Friday, August 28, 2015

Looking at Yogurt Trends: Emerging Flavors and Styles

by Sarah Cornelisse, Sr. Extension Associate, Dept. of Agricultural Economics, Penn State University

 Yogurt continues to enjoy strong consumer interest and demand.  Retail sales are expected to continue to grow, though at a slower pace than years past; with sales from 2013 to 2014 showing an increase of 3.3% compared to an 11.3% increase from 2010 to 2011.  Spoonable yogurt continues to dominate yogurt sales, at 93% market share, with consumers saying they are turned off from drinkable yogurts by the thick texture.  However, yogurt drinks are still expected to see an 8% sales growth in 2015 (Mintel). 


While sweet fruit flavored yogurts will likely to remain dominant, savory, herbal, and floral flavors are emerging in the marketplace.  Blue Hill produces a line of savory flavored yogurt that includes carrot, parsnip, and butternut squash.  Other new flavors on the market include green tea, rose petal, cucumber mint, and savory shallots.

For the past few years, Greek style yogurt has been in a growth stage.  Having now reached near maturity, new styles are entering the marketplace, enticing customers to try something new and different, yet the same.  French, Bulgarian, Australian, and Icelandic are some of these "new" styles.  As reported by research firm Mintel, one Icelandic yogurt brand experienced a 110% growth in sales from May 2014 to May 2015.

This is an exciting time in the yogurt industry, both for consumers and producers.  Farmstead and small processors have a great opportunity to carve out a niche and generate a consumer following by exploring these emerging trends.

Friday, August 14, 2015

What is Cause Marketing? Part 3

By Dr Kathy Kelley, Professor of Horticultural Marketing and Business Management, and Dana Ollendyke, Extension Associate

This post will continue to outline some of the important topics to consider in deciding if a cause marketing plan is right for your business. (Post 1 and Post 2 in this series have been published in previous weeks.)

Promote that you are also accepting donations
In addition to selling a product or two where the proceeds go directly to support the cause, let customers know that they can also donate funds to the cause.  You, as the business owner, may assume that consumers would automatically understand that there is more than one way to support a cause; however, it may not occur to consumers that they can make a donation in place of making a purchase.

Involve customers in selecting the cause
Two separate strategies can be used to involve consumers in selecting the cause:
  • ask consumers to nominate a cause and then vote on the one that will receive all the donations.
  • allow consumers to choose from a group of causes that would receive the donations.
This second technique is what ONEHOPE Wine has embraced. The brand donates half of all profits to a list of causes including: Cure Alzheimer’s Disease, Support Our Veterans, Save Our Planet, and several others. Each wine is associated with a specific cause. In Image 1, you can see that half of the profits for the 2009 Santa Barbara Reserve Chardonnay helps fund research to find a cure for Alzheimer's Disease.

Image 1.  Bottle of OneHope wine that benefits research to find a cure for Alzheimer's Disease.

Involve employees
Finally, employees should be asked to do more than just collect donations or indicate what purchases support the cause.  Involve them in the process of selecting the cause and associated administration needed to support events or activities.  The more employees support the effort, the more likely they are to alert customers that your business is involved in collecting donations to help those in difficult situations.

As with any new marketing program, it is very important to DO YOUR RESEARCH to determine if this is the right path for your business. 

Friday, August 7, 2015

What is Cause Marketing? Part 2

By Dr Kathy Kelley, Professor of Horticultural Marketing and Business Management, and Dana Ollendyke, Extension Associate

The first installment in this series can be found here.
With so many local, national, and international causes already being supported by your customers’ generosity, how can you compete with them and the businesses that sponsor them?  Consider the following, which could help bolster your cause marketing program.

Make sure that the donation process is transparent  
For each dollar that you collect, you need to show how and where these funds were distributed. Consumers who do not see any progress associated with the money they donated may very well choose not to donate anymore.  Be sure to indicate on your website, in your promotional activities, and in-store that money collected helps to do great things.

Consider a cause that has a natural connection with your business  
Perhaps a member of your business has suffered from a disease that could benefit from a donation.  If this is the case, ask him or her to be the “face” of the effort. In the Wharton Business School article "To Increase Charitable Appeal to the Heart-- Not the Head", it describes how consumers are more likely to donate to a cause if “presented with a personal case of an identifiable victim” through pictures and stories, “something that purely engages the emotional system”.

For example, we can all probably think of at least one product that dons a pink ribbon in honor of breast cancer research.  One of the businesses that does so is J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines.  The winery actually began partnering with cause organizers due to a family member’s breast cancer fight.  Founder Jerry Lohr lost his wife, Carol, in 2008 and through sales of both J. Lohr Carol’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc, the company had a 2014 goal of “providing over 4,000 mammograms to women who would otherwise be unable to afford them”. Certainly, the cause is worthy enough, but by associating a name, story, and image of Carol Lohr, we begin to associate the brand with a real family – not just a business.

Image 1.  Screenshot of the J. Lohr Vineyards website that details their mission to provide mammograms to women in need.
blog photo 3

Or perhaps there is an environmental issue that greatly impacts your city/state/region. Sales from Crimson Pinot Noir, produced by Ata Rangi Vineyard (Martinborough, New Zealand) supports Project Crimson, “to protect and renew our spectacular red-flowering rata and pohutukawa – New Zealand’s iconic native ‘Christmas trees’.” Not only can consumers support the cause by purchasing this wine (Image 2), they can also purchase Northern Rata trees and plant them on their own property (Image 3).

Image 2.  Label showcasing the partnership with Project Crimson.
blog photo 1Image 3.  Sign advertising the sale of the rare Rata photo 2

More considerations on creating a cause marketing program to follow in part 3 of this series!