Alton Brown), chilled ready-made meals (Jamie Oliver) to pressure ovens (Wolfgang Puck), knife sets (Rachael Ray) to K-cups (Emeril Lagasse).

Lotman, the founder and CEO of Global Icons, a Los Angeles-based licensing agency, has been consulting and acting as a middleman in the business of branded goods and services since the early aughts. His agency works more closely now with corporate rather than personal brands, but he remains an opportunistic observer of the market.

The reasoning, as Lotman explains it, is simple: “Ribs I might not buy, but Bobby Flay ribs, yes, I would pick those up.” Flay is as good an archetype of the multi-interest celebrity chef as any, his empire comprising five restaurants — one of them, Bobby’s Burger Palace, is a nine-year-old chain — 11 cookbooks, and a line of sauces and rubs for meat. Flay has been in the eye of the American public since 1994, and a TV regular since 1996.

“You need profile,” according to Lotman. “No matter how great the chef is, if I haven’t heard if him, I won’t buy. Once you have that profile, you, as the licensor or brand owner, are in the stronger position.”

According to Lotman, one of the biggest growth areas for chefs and culinary personalities recently has been in restaurant licensing. “Restaurants have learned that consumers see this as a good thing,” he says. “It makes them feel good about a restaurant, it drives them back. Fifteen years ago, there were three restaurant brands bearing people’s names. Now, there are about 80.”

Delivered meal kits lately popularized by companies like Plated and Blue Apron represent another possible conduit for celebrity chefs’ brands, says Lotman, pointing out the logic behind an alliance that grants a chef custody over ingredients as well as recipe and instruction. Chefs like Dominique Crenn and Fabio Viviani have signed on to curate meals with Chef’d, a meal kit company based in Southern California, but straightforward name licenses where chefs have even less responsibility are also on the table. “There may be one or two such licensing deals being negotiated behind the scenes,” Lotman says.

Read more at Eater.com: https://www.eater.com/2017/11/29/16233364/chef-name-licensing-wolfgang-puck-frozen-foods-jet-tila-brands

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KEVIN THE CARROT FALLS IN LOVE IN ALDI’S CHRISTMAS SEQUEL

Kevin the Carrot, the star of Aldi’s Christmas campaign last year, returns after the brand’s previous successful campaign, which resulted in sales growth for the discount retailer.

This year’s push, created by McCann U.K. and animated by Psyop, sees the lovable vegetable falling in love with a female carrot, Katie, in spots that cheekily reference several movies, including new release “Murder on the Orient Express.” The debut ad, which breaks today, sees Kevin board a “midnight express train” where a gingerbread man has been “murdered.” He comes to Katie’s rescue while she’s reading a book titled “9 and a Half Leeks.” The spot also references “Titanic” and “The Bodyguard,” and 14 future 20- and 30-second executions, which continue the Kevin and Katie story, will include nods to movies including “Love Actually.”

Once again Jim Broadbent is the narrator and the music is the soundtrack to “Edward Scissorhands.”

Ahead of the launch of the campaign, Aldi teased it by putting Kevin the Carrot on dating app Happn with a message that he was “looking for love.”

Aldi saw Christmas sales rise by 15.1% last year and cites the Kevin the Carrot campaign as a contributor to its success. The campaign recently won the Grand Prix at the Euro Effie awards. Aldi marketing director Adam Zavalis says that the retailer considered several ideas for this year before deciding to go with a sequel–and added that it wanted the campaign to be “more ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ than ‘Grease 2.'”

from Creativity-Online: http://creativity-online.com/work/aldi-kevin-the-carrot-is-back/53193

‘Everyone has to eat’ says Morrisons as it anticipates a price-conscious Christmas

With Christmas fast approaching, the current retail climate suggests consumers will be looking for a bargain.

Morrison's Supermarket

John Lewis has already predicted the mood around big ticket items will be subdued for quite some time – suggesting Brits will be less likely to trade up this Christmas.

The reality, according to GfK, is Brits are slightly upping their spend on bigger buys such as electricals, but only because they are borrowing more money on credit cards. It has labeled this trend “worrying” and says rising interest rates and inflation will also dampen the mood among many consumers this Christmas.

Despite this negative backdrop, big four supermarket Morrisons will be taking a lot of positive momentum into the crucial Christmas trading period. Today (2 November) it revealed like-for-like sales rose 2.5% in its third quarter.

Although this is a slower rate of growth than the 2.6% and 3.4% growth it recorded in the previous two quarters, it represents the supermarket’s eighth consecutive quarter of sales growth – a reality far removed from the struggling brand inherited by Morrisons’ CEO David Potts when he took the job in February 2015.

And asked by Marketing Week during a press call whether Christmas 2017 will most benefit discount brands, Potts answered: “Our job is to serve core customers as well as we can whatever the prevailing circumstances are. Equally, everyone is welcome at Morrisons and with our ‘Best’ premium range doubling its sales over the last year – the quality message is now there at the business.

“This Christmas we will be holding the prices of 100 of the key festive items – from potatoes to mince pies – so customers will need to decide [if they want to spend more somewhere else] as ultimately everyone has to eat.

“There’s every chance Brits will dial down on eating out and come to Morrisons instead so there’s plenty to look forward to. We’re in better shape this year with more stock in store and more research completed. We feel more chipper going into Christmas.”

Morrisons is trying to tread the line between low prices and high quality

Under Potts, Morrisons has repeatedly talked up its brand positioning as a shop keeper and as a food maker, with it looking to find the middle ground between similar prices to the German discounters Aldi and Lidl as well as high food quality perceptions.

Reflecting on the year, Potts says the brand has most benefitted from word of mouth buzz due to the improvements it has made to its core offer.

He concluded: “The Most important thing we have done with our brand is listen hard to customers and colleagues, and wherever possible respond quickly to their concerns.

“That has led to priorities within the business around competitiveness increase and allowed us to serve customers better. There’s now great value on the shelves and great work completed on our own brand around both notching up quality and notching down pricing combined. All of this combined with cleaner stores has made the shopping trip better than it was and our brand stronger in the market.”

from Marketing Week: https://www.marketingweek.com/2017/11/02/morrisons-feeling-chipper-going-into-christmas/

‘We must be bold’: How Campbell Soup is adapting to food’s rapidly changing future

In interviews with Food Dive, top executives said the firm is evolving its product mix and trying to seize opportunities in e-commerce.

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For decades, the storied food and beverage industry loaded grocery store shelves with cans, boxes and bags of mostly processed items. But the industry now finds itself scrambling to overhaul its product mix in response to growing consumer demands for items with clean, simple labels that are chock-full of fresh and healthy ingredients.

Read more at FoodDive: http://www.fooddive.com/news/we-must-be-bold-how-campbell-soup-is-adapting-to-foods-rapidly-changing/447657/

From Meal Kits to Grocery Stores, Amazon Aims to Feed America

Expanding on its AmazonFresh food delivery service and recent $13.7 billion Whole Foods Market retail acquisition in addition to its Amazon Go branded grocery stores, Amazon is expanding its food-related operations to launch ready-to-cook meal packages and delivery as it takes an even bigger bite out of the grocery business.

Now available in select markets, Amazon-branded meal kits (tagline: “We do the prep. You be the chef”) include raw ingredients to prepare meals including chicken tikka masala, falafel patties, salmon with soba noodles and tacos with pork that can be prepared in 30 minutes.

Read more at Brand Channel: http://www.brandchannel.com/2017/07/19/amazon-food-meal-kits/