Tag Archives: environmental scan

Where’s the Meat?

In case you haven’t noticed, there are a growing number of meatless ‘meat’ products now available at both grocery stores and restaurants. In the past few months alone, several fast food chains launched chicken-free chicken and meatless burgers to their offerings, and all seem to delight customers who are looking for plant-based alternatives to meat.

In one instance, KFC supplied an Atlanta franchise with faux-meat chicken from Beyond Meat called the ‘Beyond Fried Chicken’. Customers arrived before the doors even opened and the restaurant sold out of its supplies in just five hours! Of course, social media was responsible for the rush to test, but nonetheless, selling out what was supposed to be a several day experiment in less than a day says a great deal about the changing consumer tastes.

Burger King is already established in the meat-free burger category and has been selling the ‘Impossible Burger’, using the plant-based patties from Impossible Meats. White Castle is also in the mix with its ‘Impossible Slider’ (also from Impossible Meats), also sold nationwide.

And last, but not least, McDonald’s has jumped into the meatless game with its ‘PLT’ burger from Beyond Meat – plant, lettuce, and tomato. While today the PLT is only available in Ontario, Canada, it seems likely to make the move to a national distribution as well.

What’s going on? What are these new ‘meats’? The term ‘meatless meats’ is a contentious point, but the products are made by combining plant-based fats, binders, fruit and vegetable-based colors and flavor to create a fibrous texture of meat (no animal components). While these types of products have existed for a number of years, they were commonly marketed only to vegetarians and vegans. Today’s new plant-based meats are aimed directly at meat-eaters, particularly consumers who are concerned about climate change and eliminating animal products from their diets. However, plant-based meats are not typically as healthy as eating unprocessed vegetables and beans and meat consumption is still increasing worldwide. The burgers are often high in calories and fats.

Are you hungry?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Review meatless meat products and meals as needed:
    1. McDonald’s PLT burger: https://youtu.be/StVR1njx2ow
    2. KFC meatless chicken: https://youtu.be/U-imMy7Ohik
    3. Burger King Impossible Whopper: https://youtu.be/N9FED3jkNTo
    4. Impossible Whopper: https://www.bk.com/menu-item/impossible-whopper
    5. The Better Meat Co: https://www.bettermeat.co/
    6. Beyond Meat: https://www.beyondmeat.com/
    7. Impossible Foods: https://impossiblefoods.com/
    8. Carl’s Jr Burger calorie: https://www.carlsjr.com/menu/nutritional_calculator/beyond-famous-star-with-cheese
  2. Discuss the five factors of an environmental scan: Social trends, technology trends, competition, economic trends, and legal/regulatory factors.
  3. Divide students into teams. Have each team use their laptops or mobile devices to discover at least two points in each of the five categories of an environmental scan.
  4. Debrief the exercise by compiling information on the white board.
  5. Do these factors show why companies are embracing the new foods?
  6. Extra video: If students are interested, a scholarly video about climate change and food can be found at: https://youtu.be/8miQs3mPGu8

Sources: New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Advertising Age, Associated Press, and other news sources

 

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Kitty Hawk’s Air Taxi

It seems that a number of companies are taking to the air and working on new transportation methods. A significant new entry vying for a place in the sky is Kitty Hawk, a company financed by Google co-founder and Alphabet CEO, Larry Page. (Kitty Hawk is run by Sebastian Thrun who started Google’s autonomous car unit as director of Google X.) The company has been working somewhat stealthily in New Zealand, testing a new type of fully electric, self-piloting flying taxis.

New Zealand’s prime minister recently announced that it will test Kitty Hawk’s autonomous planes as part of an official certification process. The goal is to have a commercial network of flying taxis in New Zealand in three years. Things will be somewhat different in the U.S. though; the FAA allows test flights of autonomous vehicles, but there is no path to commercialize at this point in time.

Kitty Hawk’s first plane is Cora, a personal air taxi for everyday use. The plane can take off and land like a helicopter, thus eliminating the need for a runway. It has the potential to land on spaces such as rooftops and parking lots. Cora combines self-flying software with expert human supervision. The all-electric vehicle is a pollution-free way to reduce commute time, and stress. Cora has a flight range of 100 kilometers and can fly 150 km/hour.

Look… up in the air… it’s a bird…. it’s a plan…. It’s Cora!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the future of transportation. Will it be on the ground?
  2. Show Kitty Hawk’s Web site: https://kittyhawk.aero/
  3. A video of the plane is available at: https://cora.aero/
  4. Discuss the components of an environmental scan: social, technology, economics, competition, and legal.
  5. Ask students what data they would want in order to make a marketing decision for Kitty Hawk.
  6. Divide students into teams. Have each team use laptops to do general for one of the five components of the environmental scan.
  7. Debrief the exercise by compiling information on the white board. Does this give a good picture of the situation faced by Kitty Hawk?

Source:  Sorkin, A. (12 March, 2018). Larry Page’s flying taxis, now exiting stealth mode. New York Times.

 

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What’s trending?

Marketers are constantly scanning the environment to find new trends. They need to recognize how external forces shape organizations and marketplaces. The lifestyles of consumers are refreshed as consumers are exposed to new ideas and trends. As environmental forces impact organizations, they can also influence consumer behavior. The five environmental forces – social, economic, technology, competitive, and legal – are continually challenging companies, products, and services.

These forces are in play when consumers explore new ways to live, eat, communicate, work, play, learn, and much more. And, with the advent of a new hyper-connected lifestyle (thanks to social media) consumers are quickly exposed to the latest social trends and new ideas.

What are some of the recent trends? According to Mintel Trends, here are some of the recent top trends in the marketplace:

  • Consumers in transit: Adidas released 500 pairs of limited edition shoes that act as a valid annual ticket for BVG public transportation in Germany.
  • Home safety: Vivint has a new app called Streety that allows users to share footage from their outdoor cameras with neighbors.
  • Automotive: Luxury car manufacturer Infiniti teamed with Q & A Web site Zhihu to jointly host a 10-hour live streaming event where an entire car was dismantled so that consumers could learn about the different parts of the car and gain more knowledge about technology and performance.
  • Consumer goods: Coca-Cola launched Coca-Cola Coffee Plus in Australia, a beverage that has twice as much caffeine as regular Coke but has just 42 calories.

Look around. What new trends do you spot?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Start by discussing how trends impact products and services.
  2. Bring up the Mintel top trends site: http://www.mintel.com/blog/new-market-trends/hotspots-january-2018s-top-trends-observations?utm_campaign=9103901_Mintel%20newsletter%20-%20NAM%2025%2F1%2F2018&utm_medium=email&utm_source=dotm&dm_i=2174,5F4M5,NVC5O0,KZ95H,1
  3. Information about the Adidas sneakers: https://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2018/01/17/578598875/berlins-new-adidas-sneakers-feature-sewn-in-transit-tickets
  4. Vivint Streety information: https://www.vivint.com/resources/article/streety-new-neighborhood-watch-app
  5. Coca-Cola Coffee Plus: http://www.coca-colacompany.com/stories/coca-cola-plus-coffee-no-sugar–a-blend-of-two-favourites
  6. Which of these trends do students think have staying power?
  7. Poll students: What trends have they observed lately?
  8. Ask students to utilize the Internet to research trends. What are their findings?

Source:   Mintel (25 January, 2018). Hotspots: January 2018’s top trend observations.

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