Sunday, 8 November 2009

The pie re British Blokes state of health..

Can pie or pasties ‘face’ the challenge of cosmetic surgery and a healthier British bloke?
Before we answer this "eyebrow-raising" question, here are some interesting facts to consider:
■ 65% of the UK population seek
food-related products to provide a
health benefi t
■ 14% wish to lose weight
■ 8% of males now have facial
cosmetic surgery
■ 19% look for health in later life
■ 17% strive for sensible all-year round
Health is now the primary driver behind meal occasions consumed in and out of the home for one in five people. That equates to 15.2bn meal occasions and it’s growing by 5% year-on-year. So does this healthy shift mark the demise of perceived less healthy products such as the pie and perhaps herald the end of the pastie craze? And how on earth do male cosmetics come into the equation?
Demand for male cosmetics has resulted in a year-on-year boom in male cosmetic products of 38%. That level of growth has occurred every year since 2002 – many bakers can only dream of such rises. Why? Because British males have more dough to spend on their appearance, despite the recession, looks are in. That apparently useless fact can help us judge the consumer spends of the future. One can actually transform this into meaningful data to reflect trends affecting the pastie/pie market. A new slant on the pie chart!
What this shows us is that as men invest in skincare products,they are increasingly conscious of how others perceive their appearance.
Haircare can lead eventually to body care. Thus begins a journey where men think more about their dress sense. Then along comes some form of body awareness:
the journey- bloke joins the gym, bloke runs a bit more, bloke drinks more water and less booze, bloke starts to eat a sensible diet and consumes more salads and veggies. Pie and chips drops out of the routine and it’s an exit for the weekly pastie treat.
The British male wants to look younger, act younger and strut his stuff in the latest garb. Be aware, he is watching his waistline and counting his wrinkles. This information counters the government view that we are all getting fatter.
So, as we approach 2010, with concerns on health, recession, labels with sugar E numbers and fat warnings everywhere, the male is looking trimmer, he’s diet smart and he’s watching his body beautiful in the mirror. The health-conscious ageing UK population – those over 50 – are also in huge growth and sales of all those savoury pastries are declining, or are they as recession may force us the other way. Indulgence and reward are entrenched human traits, so I, for one, suspect that the pastie will survive. Plus the target market of the fancy designer pastie chains is not getting fatter, nor are shoppers in the pricey deli sections of the supermarkets.
But bakers and food manufacturers will still need to stay ahead of the game. The pastie of the future will probably need to have Omega-3 in its enzyme-enriched, calcium-enhanced pastry and the ingredients will include ginseng and other brainimproving, ethical, planet-friendly stuffings – no doubt sourced from the local organic pig farmer!
What this spells out is that the baker has to get his NPD (New Product Development) hat on, think outside the proverbial donut box and consider how to get a guiltfree pastie into those healthier males. ■

Saturday, 31 October 2009

PDA - our future is here...

Not for long will be be recieving print or e-mails to print off vouchers/coupons or offers, already in Japan we can track who opens and who scrolls down their screen to read detail or ads, new ideas emerge , as in Google Map, where voice recognition allows you say "pizza" and up pops the most convenient location to where your hand held is located, think now you say "best pizza offer" and we have a new dimension in capturing customers thru offers or discounts.Pixel to photographic recognition is here and all products will carry a picture or pixel image that holds ingredient details, CRM programs. Think not then Google pixel bar codes and see what Mc Donalds have successfully trialled in Japan. In phone purchase System UK and US a little behind even Kenya, where you can buy mineral water to cars on the is well advanced here too where pixel and bar codes are "spammed" then in store infra red will read code and recognise customer with full user details..think loyalty, CRM, Tribe Advantage...Tesco in UK think in 5-10 years all EPOS systems will be redundant...I can see that from whats happening in Africa, Japan and even Finland re PDA usage to purchase...we in are about to launch pre pay pre order by phone...along with tracking our marketing hits via that tiny screen...moving away from loyalty via paper card or plastic to PDA friendly applications...Pizza Hut generated £1m in sales over 3 months with their new Apps, the Widget gets launched here in 30 days (open ended apps for all phones)...get on board or get left behind..
Clearly changes are happening, from viral marketing, (see previous blog on Local Marketing Made Easy) to the way we want to recieve information, a pixel code carries far more detail, so photograph the image, send it to a Brands Head Quarters and get ingredient details, ethenticity statements, traceability, Company CRM position...everything you need...this saves on print runs and changes on packaging costs re reprint or recipe changes as the pixel is constant, just the details posted/e-mailed back...only 1 in 20 of us actually study ingredients in depth, so those "in need " can send off for full disclosures.

The PDA will be our cash, our credit card, our loyalty scheme and our security access (In Japan the bar code on your PDA gets you into your hotel room via infra red reader) it will come, it will be exciting..but hard paper tickets and cash will be with us as a balance I am this space..moving food takes on a new dimension...

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Local Store Marketing-made easy

Local Store Marketing re Social Networks

Small to medium businesses need to get onto the power and economic efficiency of Social Networking and the power and ease of using the internet for ‘viral’ marketing campaigns.

Collating e-mail addresses between using professional bloggers (type Professional Bloggers into Google see what you get) to hiring of students, teenagers or your unit managers the process is simple and effective and of course legal.

LSM (Local Store Marketing) through the web approach is very powerful and is a better / wiser spend than printing of flyers, vouchers, ads in local papers or the church magazine…certainly more effective than waiting for the New Beer launch with the same old Point of Sale if you’re a pub or adding yet another A Frame to a cluttered high street or road side campaign…

If £100 could get me 20 hours of Local Store Marketing per week, could I really not afford to do it?…

Finding blog sites is easy, some will work, getting recognised or mentioned here, encourages the hits on your web site (you need to have one!) Subtle mention is better than down right corporate spill, which will be spotted, so example “ whilst sitting enjoying a pint in the Dog N Duck at Evesham, I was thinking about my tired feet so was wondering what advice as a reflxologist you can give me”…

Some blogs have thousands of readers, a keen community and see the author as an expert. Getting your company on these blogs will result in a lot of traffic to your website.

Search for your subject in Google and add the word 'blog' to the request. Try searching with and without quotes to see the difference in the results. You can also try different variations on your search such as,
a. Reflexology blog
b. Foot massage blog
c. Foot rub blog

Be creative and you should end up with a good list of potential blogs. What you are looking for is bloggers who have been writing content for over a year posting articles at a steady rate such as once a week. Good blog should have a healthy list of comments from the readers and good debates going on about the posts. If you find a good blog go into the ‘about’ section of the blogs and look for the author’s contact details.

Another good tool to find blogs about your topic is to use Google’s blog search tool.
You can sort the results by relevance or date. Above the blog search results it will give you a list of blogs it thinks are most relevant. If Google thinks that the blog is relevant then it usually is popular and will have a good amount of readers.
Technorati ( is a good resource for finding high traffic blogs related to your topic. Technorati visits millions of blogs each day and checks for updates to add to its index.

E-Mail Database

Now the simplest and cheapest route is via e-mail addresses, these you can harvest by the thousand via the internet, here are the easy steps for FREE, other than your time…or hire a student or young Mum and they can do it in their own time, this is a 24/7 activity to suit any ones time table, work from home Mum’s are a great idea, late night students love to earn money or free food or drink this way!
At a mere £5.00 an hour, in that time a good person with average IT skills can harvest 100 to 150 e-mail addresses from local sources…

If you have a University or College near you, go to their web site, hunt around for faculty or staff details and up will pop personal e-mail addresses for each of the faculty, maybe specific departments , in Leeds University that would be over 3000 e-mail addresses alone! They will in the Education sector all look like this :

Drop them a simple e-mail, keep it very simple, the “Subject” section embedded in the e-mail should not be complicated as it could get blocked or filtered if attachments are added, simply say Hello or Drop by…add in the content of the e-mail the offer, often attachments are never opened in fear of viruses or again blocked centrally (you will find this to in a great many company and local business e-mail addresses) SPAM is what they are attempting to stop remember..
So say:
“Glass of wine on us this Thursday when you buy our Hot Pot for a fiver…circulate this offer to friends and family just like confetti if you like, after all they have networks too, as do your employees and local suppliers, change the colour of the words and add Thanks from Frank or Sue or Ta from the Dog n Duck at Evesham…remember busy people have 3- 6 seconds to scan this offer.
Be aware that redemption is not necessary a pre requisite to printing off your e-mail offer, you could request this, but traffic flow will be reduced by up-to 70+%, as many University or Companies ban the copy or printing off of ‘junk’ mail…so offer the freebie with proof of Company Idea or a simple code word...mention the word Dog and get the free wine with meal ordered.

Using the internet can reap thousand of local addresses, go to YELL.COM, type in Solicitors in your area, many will have a web address or enquires@, info@, sales@ simply invite them in with a unique offer. You can harvest the actual address and send them a flyer or use an e-mail address for later offers or sales campaigns.
In a Search engine of your choice, type in Associations, Clubs, Sporting Clubs, Airplane Enthusiasts in your town or area, up will come loads and loads of different organisations, with that to quite often the entire committee members e-mail addresses will pop up too!
Try Churches, Industry, Manufacturers, Consultants, Advisors, Personal Trainers, Media, Printers, Cross Dressers, the list is endless. Astro- physicists to Zoologists!

Moral Issues- If the e-mailed recipient asks to be removed from your database, you must oblige then simply reply saying, “ will do immediate, please drop by for a Free glass of wine on me for the inconvenience caused, simply print off this e-mail and bring it by” (never miss a chance to gain a customer, disgruntled or otherwise) Besides they may circulate it to a few hundred friends to P you off, they think, but to your advantage surely, gets you those customers…


To be effective understand these rules:
1. Redemption levels on any e-mail or voucher campaign are always less than 1% (1 in every 100) just ask McDonalds. A Good e-mail campaign can get you above 4%, in the brand WRAPID, a small Fast Food operation with limited budgets, see, they get 6% with their viral marketing, but they have been at it a while.
2. Learn what works or does not…trial and error here.
3. Cleansing e-mail returns are very necessary
4. Discipline yourselves to get 40-50 e-mails out daily
5. Only hit the database once a month, maximum 15 offers per year
6. Business card collection at site is paramount, these contain mailing addresses and of course new e-mail addresses.
7. Retain a day time e-mailer and a night timer, they will find different sources of information.
8. If you are e-mailing Hikers or 60+ year old associations like Bowls Club, match the offer, i.e. Lunch/Weekend for Bowlers and Hikers, but Rugby Clubs or Car Enthusiasts could be early evening…experiment its almost free!
9. Suggest you collect Birthday info too if you can, day and month only please, create your own Birthday Club capture, simply add info re e-mail address and birth-date onto a calendar and mail offers off 2 weeks prior to the persons birthday, great way to build local customers…
10. Monitor what works, not always via redemptions, but if business slowly improves….worth the effort.

Simple Web site rules

o Your site maybe only one page, pictures are better than words.
o Make sure the pictures of your pub or restaurant, café, bakery are with customers in them, people like to associate with ‘their tribe’- my kinda of place…
o When do the hits on your web site come? - after 9pm, this may show you who is interested, after 10pm normally indicates an under 30 year old clientele.
o 55+ age profile highest users of broadband and social comment sites.
o Get your self, your site onto YOUTUBE, MYSPACE and social chat lines, check out as an example…
o 1 in 5 e-mails need not always be an offer, share a local antidote, offer the ‘meeting space’ for Free (to associations)share a recipe...


o Perhaps cross promote with another business, “ if Shopping in Classic Shoes, bring your receipt in and get a £1.00 off your sandwich?
o Attack the big boys too- Bring in your Subway receipts and we will give you X, or bring in any fast food coupon/voucher and we will give you Y
o Show us your company or association access or membership card and we will give you X..…log how many you get, this will help to show what works….
o A Frames a problem re planning permission?- well if you are on the high street, simply get a good artist or good employee with hand writing skills ,go chalk in different colour on the pavement your daily offer (dry days only or water resistant chalk) Big chalk offer on the pavement pointing to your pub…gets attention and does not break planning rules!

Go for it, if you want to discuss or offer views contact

Friday, 24 July 2009

Plastics or not..

Plastic- solution or not?
Wrapid and Moving Food views are ours…of course you choose yours…

When you say plastic is everywhere you mean everywhere, in food containers; in bottles used to feed infants; in raincoats; in eye glasses and safety helmets; in phones; in clothing; in toys; in bandages; and in cosmetics and some medicines.

Many scientists say man made components in plastics- particularly in a group of compounds called phthalates and a chemical known as bisphenol A or BPA - can leach harmful chemicals, which are absorbed into the body. Some even blame plastics for increased rates of cancer, asthma, neurological disorders and infertility.

The Centre for Health Environment and Justice (CHEJ) speaking recently in Dubai said they were seeking a total ban on these consumer products. Needless to say our plastic and related vinyl industry refers to this as scare campaigns.

So for us in the Food Catering arena and at Wrapid, we discuss at length what we can do what does this mean for our brand :
Firstly BPA, its in bottle tops to dental sealant to food packaging, some 93% of us will have BPA in our urine (survey in 2008 on 3k people) this means it is in your body chemistry and body tissue and blood stream, arguably for decades….this could mean that our bodies know how to expel it or not? Before it hits our urine what is it doing to our tissue?
Clearly we know BPA’s leach out of containers when heated, so from bags of pasta sauce to soups to gastronorms of ingredients would be affected in Catering Services industry, but also in ready meal containers. How many products on pub to restaurant products come chilled or frozen that are micro-waved or reheated in their plastic containers in our domestic or catering ovens?
Phthaltes, the other component in plastic is even more controversial, of this compound two are under international scrutiny, DEHP, found mostly in medical products and DINP found in toys, plastic cutlery, some containers in the airline catering field. These affect the reproductive system and endocrine systems….not in Wrapid packaging or in our ingredients by the way…

The debate continues but here are the bullet points:

1. Do not place plastics into any hot environment
2. Remove food from plastic wrap/trays/containers before thawing or reheating in a microwave
3. Check recycling codes for clues, Code 3 indicates types of phthalates, known as DEHA, code 7 has BPA
4. Canned Foods contain in their lining BPA’s too
5. Avoid use of polycarbonates or polyvinyl chloride (PVC) both contain BPA’s, choose containers with codes 1, 2, 4 or 5
6. If you use Nalgene Bottles, sippy cups (used for coffee /soup vending) or water bottles, do not heat, warm or add or contain heated liquid in them…in storage above 28 degrees C results in contamination…
7. Even nail polish, girls contains phthalates!

∆ If the triangle has a 1 in it with PETE underneath - 2 in it with HDPE – relatively safe.

If you it has 5 or 4 inside the triangle and under 5 PP or under 4 LDPE also relatively safe.

Wrapid just cares, so we inform you, Moving Food ( Uni's to Retailers on these issues..

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

This and that re Marketing, Brave New World....

So we sit around and wonder what to do to drive our business forward...advertise say the Marketing Books, but how with only a small or zero budget...well look at blogs, chatlines, Twitter, Facebook and make some "noise" that is vitually free...
If you are farm shop or a local pub get yourself a part-timer who works those late night hours pay him minimum wage or offer free food or wine or an insentive....consider an advertisement in the local paper, that will set you back over £100, thats 20 hours at £5 per hour of blogging, web based chatter and getting your location mentioned....
If you use or google solicitors in your area, up pops contact details, some of these will have web addresses, often with the owners contact details on them or info@, or sales@... drop them a line with your offer or product or retail outlet...never add attachments as these are mostly zapped/deleted...
Go to the local University or College , seek staff details often the teachers/lecturuers e-mail addresses are posted, these can be found and used, public domaine, send them your offer...
Always mention the web site, as this builds futher awareness...these new Marketing and Sales Employees build up a great database and give you access to potential new must remove names if requested and of course the redemption levels are low, but paper vouchers redemption is known to be less than 1% (1 in every 100 printed) but blogging, creating "noise" can ahieve 3-4 %....

You think this is a young persons game, well 38% of blog/social chat lines and web based reviews on product, locations or destinations are from the 35+ age profiles, fasted growing broadband users are the 50+ .....wheres your target market these days!!

Tap into Associations, everything from A-Z will show, most of these hobbists, clubs or associations post the members details, get busy say hello and invite them in with an offer, discount or something free...all creates noise and builds awareness....

Our Virtual Employyees create hundreds of links, chatter, noise and awareness for our brand Wrapid, we have a budget of £100 a week, we get 20 hours of can too....

Want more see, ask info for info....

Common Sense 2009!!

Common Sense Died April 1st, 2009

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape.He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as knowing when to come in out of the rain, why the early bird gets the worm, life isn't always fair and maybe it was my fault.Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you earn) and reliable parenting strategies (adults, not children, are in charge) and the simple rule of life, if I don’t watch where I am going I am likely to get lost or hurt.His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place.
They have renamed him in some quarters as Health & Safety!!
Reports of a six-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a member of the public who burnt her mouth on a fast food chains hot coffee, another spilled it in their lap, both sued, “Oops are we missing something here”, Common Sense lamented. Or a restaurant /chef owner who fires an unruly kitchen trainee for smoking in the kitchen is then reprimanded by the employment tribunal; this pressing news in the recent Catering trade magazine only worsened his condition. He cancelled all his subscription, too many advertisements on monitoring your restaurant and retail outlets against the demons of Brussels and fear mongering articles every week on the next piece of red tape legislation bullying its way from Westminster, via of course the puppet string masters of Brussels.
These things only worsened his condition.
Certainly his eye sight began to deteriorate some years ago with the onslaught of small print on every thing from Health Club contracts to menu’s to now even till receipts, let alone the constant messages posted under the Health and Safety of our citizens act. Only a few months before he passed on poor Common Sense was out and about and parked in a hotel in Doncaster to see the barbed wire fence marking off a field by his car, of course he instantly recognised the fence it was born in 1829, younger than himself, but old enough to be recognised and indeed know better, it was demeaned by a series of signs hung from it’s wire strands that read ‘Beware - barbed wire fence’ Common Sense’s health lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job they failed to do in disciplining their unruly children. He couldn’t even enjoy his early evening meal at his local brassiere as these unruly kids ‘failed’ by school disciplines ran amok around the tables, chilling his heart as well as his soup , the parents at these tables were knocking back pinot grigio by the gallon (sorry litres) to calm their disappointment at a crumbling school system he assumed!
His health declined even further when he learned that EHO directives via Brussels on the sale of hot food meant department stores like Debenhams are required to check their displayed food every 20 minutes and religiously log it, forget the shoppers needing service he thought. Of course his blood boiled on the thought of our French cousins flaunting this directive at every opportunity. Why only last week whilst visiting Paris he dropped into the European Sandwich show at the Congres de Honor only to see hot food samples ‘galically ‘(yes, not gallantly) cooling down on a beautiful marble table, no thermometers glass covers or temperature probs here he noted.
Poor Common Senses illness was not aided last year when a well known restaurant group in London was warned again by authority figures to chill down and enclose in glass their cheese board, no runny cheese served from now on with his port, indeed his port could not be decanted as lead existed in his favourite cut glass decanter, ..."no wonder his grandfather died at 92, all that lead from cut glass wine glasses and years of decanting fine old ports!"
Poor CC went off to the South of France to convalesce on this experience alone and became more melancholy for right there in the markets and restaurant windows was lovely runny cheese enjoying the winter sunshine….criminals received better treatment than their victims he cried out.Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar can sue you for assault. Common Sense was equally confused when signs for mind the step into a large hotel in York were ignored by a guest and subsequently sued for his fall. Common Sense finally gave up the will to live after another woman failed to realise that a steaming cup of coffee was hot in January 2009. She too spilled a little in her lap and was promptly awarded another huge settlement; No trend here then?
Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and Trust; his wife, Discretion; his daughter, Responsibility; and his sons, Reason and the H&S Executive run his estate..He is survived by three stepbrothers; I Know My Rights, Someone Else Is To Blame and I'm A Victim.Not many attended his funeral because so few realised he was gone.
If you still remember him, drop me a line on and I will pass on your condolences.
If not join the majority and do absolutely nothing.......

Yellow Lines

Not so Mellow Yellow…..

We are reading a great deal these days about the high street, lack of sales, night time binge drinking, security/safety issues, congestion charges; lack of parking and the list goes on.

Having attended recent local authority meetings, senior level discussions with Transport for London and meetings with various Property Search Companies a disappointing message comes through….there is no long term strategy and no joined up thinking in regards to the health of our high streets. Even more disappointing is the fact that no one has considered looking at the effect of all the policies against the consumers need to park and thus to shop. All we read about is the down turn is due to the internet or the down turn in consumer spending and the economy. The community as a whole and their needs are not really understood.

Let us consider any high street in any district of our major cities or small towns in the UK, what we find is a high street that has double yellow lines on it’s main thorough fare and it’s side streets, we have a growth of no parking zones (permit holders only) due to local residence demands to park their second car on or in front of their home, we have a huge growth in parking meters being installed (sadly at £1 for 20 minutes) On top of this the quick free parking that used to exist at the local station is now controlled and prices have risen since 2003 by 500%, certainly this is the case from York to St Albans to Brighton and across the UK.

The local hotels have also put up barriers or controls the local residence parking…get the picture? So what we have is a ‘situation’ here. That situation has been created by local and government policies that do not act strategically, by alienating the car, the consumer has been driven (excuse the pun) away from the high street. This in turn creates a lack of high street traffic and therefore a lack of sales, causing the likes of the regional Boots, WH Smiths and necessary commodity brands (butcher, chemist, banks, dry cleaners) to close down in our local high streets. This then is reflected in a drop in rateable values, collections of VAT, and sales taxed related income for town councils. This drives the councils to create new income streams, so they inflict car parking policies to drive income from parking permits, traffic related parking tickets via the double yellow line and the infamous parking meter charge. Considered an easy target and a easy income stream. This in turn shuts off consumers from the high street as it is no longer as convenient to shop, the type of shops become non core or secondary brands (down market) and a downward spiral begins....upward only rents and increased rates just add to this scenerio..

So let us take a typical Mum, she arguably needs to park close to the shops to jump out of the car collect the dry cleaning or pick up the prescription from the local chemist, often directly outside as little Jonny ,the son, is in the car seat fast asleep. This she can no longer do.
Or lets look at the 45+ year old couple who decide to go out to dinner or lunch (by the way 40-60 year old market is the fastest consumer spening profile and growing), they still have the same issues, the cost or convenience to park is restrictive, meters often charge for 18 hours a day, besides the local Indian or Italian is now a take away to accommodate the Yates late night trade, so actually theirs no where decent on the high street left to eat anyway. The youth will train it in or car pool so the intimidation factor is high from 7pm-1am; just go to York on a Thursday night and find a pub, bar or restaurant that does not have a doorman (polite 2009 speak for bouncer) at their entrances, what does that tell you?

So we have this ‘situation’ the car is black listed, the taxable income for towns and cities is shrinking, the smaller towns get empty shops, the high street deteriorates and the consumers go to out of town for shopping, eat at home or shop via the internet. Interestingly the local village or small out of or off town gastro pubs are doing a roaring and rural trade…not due I would argue to the economy but due to ease of parking....convenience and the need for a safer, cleaner, points of differences....

Can you find a successful local cinema operating on a high street? Can you find a high street where the local paper is not discussing Boots/WHSmith or the local chemist closing?. Is this totally due to consumer demand or changing shopping habits…absolutely to a certain extent but the car and our love affair with the freedom it delivers or should deliver needs to be put into local town planning policies? Perhaps sacrificing rent or rates on a high street location in consideration of free 30 minute parking is worth considering. Perhaps having a planning policy that says we need a mix of local, branded retail outlets and tax breaks for cinemas and theatres. Perhaps even the local Italian is important to the community? A high street gym or health club is finding it hard to make ends meet due to restrictive parking policies. These businesses create footfall and support a healthy high street infrastructure.
I will leave you with this one thought. ‘Is not the heart of a high street and it’s mix of businesses something to consider in planning a policy and thus the consideration of parking to create a healthy high street worth an overall policy change- a change a thinking is now a necessity?

So as we grow older, we mellow but we face the dreaded yellow lines of authority…. If you have a view, contact me on