Food Entrepreneur - June 23, 2020 - 4
Chef-crafted brands provide
restaurant experience to
MINDY'S EDIBLES FACEBOOK
BY NATALIE SHMULIK
efore the pandemic, Americans were dining out more
than ever. The coronavirus has caused unprecedented
restaurant industry job losses and closings that have displaced chefs in record numbers. Those remaining have begun to
innovate new models under "essential business" restrictions.
Beyond the business classification, the pivot underscores
the understanding that food is essential
and chefs are uniquely qualified to help
consumers navigate the new normal.
Chefs increasingly are donating time and
resources to feeding communities and
creating new products to serve customers at home. The scope of the changes
suggests the new business models are
here to stay - and that chefs will play a
bigger role in bridging the gap between
the in-person dining experience and
consumer packaged goods (CPG).
From celebrity chefs to neighborhood eateries, America's
food experts are finding ways to deliver culinary experiences to
restaurant-deprived consumers. Flexible ghost kitchens - also
called dark or cloud kitchens - are growing and allowing independent chefs to cook food for delivery and rapidly prototype
products. Meanwhile, as some chefs redesign their restaurants
into micro-markets to sell curated ingredients and grab-and-go
items, others are
kits to deliver their
straight to customers' kitchens.
Top Chef and
James Beard Award
Izard, best known
for her Girl and
the Goat family
Natalie Shmulik is the chief executive officer
of The Hatchery Chicago, a food and beverage
introduced her Girl
incubator. Email email@example.com.
& the Goat-ceries meal kits to bring restaurant-quality food to
her home-bound customers. The kits integrate her existing line
of sauces and seasonings, which also are sold at grocery stores
The growing demand for gourmet to go signals an opportunity for more chef-crafted CPGs. And despite their seeming
novelty, they have a proven track record. Restaurateur Marie
Callender's frozen meals and Chef Hector
Boiardi's Chef Boyardee-brand pastas are
established household names. Conagra
Brands, Inc. manufactures the brands as
well as Frontera, a gourmet Mexican line
using Chef Rick Bayless's recipes and name
on the label.
Bob Nolan, senior vice president of
demand sciences at Chicag0-based Conagra,
sees value in partnering with chefs, who
bring a "tremendous passion for attacking
problems and delivering a better experience
to the consumer."
While manufacturers can harness chefs' ingenuity to create
exciting new products, they also benefit from chefs' reputations.
Cresco, a major name in the cannabis industry, set itself apart
from competitors by partnering with award-winning chef Mindy
Segal to launch a line of artisanal cannabis edibles. Her creative
process is essential to designing authentic, quality products.
"We do a lot of ideation in my kitchen, tasting flavors and
desserts," she said, and the "product lines tell the story of my
passion and craft."
With consumer trust at an all-time low, manufacturers can
tap into chefs' genuine connection with the public to build trust,
brand appreciation and loyalty.
However, a balanced partnership between chef and manufacturer is key for chef-crafted CPGs to succeed. Simply putting
a chef's name on a product is not enough. Conagra's leadership
team explains that the same individuality that makes chefs
successful can make their products too niche.
"The products still have to perform," Mr. Nolan said.
This is an opportunity to empower consumers with
chef-crafted products in their own kitchens. Since dining out is
unlikely to "return to normal," the potential lies in harnessing
chefs' creative energy to redefine how Americans dine in. ▪
demand for gourmet
to go signals an
opportunity for more
chef-crafted CPGs in
Food Business News
June 23, 2020
Food Entrepreneur - June 23, 2020
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Food Entrepreneur - June 23, 2020
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