Tag Archives: distribution

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 This seems out-of-date as an estimated 40% of Americans now identify as nonwhite.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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The Rise of Used Clothing Purchasing

There is no doubt that the pandemic changed shopping habits – both what we buy as well as how we buy. Work clothes such as suits and ties are trending down, and more relaxed and casual clothes are trending up. But that’s only part of the story. Sustainability in clothing is also on an upward trend.

To learn more about this, a survey by Adweek-Morning Consult surveyed 2,200 U.S. adults about where they buy clothing, and how they dispose of clothing they no longer want. Among the survey results findings was that 70% of Americans think sustainability is at least somewhat important when deciding how to get rid of unneeded clothing. And, 65% said that sustainability is at least somewhat important when selecting clothing to wear.

Other findings:

  • 79% have purchased used clothing at some point.
  • 20% buy used clothing most or all of the time.
  • 30% of Millennials buy used clothing most or all of the time.
  • 18% of Gen Z buy used clothing at least most of the time.
  • 72% of Gen Z and 74% of Millennials said sustainability was at least somewhat important.
  • 79% said they considered donating clothing as a sustainable option.
  • 59% felt selling clothing was sustainable.

While the numbers are promising, the proof is in the implementation for clothing companies. A recent agreement between Madewell and clothing resale platform thredUP aims to capitalize on this. Madewell (owned by J. Crew) will have a dedicated microsite the its website and will offer a curated selection of used (or ‘preloved’) Madewell jeans.

Old jeans can be brought to Madewell stores, which then assesses the condition of the clothes. If the clothing can live on, it is sold to someone. If the jeans are a little too worn to be sold, they are recycled into housing insulation through Blue Jeans Go Green. The lower price of Madewell jeans on the resales website also opens up sales to a market that is unable or unwilling to pay the high price of new jeans.

What did you buy lately?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: What types of clothes do they buy? New or used? Where? Why?
  2. View thredUP’s 2021 resale report: https://www.thredup.com/resale/#resale-industry
  3. Show thredUP website: https://www.thredup.com/
  4. Show Madewell preowned site: https://madewellforever.thredup.com/
  5. Show Blue Jeans Go Green site: https://bluejeansgogreen.org/
  6. In teams, have students go to these websites and browse clothing items.
  7. Have them consider price, style, etc.
  8. Now that they have viewed resale websites, have their attitudes about buying and clothing changed?
  9. How can sustainability issues be addressed by other clothing manufacturers and retailers?

Source:  AdWeek

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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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