Monday, April 26, 2010

Trying to Be All Things...

The KFC Double Down... targeting young men...

The KFC Double Down has been in test for a year, and chain wide availability for a few weeks. The sandwich which replaces the bread with 2 chicken breasts was designed to appeal to a young male demo that the franchise was losing.

The issue is that KC has been attempting to reposition itself as a healthier alternative, using KFC Grilled as its monicker.

Result of the intro/exposure of doubledown - according to NRN - confusion in consumer's minds... And a position of weakness for the healthier rebranding.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Food Inflation... The Next Big Issue?

undoubtedly there is a feel good factor around right now. The stories in the media are less negative, and the stock market is up. But the spectre of inflation, absent so far in the economy, may be emerging.

This press release from the National Inflation Association is very bearish...

"Some of the startling food price increases on a year-over-year basis include, fresh and dry vegetables up 56.1%, fresh fruits and melons up 28.8%, eggs for fresh use up 33.6%, pork up 19.1%, beef and veal up 10.7% and dairy products up 9.7%. On October 30th, 2009, NIA predicted that inflation would appear next in food and agriculture, but we never anticipated that it would spiral so far out of control this quickly."

And "The U.S. government is now paying out more to Americans in benefits than it collects in taxes".

I have no idea whether this data is true, but certainly it points to some big structural issues in the recovery.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The First Political Test For Energy Drinks

I get a lot of questions along the lines of "when do you think the government will start regulating energy drinks?".

My response is normally "Never - because it would require them to regulate coffee too."

In Louisiana, a representative put a bill into legislative committee that would ban the sale of energy drinks to under 16's. As ever energy drinks were called "speed in a can". The committee did not proceed with the bill precisely because it would unfairly discriminate against one source of caffeine Vs another.

See the story here.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

if you want to lose weight, you don’t necessarily have to go for a long run. “Just get rid of your chair.”

There was a fascinating article in Sunday's New York Times about the relationship between diet and exercise in remaining thin. The net of the article was that extreme physical exercise creates an appetite that is greater than the calories expended in working out, and that lower impact, less strenuous exercise over time is more effective because it does not drive the appetite.

It is always good to see some nuance in the coverage of weight loss issues. Too often coverage defaults to a sound bite that demonizes one food or behavior, rather than putting that in the context of everyone's real life. The article itself also mentions how America's Puritan approach to diet and exercise may be counter productive.

Very interesting...

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Its All In The Genes...

Over the past few years the subject of Nutrigenomics has occasionally appeared in the press. Basically this is the belief that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to nutrition, and that your genes play an important role in how food can keep you healthy.

Today there is a new study from Stanford University that continues this theme. In prior iterations there have been the blood type diet etc, but this study appears to move the research forward. And we are one step closer to DNA analysis providing the best diet alternative for each individual - and away from the FDA's Food Pyramid.