March 6, 2014
We're proud to announce that Good Morning America aired a segment today on Oscar Mayer's new protein-packed snack line, P3, which we helped to develop. With protein's benefits becoming more apparent - and compelling to consumers - every day, we're happy that we were able to help create an exciting brand that delivers valuable nutrients in a fun, portable way. Check out the video here to see the product and even hear a few nutrition experts weigh in.
February 26, 2014
We love unusual snacks, and the Japanese market is full of them – with a fast product cycle and lots of limited-time offers, it seems like there's always something new to try. Recently, we got our hands on one of 2014's most coveted Japanese snack oddities: Mountain Dew Cheetos.
At its core, the snack is a conventional corn-based Cheeto. But instead of a cheesy dusting, it's coated in a sweet, rather tangy Mountain Dew powder with a flavor that reminded us slightly of Trix cereal. But what really surprised us was the carbonation, which delivers some seriously powerful fizzing action.
The Verdict: The idea of a puffed corn snack with a bright, fruity flavor is interesting, and the carbonation kept us going back for more. Eat more than a handful or two, though, and you'll start to notice the corn flavor of the Cheeto substrate coming through – and reconciling that with the Mountain Dew flavor can be a little tough. On the whole, though, we hope the hype these snacks have received in the US will lead to a proper release stateside; we think the success of unusual crossovers like the Doritos Locos Tacos have shown that American snackers are open to taking some delicious risks.
February 19, 2014
For most of us, our beer drinking habits fall into some pretty well-defined patterns. A pint from the tap at the bar, or maybe a bottle or can from a retail store to drink at home. But lately we've noticed that some establishments are stretching the boundaries of typical drinking occasions, making us reconsider when - and what - we're imbibing.
Our lead image has been making the rounds on the internet since it appeared on Reddit last week. It's from the Austin Whole Foods, where a full liquor license means customers are free to drink a beer as they peruse the aisles. A little unorthodox, but we suspect it's giving impulse snack purchases a boost.
And around New York, we've seen beer tasting rooms with large refrigerators of six-packs offering to let patrons drink the bottles they purchase in-house, typically for a one or two dollar fee. Top Hops on the Lower East Side and Astoria Bier and Cheese in Queens are just a couple of the specialty beer shops blurring the line between take-home and drink-here. And it makes us wonder - how else could venues or brands take advantage of this breaking down of traditional borders?
Image via Foodbeast
February 12, 2014
For the second time in recent memory, technology has revolutionized dating… first it was the internet, and now it’s smartphones. Where Boomer and Gen X couples often met at parties, bars, concerts and the like, Millennial couples are just as likely to answer the question “Where did you meet?” with the name of an app.
Forget the time-consuming questionnaires on sites like Match.com or e-Harmony, Millennials don’t want to take the time. Today, a first romantic overture might consist of following someone’s Instagram feed or commenting on a picture. (Relationships begun via Instagram became such a phenomenon that the company recently released an app specifically to encourage this, called InstaDating).
If you fear your Instagram feed isn’t enough, a new app called Carrot Dating launched last week that embraces bribery as a dating tactic. Users dangle incentives such as dinners and chocolates in front of potential mates as a way to convince them to go out with them (just as coachmen used to “dangle a carrot” to get the horse to move, hence the app’s name).
Social Networking is also playing a big role in new apps.
You sign on to mega dating site Tinder through Facebook. Once you pick a flattering picture of yourself (you can also write a tagline to describe yourself, if you like), you’re immediately shown photo after photo of potential mates. Swipe right if you approve of someone’s appearance…swipe left if you don’t. If you reject someone, they won’t be able to contact you, but if you both swipe right on each other, you’re able to chat. The app is widely agreed to be addictive. Since its launch a year and a half ago, it has garnered 500 million profile ratings and is credited with more than 750 million matches to date.
The app Hinge also leverages Facebook, taking the old-fashioned idea of a set-up by a mutual friend, and updating it. The app searches for matches for you on your friends’ Facebook networks, matching interests, favorite books, movies, and the like. It claims the matches it finds are so accurate that they only offer users 5 per day, fearing to overwhelm them with too much of a good thing.
Coffee Meets Bagel (again, one logs in through Facebook) only gives users ONE potential match per day, called a “bagel”, delivered via email. The app shows you up to four pictures of the “bagel,” plus provides a basic profile and a count of how many Facebook friends you have in common, and users can “like” or “pass.”
For Millennials who feel their dating skills are lacking, there are apps to help them up their game. Flirt Planet Play turns it into a game, letting users practice their smooth moves on artificial-intelligence characters before actually interacting with other humans. Players build an avatar, enter a 3-D world, and learn how to socialize through dialogue, facial expressions, and body language with the goal of building a real relationship (much like in the recent movie, Her). Flirt Planet Play is a safe area where you can practice dating without the fear of rejection. Once players feel they’re ready, they graduate to Flirt Planet Meet where users interact with the avatars of other real people.
January 24, 2014
We love ketchup - it's great on everything! But have you ever stopped to wonder why it's always tomato ketchup? A new project on Kickstarter is looking to open our eyes to a whole spectrum of ketchups - and as tomatoes are technically fruits, they've chosen other fruits as their varieties' bases.
'Chups Fruit Ketchups, in Washington DC, have a range of ketchups in the works - peach, mango, plum, blueberry and cherry - that omit the tomato but keep in all the other delicious spices that make ketchup great on savory foods. And it's got us thinking - sometimes innovation is incremental, but other times it means going right for the foundations of your idea; taking the tomato out of the ketchup, so to speak. And it makes us wonder what other products could be innovated in a similar way...
Check out the 'Chups Kickstarter here