Pilotworks, a WeWork for food entrepreneurs, is taking its commercial kitchens national

A start-up called Pilotworks wants to make it easier for food entrepreneurs to start a business, whether they seek to open a new restaurant, launch a catering empire, or formulate irresistible packaged snacks.

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Acre Venture Partners, a fund backed solely by Campbell Soup, has led a $13 million investment in Pilotworks with Techstars and others, hoping it will become the WeWork of food and hospitality.

As Pilotworks CEO Nick Devane notes: “Food entrepreneurs need a lot more than a few desks and fast internet to start a business. We give them kitchens that are up to code, equipped with everything they need whether its dry storage or blast chillers. And we help them market and distribute what they make.”

While co-working spaces for tech entrepreneurs abound thanks to WeWork, and other office leasing platforms, food makers previously had to strike up deals with restaurants, or navigate a fragmented industry to find available commissaries.

Devane considers Pilotworks a tech start-up as much as a food business, because it developed custom scheduling software and an online community for its members. These make it easy to book space and equipment at a Pilotworks kitchen, and to take advantage of industry mentors and workshops on-site.

Food start-ups aren’t the only ones using the company’s kitchens so far. Culinary schools have offered courses there, counting Pilotworks as a “pop-up” classroom.

The New York-based start-up intends to use its new funding for hiring, marketing and geographic expansion, Devane said. The company is expanding into Chicago and Dallas next.

from CNBC.com: https://www.cnbc.com/2017/12/05/campbells-soup-backs-pilotworks-a-wework-for-food-businesses.html

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Avocados from Mexico Returns to Super Bowl Highlighting Food’s Versatility

Avocados From Mexico is returning to the Super Bowl for the fourth consecutive year, continuing its effort to stick out in people’s minds as they’re busy sticking chips into bowls of guacamole.

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The Mexican Hass avocado industry’s marketing arm plans to run a 30-second spot during the Feb. 4 game, the company says.

Even as some marketers used the 2017 Super Bowl to promote inclusion and otherwise respond to the election of President Trump, Avocados From Mexico continued with its humorous approach to its creative.

Its next Super Bowl ad appears set to again focus on the product, emphasizing the food’s versatility, including a plan to “cast guacamole from a whole new point of view,” the brand said.

“We were brainstorming here at the office and we kept saying avocados are so good it’s a shame to confine it to a bowl,” says Kevin Hamilton, senior director of marketing at Avocados From Mexico.

Despite avocado prices hitting record highs in the fall, Hamilton says consumers can’t get enough of the product and that it still has a long runway in its pop culture prominence.

Read more at Ad Age: http://adage.com/article/special-report-super-bowl/avocados-mexico-returns-super-bowl-highlighting-food-s-versatility/311545/

M&M’s To Return To Super Bowl, After 3-Year Hiatus

Mars Wrigley announced that M&M’s, which has been absent from the Super Bowl for three years, will be back in 2018, with a 30-second spot.

The ad, from BBDO, will run during the game’s first quarter.

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“The Super Bowl is such an iconic event, and we’re thrilled to be bringing M&M’S back to the big game this year,” stated M&M’s’ brand director, Allison Miazga-Bedrick. “Some of the beloved M&M’S spokescandies will be back in action like never before. We’re excited to showcase M&M’S as the entertainment brand that our fans know and love.”

Mars isn’t yet revealing the new creative.

M&M’s last Super Bowl spot, in 2014, “Delivery,” featured the Yellow character expressing typical clueless enthusiasm as Russian mobsters kidnap him, throw him in a trunk (above) and prepare to serve him to party guests.

Skittles will be back for Super Bowl LII, with plans to be announced at a later date.

Snickers, which was in last year’s Bowl with a spot featuring Adam Driver, won’t return in 2018, but Mars says it has a “big year” planned, including the launch of three new flavors in June.

from MediaPost: https://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/311226/mms-to-return-to-super-bowl-after-3-year-hiatus.html

Food Disruptor of the Year: Halo Top

Halo Top — the ice cream that seemingly came out of nowhere to dominate the industry through its promise of fewer calories, less sugar and higher protein — is forcing its big-name, deep-pocket competitors to take notice.

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After launching in 2012, Halo Top has experienced tremendous growth, including a 2,500% increase in sales last year. The ice cream maker, which posts the calorie content prominently on the front of its packaging, has benefited from consumer demand for products that contain clean and simple ingredients they’re familiar with. It sold more than 17 million pints in 2016, and recently became the #1 selling pint of ice cream in the U.S., beating out iconic brands such as Ben & Jerry’s and Breyers.

Justin Woolverton, Halo Top’s founder and chief executive officer, was as surprised as anyone by his product’s success and the impact his company has had on the industry in such a short period of time.

“We’ve created a new category in ice cream. Stores have had to make more room for us in the storage freezer, same with our distributors. Our manufacturing partners have had to do some creative things,” Woolverton said in an email to Food Dive. “And now that the multinational corporations are getting involved in something a little podunk Los Angeles company came up with, I think it’s safe to say we’ve disrupted some things.”

Read more at Food Dive: https://www.fooddive.com/news/food-disruptor-of-the-year-halo-top/507262/