Trendwire, March 19, 2008

Trendwire, March 19, 2008

Food & Drink

Trendwire, March 19, 2008



The Food Channel Trendwire
March 19, 2008 • Volume 22, Number 6 •

Peel ‘n Taste Your Way to Flavor

Many magazines hit on at least three senses: sight (you can look at the pretty pictures), touch (it feels heavy and slick, and you might even cut yourself), and smell (assuming you rip open the many, many perfume and cologne samples). Some magazines are moving on to a fourth sense, taste. Peel ‘n Taste® ( strips are quick-dissolving starch strips with flavor embedded. Similar to breath strips that dissolve on the tongue in a splash of flavor, these strips may taste like a glazed donut, popcorn, or fruit juice (or just about anything else for that matter), but contain 0 calories, 0 grams of carbs, and 0 grams of fat.

Last fall the first Peel ‘n Taste magazine campaign supported the launch of a new CBS drama, Cane (the drama chronicles a Cuban American family who owns a sugar cane and rum company), with a taste of a mojito made with the fictional Duque rum that is the cornerstone of the show. Last month, Welch’s used the technology in a thin, tamper-evident pouch with a Welch’s 100% Grape Juice-flavored dissolving taste strip inserted into the February 18, 2008, issue of People magazine. (We noted this grape juice ad in The Food Channel® Hot & Cool Trends by CultureWaves™ at our website under the title “Scratch and Sniff Becomes Remove and Lick.” This feature came just a few days after our article on the new Reebok Kool-Aid-colored sneakers with scent-infused sock liners (

First Flavor (, the company that creates the strips, has developed technology that very closely replicates the flavor notes of specific products for clients, such as a new flavor of soda for example. The client could launch the marketing campaign for the new flavor of soda, complete with Peel ‘n Taste strips that match the flavor of the new soda, slid into demographically appropriate magazines, or even placed in a dispenser in the soda aisle of the grocery store.

The company calls these campaigns “taste-drive” ad campaigns. According to First Flavor data, to conduct a live sampling of an actual product it costs 60 cents to $1 per person. Instead, a client can spend about a tenth of that to put flavor strips in magazines, direct mail, at events or in stores. Its research indicates that more than 80 percent of potential customers would prefer to taste the flavor of a new product before they purchase it. Currently, First Flavor is working with oral hygiene, food, and beverage companies on nutraceutical and vitamin- and mineral-enhanced products.

Looking at the Latest in Green Initiatives

As we told you in our 2008 predictions, going green is a huge movement in the world of food. Companies are looking at small and large changes to make a difference in energy and resource savings, especially when considered system wide. Cynics argue that restaurants are simply looking for a PR boost that being up on the latest trends may bring. But others think that any positive environmental impact should be applauded. To check out your own carbon footprint, take a peek at,, or

Here are a few of the small ways restaurants are making changes to reduce their carbon footprints:

  • Ted’s Montana Grill ( swapped out regular lightbulbs for compact fluorescent bulbs that cost $60,000 but will pay for themselves in savings in only 6 months.
  • Subway ( switched to napkins that use 100% recycled materials, estimating it will save about 147,000 trees a year. It also switched to using polypropylene (which uses less oil to produce) instead of polystyrene in its plastic cups and cutlery, expecting to save 13,000 barrels of oil annually.

Most chains are looking at systemwide changes that can make an even larger impact on their environmental footprint:

  • Subway is currently running a yearlong energy conservation study comparing two different versions of a new store prototype in Kissimmee, Fla. One is similar to its standard store; the other is being called an “Eco Store.” The Eco Store contains such ecofriendly features as natural daylight tubes to light up its dining rooms, low-flow water faucets, recycling bins and low-energy appliances. The goal is to completely recoup the increased cost of building the store within 2 years of energy savings.
  • Ted’s Montana Grill set a goal to be 99% plastic-free. It is using paper straws, cornstarch to-go cups and aluminum to-go containers for food. It is also looking to supplement its power supply with wind generators placed in its parking lots.
  • McDonald’s is making changes to equipment for future stores (such as low-capacity fryers and more efficient appliances), focusing on energy conservation via employee training.

Environmentally friendly products are increasingly available to restaurants, including these:

This list is definitely not exhaustive, and it will only get longer in the future. Look for more companies to develop products and services that address increasingly smaller niches of this widespread cultural issue.


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