Five insights from FARE

From creative advertising to allergen labeling, get the lowdown from the 2014 FARE conference.

By Becky Schilling, Editor

Last week I attended the 2014 FARE conference, in Dallas. The conference examines foodservice across multiple channels, including non-commercial, restaurants and c-stores. Here are five key takeovers from the show.

  1. You don’t have to have a huge budget to create a good ad campaign. Take a page from Nando’s book. Nando’s is the South African-based fast-casual chain that is making its push into the U.S.  Nando’s didn’t have a huge ad budget but it made a big splash by being cheeky with its ad to stand out in the space and create a conversation. Check out one example, here.
  2. Pay it forward. Use your position in the community to better people’s lives. This theme was mentioned by several of the conference’s speakers, including the Food Network’s Robert Irvine and former U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords.
  3. “I think of gluten free as a fad,” said Lisa Eberhart, R.D., of North Carolina State University. “I think it will be around for 10 years, but I think the growing trend is knowing what’s in your food.” Eberhart uses a comprehensive menu management system that incorporates every ingredient, including allergens, in all recipes. That information is communicated to the department’s website and menu labeling system, so even if an ingredient is changed out that information is updated in real time.
  4. If you want to create a good marketing campaign, change your thought process, said Christopher Brace, of Shopper Intelligence. Your campaigns shouldn’t be about selling more. The new definition of marketing should be focusing on building an emotional relationship with your customers that can then be leveraged to sell goods and services. Find out what the emotional insights of your customers are and then use those in your marketing material.
  5. Although Eberhart says the university tests all its products that are made in house, they won’t be labeling gluten-free items as such, but rather gluten friendly. This fall a new labeling law goes into effect that requires vendors and manufacturers to test their gluten-free products and ensure they contain fewer than 20 part per million of gluten. Eberhart says the university has the capability to do that, but is opting to go with the gluten-friendly label just to be safe with complying with the law.