Category Archives: Uncategorized

Global Cuisine in the Supermarket

Why do grocery stores still have an ethnic foods aisle? This seems out-of-date as an estimated 40% of Americans now identify as nonwhite. While some people think this is a racist label, others just find it confusing and makes it hard to find the foods they want.

The origin of the ethnic food aisle date back to the start of supermarkets in the early 1900s. Prior to the 1920s, shoppers visited several independent shops (butcher, baker, etc.) for different foods and supplies. In fact, some stores retrieved all items from the shelves for the consumer – the consumer didn’t shop, or roam down aisles looking for foods. A clerk did the shopping for them.

The first major self-service grocery supermarket was Piggly Wiggly in 1916, located in Memphis, Tenn. The growth of supermarkets and self-service shopping required that foods be organized by like items and tastes so they could be found in the store. Items needed for international cuisine dishes were therefore placed together so that the recipe items could be easily purchased.

Today, the ethnic food aisles seem to be a hodge-podge of items. There might be Chinese ingredients, fish sauces, Mexican spices, Korean noodles, African flour, and others all pulled together in a central place. Even in that format, many shoppers like the variety of the aisle, considering it a place to find new or unusual flavors.

Some stores such as Kroger have integrated global foods into every aisle and seen great success. Other stores prefer to keep items separate so that they can be highlighted differently.

What’s your opinion?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the evolution of grocery stores and shopping.
  2. Show a great video highlighting ethnic food aisle issues: https://youtu.be/4Q–YIt_0Hw
  3. For a longer exercise, divide students into teams and have them visit a local American supermarket. They can diagram aisles and take photos of shelves and foods.
  4. What are their observations about how and where more ethnic foods are stocked?
  5. How could ethnic foods be categorized in stores?

Source:  Business Insider; New York Times

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Coming Soon to a CVS Store Near You – Therapy Sessions

Feeling stressed or down lately? Sorry to say this, but you are not alone. There is no doubt that the past year has had a strong impact on our mental health as people deal with new issues stemming from the pandemic. Many people find benefits from therapy during those times, but it might not always be easy to find a therapist and schedule times to visit.

To help people deal with these issues, CVS is now offering counseling services in or near select stores in Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Texas. At these locations, CVS now staffs a licensed clinical social worker trained in cognitive behavior therapy. To address privacy issues, CVS says customers would have no way to know that someone is getting counseling (as opposed to other clinic services) in private rooms. An initial assessment with the therapist costs $129, while a 30-minute counseling session costs $69. Treatment would not be a substitute for long-term care, and would instead be used for issues that could be worked on in five or six sessions.

While at first glance CVS’s move might seem a stretch, it is also another way for retail pharmacies to offer additional health care services to customers, and in a place that they regularly shop at. CVS is being joined in these new therapy service offerings by rivals Walgreens and Walmart.

Social workers think that offering counselling in places consumers already visit will be a good draw, particularly for people in lower-income areas, or who lack health insurance.

Some days, we all need a little extra help.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the environmental factors that have led to new therapy service offerings.
  2. How have these factors led to new services?
  3. Show video of athletes discussing mental health: https://www.wsj.com/video/how-athlete-candor-on-mental-health-is-changing-the-game/8F51F296-46AD-423D-9B9F-C24E4DF6D7AD.html
  4. Ask students their opinions on the topic of mental health services as part of a whole care strategy.
  5. Show CVS website for mental health services: https://www.cvs.com/content/health-hub/mental-health-counseling
  6. Brief video of the services: https://youtu.be/3ZJcy8W3d0A
  7. Divide students into teams. Have each team develop a SWOT analysis for CVS that includes recent environmental trends.

Source:  Wall Street Journal; NPR; other news sources

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Mac & Cheese Ice Cream

The location of a product on the product life cycle is an important indicator of how the product should be marketed. After all, there is no reason for a Super Bowl ad for a product in the declining stage. But how do marketers bring new life and positioning to mature products. Well, Kraft has done a good job with this summer’s new ice cream flavor.

It’s the time of year when the demand for ice cream is at a peak. Favorite flavors include, chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, rocky road, mac and cheese, chocolate chip… Wait, what? Mac & Cheese flavored ice cream?

Yes, you read that correctly. In a new food mashup that takes advantage of its reputation as a traditional comfort food, Kraft Mac & Cheese Ice Cream was (briefly) available to help quench our summer desire for cool treats. Kraft worked with Brooklyn-based Van Leeuwen ice cream for a co-branded product that looks suspiciously yellow and supposedly tastes like mac and cheese.

The new flavor was only available online and at 23 Van Leeuwen shops in New York, Los Angeles, and Houston. Unfortunately for fans, the gluten-free ice cream quickly sold out.

This isn’t Kraft’s only mashup. Last year Kraft teamed with Cheetos for Cheetos Mac & Cheese in three spicy flavors: Bold & Cheesy, Flamin’ Hot, and Cheesy Jalapeno. These types of food combinations – mashups – bring renewed interest to old, familiar foods and flavors. It’s also a perfect blend for social media postings to involve old and new consumers.

What else could use a mashup?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: What are their favorite ice cream flavors? Has anyone had a uniquely produced ice cream?
  2. Discuss the marketing appeal of unusual product mashups.
  3. Show the ice cream Website: https://vanleeuwenicecream.com/product/kraft-mac-and-cheese/
  4. Show video about the product: https://youtu.be/x12V_AyLA2w
  5. Where is ice cream on the product life cycle? How about Mac & Cheese?
  6. Where is the new product on the PLC? What is the expected length of the cycle?
  7. Divide students into teams. Have each team choose two brands for a mashup product.
  8. How should these new products be marketed?
  9. What are the potential results?

Source:  Ad Week; NPR; other news sources

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