As usual on the night before the industry’s biggest restaurant show in Chicago, IL, food manufacturers, media, and suppliers came out in force for the annual â€˜Color Partyâ€™ in the offices of The Food ChannelÂ® parent company, NOBLE.
A normally flamboyant event in which guests dress in the color theme, this year’s party featured a lot less color and a bit less partyâ€”but maintained a positive focus on the future as food professionals discussed their strategies for growth during a dark economic time.
Lightened by trays of black sushi and recessionary-woe-dissolving â€˜In-the-Black Berry Mojitos,â€™ the Black Friday mixer opened with the economic marketing perspective of NOBLE/CultureWaves Chief Insights Officer, Andy Ford (photo, above). Andy spoke of the urgent importance of building brands now by embracing the new social media technologies that enable one to join in conversations and nurture communities. Those who’ve created these strong relationships, he says, will be most poised to succeed when they emerge from the recession.
President Julie Tumy (in photo at left) also announced the recently formed alliance with foodservice social media site, FohBoh (front of house, back of house). Giving food manufacturers real-time access to the professional market, the alliance, along with Noble’s proprietary research into the operator/chef target, will enable industry professionals to develop products and messaging with unprecedented relevance for those customers.
During the remainder of the evening, the Food ChannelÂ® crew interviewed foodservice industry leaders, in categories ranging from sustainable foods and paper cups to technology and publishing.
Watch for additional stories on what the food industry is currently doing to weather the economic storm.
Interestingly, several manufacturers indicated that while they suffered in some markets, they made up for those losses in others. And overwhelmingly, the themes of better value, more innovation, and closer relationships to one’s customers prevailed as the essential ways to ease the economic pain and to come out on top when once again the industry sees brighter days ahead.
Reported by Sabrina Robb.