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Caribou Drops Artificial Ingredients From Drinks

Caribou Coffee is cleaning up its act by offering beverages free of artificial colors, flavors and sweeteners. The Brooklyn Center-based company has established a clean label standard for all beverages served at its U.S. locations, making it the first national coffeehouse to answer consumers distrustful of unrecognizable ingredients with such a wide-ranging guarantee. "Almost all consumers are looking for, at least to some level, foods that are fresh, real and less-processed. That's the holy grail for most consumers right now," said Laurie Demeritt, chief executive of the Hartman Group, a consumer research firm focused on food and beverages. According to a 2015 consumer survey by the firm, more than 70 percent of people say they read labels when shopping. The term "clean label" has no formal definition but generally describes the rejection of ingredients perceived to be bad.


Restaurants Turn to Robots to Take Orders Through Social Channels, Digital Assistants

“We are seeing more restaurants adding chatbots to their ordering capabilities largely because it is a technology that consumers are already using. While some restaurants have their own ordering app with chatbot capabilities, we are seeing more restaurant companies explore the use of pre-existing messaging tools as chatbot platforms. This takes out the extra step of downloading a stand-alone restaurant app for mobile ordering,” said Robertson Allen, a consultant with The Hartman Group. In addition to letting consumers use an app they already have instead of downloading a restaurant’s app -- freeing up valuable smartphone real estate -- chatbots appeal to consumers because they “simulate a human conversation and create a more fun context around the food ordering experience,” Allen said “Unlike other online ordering systems, they provide an experiential layer that makes the process feel less impersonal and purely transactional.”


Forecasting the Future of Snacking

Snacking, now accounting for half of all eating occasions, is driven by three primary consumer needs: nourishment, optimization and pleasure. Understanding attitudes and approaches to snacking based on these drivers is critical as manufacturers and retailers navigate “the modern era of snackified eating,” said Tamara Barnett, vice-president of strategic insights for The Hartman Group. “Snacking is not just an interesting phenomenon of consumer behavior … it really is a crucial demand space for product and marketing development and strategic portfolio planning,” Ms. Barnett said during a Feb. 28 webinar presentation detailing findings of recent research about snacking behaviors.



The A.C.T. Experience

Click on this link to go to the event page: A.C.T. SEATTLE

Finding inspiration for “what to make to eat?” can be a real challenge for many of America’s households

Cooking today for a family must accommodate everyone’s schedule and food preferences ranging from avoidances to culinary variety and healthfulness.


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