Food and Drink

Food and drink have become a major part of most people’s lives, in particular their social lives. In fact the phrase ‘food and drink’ produces over 89 million hits on the Google website. Excessiveness in either is of course unhealthy, but perhaps this is one of the reasons why people see good food or good wine as something special, something to treat themselves with.

Guides to good food, wine and restaurants have become big business. Egon Ronay’s ‘Guide to the Best Restaurants and Gastropubs in the UK’ which provides detailed reviews of over 500 restaurants and gastropubs has sold over 2 million copies. Its simple to compare style of awarding up to three stars to each restaurant is clearly a hit with readers.

‘The Good Food Guide’ edited by Elizabeth Carter sells itself as Britain’s leading restaurant guide and is currently in it 56th edition, detailing over 1,500 eateries from gastropubs to high end dining.

Fine wine guides are also a big seller, with books such as Clarke’s ‘Fine Wine Guide: A Connoisseur’s Bible’ and Johnson-Bell’s ‘Good Food, Fine Wine: A Practical Guide to Finding the Perfect Match’ both readily available on the internet it is clear that there is a high demand for such guides.

This is not surprising as the United Kingdom is the second largest importer of wine in the world. Wine sales in the UK increased 25% between 2001 and 2005. In 2004 the estimated wine consumption was 1.2 billion litres. In particular there has been an increase in the consumption of so-called New World wines, for example those from Australia or the USA instead of traditional producers such as France. California now produces 2 billion litres of wine every year, making it the fourth biggest producer behind Italy, France and Spain. In 2004, New World wines accounted for over 55% of total consumption in the UK.

Exports of Australian wines have more than quadrupled in the last decade to reach nearly 800 million litres in 2006, 22% of which went onto the UK market, approximately 176 million litres.

Exports of New Zealand wines to the UK alone have increased from 8.1 million litres in 1997 to 21.9 million litres in 2006.

One factor in the explanation of this is an increase in the availability of fine wine in many supermarkets. Some figures place two-thirds of UK wines sales in supermarkets. Increased demand and competition between large chain supermarkets have increased the variety of wines and producers and made them more accessible to the general public.

Making the Most of PR in the Food and Drink Sector

The food and drink sector is especially competitive, and an effective PR strategy can give you and your product the edge.

Below are some tips on getting started.

Before you begin…

In order for your consumer PR to have any effect at all, you first need to ensure that your product is in the stores and available for customers to buy – consumer titles won’t even consider promoting your product if it isn’t widely available. Likewise, the more stores you can get your product in to, the more likely you are to get press coverage.

Trade titles

If you have a new product that you want to shout about, this is the place to do it. When your press release is ready, call your chosen magazine. Explain briefly who you are, why you’re calling and what the press release is about, then ask who the best person to send it through to via email would be.

Once you’ve established these contacts, by sure to check in with the journalists regularly – building a relationship can be extremely beneficial as it is more likely to lead to repeat coverage.

Consumer titles

While many consumer titles incorporate some food and drink coverage, opportunities are minimal and highly sought after.

Identify which titles are being read by your target market and focus your attention on these; it’s better to have a considered, targeted campaign applied where it matters than a blanket campaign that ends up being nothing more than a blip on journalists’ radar.

There’s little point in targeting recipe pages as the vast majority of these are written in house; you best bet is ‘Tried and Tested’ and ‘New in store’ slots.
Try and establish a point of contact at each title so that they become familiar with you and your products – you’re more likely to get positive feedback this way.

It’s also worth considering running competitions with consumer titles; guaranteed exposure for a small outlay (i.e. the cost of the prize) shouldn’t be undervalued.

Always be sure you have a plentiful supply of samples that you’re willing to send to journalists so they can review your products; it’s not a good idea to keep them waiting as it could reflect negatively on your business.

Food and Drink Photography – Hungry for Some Tricks?

Thank God some tricks can be shared for all to imbibe. As food and drink photography becomes more of a niche, restaurant shutterbugs are in demand. Shooting irresistible pancakes and making them look oven fresh can be demanding. The trick lies in capturing the ‘freshest and ripest moment’. You may ask how many pancakes and honey syrup it takes to get the shoot right? Not more than a triple-decker of three pancakes! And the strategy lies in setting up the props before the ‘subject’ has arrived fresh out of the non-stick pan. A shutterbug with decent skills can do the lighting well in advance. So if you are in catering business, which is online, having delicious pictures of the menu can be the best bet for getting good business.

To make the food look digestible, the lead photographer will have the assistants arrange the studio bay first. The setting may take an hour or two. Why are we saying this? Because hot steaming food can look limp if it is bought before the shoot. The assistants will assemble the cameras, lens and the tripod stand. The controlling lights, white balance, bouncers and scrims will be positioned for the table top still pictures.

A photographer might use a camera that he can manually adjust to control the way he will shoot. A use of a compact camera is common for food and drink photography. Once the camera is loaded, the lens is another major component to choose. A good quality lens is fitted. A Canon has 50mm 1.4f. It is the best focal length that can capture great shots. A camera mounted on the tripod is steady and better suited for still photography sessions like this. The next comes formatting, i.e. Jpeg or RAW images. Most digicams have the two options. Why Jpeg is more popular-Because, it easily helps pictures to upload on the websites. It is lighter and speed is important when many images have to be seen together. Jpeg images are not necessarily of low quality. They can be scaled while photo processing. Some photographers like to use the RAW format too. The biggest advantage here is the many other elements around can be captured. If they are not required they can always be deleted during the editing. Several new age photographers are using live shot demos before the actual shots are clicked. Shooting tethering has become common. When the camera is plugged to the USB port of a computer the real time image is seen. It becomes easier to shoot the right frame. If a big difference needs to be made to a final shot this can be really helpful.

When these elements are done, the last thing that needs to be done is lighting. It creates the final impact on the product photography. Yes artificial lighting can be controlled and can do wonders. There is a choice of soft light box or halogen lamps with umbrellas. Throw off the lights or bounce them across the items on display. This makes the photographer take the delicious shot eventually.

Food and Drinks are Social Pleasures

Two of the things in this life that none of us can do without are food and drinks. We must have food and drinks to survive but they also play a major role in our social lives. Interactions such as family gatherings, dating, or just sitting down with a friend for a drink or a cup of coffee. And how many business deals, both large and small, have been consummated over a lunch or dinner? The answer is “countless.” Restaurants provide the ambiance for social gatherings and business meetings. After all, a great many of our parents had their first date in a restaurant, and got to know each other over food and drinks. Had they not done so, then some of us might not be here today.

In the different countries all over the world, with all of our cultural differences, food and drinks are what bring people together. In Hawaii they have the Luau, Germany has Oktoberfest, Russia has Easter Feast, Mexico has Cinco de Mayo, and your own home town has the police officers at the donut shop. Imagine what life would be like if we ate just because we had to. There would be no festivals, no galas, and very few social gatherings. Of course, we would still see the police officers at the donut shop because…..well , just because.

Let’s face it. We just love to eat. We have taken great pains to insure that our food will always taste scrumptious, and is readily available. Gourmet food is a good example. We can even buy gourmet food gift baskets. And take it from one who knows, they are a special treat. As a matter of fact, getting a food gift basket for someone is a good idea. Come to think of it, getting one for yourself could be an even better one.

Being a RitzyShopper you have at your fingertips restaurants, gourmet food, food gift baskets, and drinks such as wine and tea. Take a peek and let your appetite guide you.

By the way, I just couldn’t resist kidding the police just a little bit. I have a police officer in the family and have a great deal of respect for the people who put their lives on the line everyday so I can sit here and write this article. Thank you.

Field Marketing Within the Food and Drink Industry

Are you a supplier within the food and drink sector? You should realize that your success could depend on how you market the products you sell to prospective or potential customers or consumers. You do not need to be a full-time and seasoned expert in marketing. Your core skills in product development and manufacturing would be particularly important and useful. You could begin looking outside or beyond your very own business or company to be able to effectively field market within the industry.

If you are not that confident about your own level of field marketing capability within the food and drink industry, you should not worry in any way. There are currently several field marketing agencies that are operating to offer and provide the specific type of service that you and your business requires. You could use such to optimize your own opportunity for success. Do you plan to take such a service? Here are the most important factors that you truly should take a closer look at especially when selecting a company that would deliver your success. Take note of each of the following.

Capability and experience in multiples, wholesale, impulse, and cash/carry sectors. This feature would surely enable you to take the opportunity to broaden the range of your own products’ influence to the widest possible extent.

Track record in putting up or setting standards through becoming a results-driven group or organization. This could be in terms of sales turnover and market share growth. When doing so, do not miss to look very carefully at your business’ current clients as well as their success stories.

Extent on how to utilize full-time sales specialists. Most agencies are using their part-time personnel for this purpose. In general, the service providers should intend to manage your company’s brands to comply with agreed upon development strategies so that maximum exposure could be ensured. Thus, sales potentials of your food and drink products would be possibly achieved. This could require full-time attention and focus on the side of the service provider or agency.

The agency should use effective information systems, offline or online. This could ensure that your food and drink business would be kept up to accelerate on rate of sales, effectiveness of marketing/promotional tasks, stock controls, and latest market trends. Thus, this could be a core differentiation factor, especially with the rising availability of Internet systems and the emerging mobile technologies.

Typical services that you should expect from the field marketing service provider for your food and drink business are as follows: assurance that your food and drink goods are consistently stocked across all key stores; monitoring of sales rates, capacity, and shelf space for optimum stock levels; conversion of available warehouse inventories into shelf stocks; monitoring of stores that could carry out agreed upon or target sales promotional programs; presentation of new products and marketing initiatives throughout important regional decision makers; provision of target support for brand activities; and creation and implementation of sales tactics and opportunities for your food and drink brands.