Manufacturing is helping to turn Illinois’ economy around, and the overall sector ended 2018 by registering its 28th straight month of growth. But when it comes to gender diversity, American manufacturing has room for improvement: As of December, women represented just 29 percent of its workforce.
In addition to hiring and training more women, the Manufacturing Institute recommends that manufacturers increase the visibility of female leaders at all levels of business to shrink the sector’s gender gap.
The women on this list are among the top leaders at more than two dozen Chicago-area manufacturing organizations. These pages offer a glimpse of how they are shaping their own organizations, as well as the path forward for other women in the industry.
Read the full article here
If harnessed appropriately, rapid advances in digital technology could offer much-needed solutions to some of the unintentional negative diet- and nutrition-related consequences from otherwise positive Industrial Revolution era developments, according to the CEO of Partnership for a Healthier America.
Read the full article from Food Navigator here
What started out as a great business idea is quickly turning into much more for Gies College of Business alumnus Jordan Buckner (MBA ’14).
Buckner is the founder and CEO of Tea Squares, a company that produces healthy, tea-infused snacks designed to give consumers a natural energy boost to get through their day. The product may be small, but the business is having a large impact. Just a few short years after testing his first product, Buckner’s Tea Squares are now being sold in about 300 retail stores around Chicago. They’re available in Mariano’s, Jewel-Osco, and Whole Foods, the last of which was so impressed by Buckner’s mission, they helped him earn the prestigious recognition of “Forbes 30 Under 30” in 2018.
Read the full article on the U of I Business website here.
Received a call or email recently saying you’re the perfect candidate for a high-salary job with a Fortune 500 food & beverage organization? That’s great! But before you hand over your personal information or pay a fee, make sure the recruiter – and the job – are real. Read more of this story from our member Kinsa Group here.
Check out our member US Food's 2019 spring "Trend Tracker" here
The BGL Consumer Insider is a periodic research publication highlighting capital markets and mergers and acquisitions activity, financial and operating performance of certain publicly-traded companies, and trends within the consumer industry.
Evolving consumer preferences and rapid technological change are transforming the food supply chain. Food distributors are refining offerings to capture on-trend products and capitalize on changing market dynamics, accelerating acquisition-driven growth. Consolidation is continuing in a fragmented marketplace with buyers aggressively seeking acquisitions to broaden specialty offerings, build private brand portfolios, gain access to independent restaurants and retailers, and expand geographic reach.
Download their latest research document here.
Imbibe sent a team to Expo West to look for the hottest trends and most innovative products. Here's what we found!
Click here to see the Expo West trends
Two entrepreneurs, Gregg Latterman and Dan Willoughby, loved pretzels and thought they could improve on the basic formula. They launched the Positive Pretzels™ brand in 2018 and were picked up by Whole Foods throughout the Midwest. Like many emerging brands, they bootstrapped the launch. To ensure that their organic, health-focused product had legs, they needed to take the next logical step — tap consumer insights. This involved sensory testing with a relevant sample of target consumers; people who shop for healthy, organic snacks at retail chains like Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and Fresh & Easy, for example. To help with this effort, they turned to sensory testing leader, Curion.
The origins of the pretzel industry
The pretzel has been a mainstay snack in the U.S. since the 1930s. But the origins of the pretzel are much older; the first version invented by an Italian monk in the year 610. The modern pretzel-making machine was introduced in Pennsylvania in 1935. Since then, with the exception of shape and texture (soft or hard), the pretzel has remained the same — yeast-risen, dough-dipped in a liquid wash of water and lye before baking. Actually, traditional pretzels are essentially refined carbohydrates that offer few nutritious benefits and an overdose of salt.
A healthy reinvention
Positive Pretzels™ markets their product as a healthier alternative, targeted at the “better for you” category. The goal was to have as few ingredients as possible and the best quality. Ingredients include organic flour, organic sunflower oil, sea salt and water. The brand is free from any artificial ingredients, with no added sugar or corn syrup.
Sensory testing with Curion’s eFive™
Positive Pretzels™ teamed up with eFive™, the sensory testing service designed by Curion specifically for emerging brands. At their Deerfield, Illinois test facility, consumers were drawn from Curion’s national database. In the test kitchen, bowls of pretzels were handed through sliding windows to consumers who sat in testing booths. Bowls of Positive Pretzels™ were rotated with bowls of competitor brands. Each batch of pretzels was numbered. Consumers were given salt-free crackers in between tastings to clean the palate.
eFive™ is designed to analyze consumer perceptions via the 5 senses: sight, smell, sound, touch and taste. Test subjects filled out questionnaires that sought to answer client questions such as:
eFive™ delivers for Positive Pretzels™
77 consumers participated in the test. According to partner, Gregg Latterman, who viewed the process, “We received results on how our product was rated compared to competitors. Consumers ranked us favorably for our natural ingredients, and the package and messaging also garnered high marks. Positive Pretzels™ is an organic product with all the relevant certifications. The brand was very well received by consumers seeking “good for you” snack products. We were also able to get some answers to questions such as:
Sensory science is a research method that gathers and analyzes consumers’ responses to products that invoke the five human senses: taste, touch, sight, smell and sound. Through its offerings, eFive uses sensory science to reduce the risk of failure. For emerging brand owners like Gregg Latterman, eFive™ delivered the consumer insights with both speed and affordability so that he could take Positive Pretzels™ to the next level.
Curion is a full-service product and sensory insights firm. Curion mitigates risk of marketplace failure by ensuring that only products of quality and character will be introduced to the market, providing repeatable delight to consumers. This is accomplished with world-class people, sensory processes, facilities, and data insights. These insights provide a wealth of information such as: product readiness for launch, consumer purchase decision process, market and demographic opportunity, flavor and texture profiles, competitive landscape and more. Curion was formed with the merger of Q Research Solutions and Tragon Corp.
Mazars USA LLP is pleased to announce the results of the 2018 Food & Beverage Industry Study. The survey was conducted to identify and examine current practices and key trends that have the most impact on the Food & Beverage Industry and its business operations.
Access the full report here
2018 was a historical year for cannabis. We saw firsts from a government perspective, with Canada becoming the second country, and first G7 nation, to legalize adult use cannabis, and the U.S. Food & Drug Administration approving the first cannabis-derived drug. Plus, we saw significant investments from a business perspective, especially from the alcoholic beverage industry. Constellation Brands (owner of Corona and Modelo beers) invested $4 billion into Canopy Growth, a leading Canadian cannabis producer. Miller Coors partnered with The Hydropothecary to develop non-alcoholic, cannabis-infused beverages in Canada. In the U.S., Lagunitas Brewing Company became the first general market CPG company to launch a cannabis product with their introduction of Hi-Fi Hops.
Access the full PDF story from our member Aclara here
Chicagoland Food & Beverage Network
1 W Monroe Street
Chicago, IL 60603
Tel (312) 525-9653