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Hygge [pronounced “hue-gah”], the Danish practice of finding coziness, well-being and contentment in life’s simple pleasures, is trending. But while more and more brands try to promote things you can buy to make your life more “hyggelig”, native Danes say…

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Holiday Biscotti

Hygge [pronounced “hue-gah”], the Danish practice of finding coziness, well-being and contentment in life’s simple pleasures, is trending. But while more and more brands try to promote things you can buy to make your life more “hyggelig”, native Danes say…

A non-dairy debate: Which coffee creamer will we stock at IN?

As 9 a.m. approached and the IN team started the workday sans caffeine, our coffee (and tea) drinkers eagerly awaited this brand test. Were we truly interested in comparing creamers? Or simply anxious to have warm, caffeinated beverages in our…

What’s new in food?

Our round-up of the latest news and trends in foodservice. Consumers’ Latest Take on Healthy Eating: As the definition of “healthy eating” evolves, it’s important to understand what eating healthy means to consumers. This article by Restaurant Business, fills you…

Gingerbread Cookies

The most wonderful time of the year deserves wonderful cookies. With the holidays fast approaching, you’ll need these gingerbread cookies from Alyssa’s recipe book. Makes 7 dozen, 3-inch cookies A nostalgic holiday cookie, perfect for rolling and decorating to keep a classic…

Out with the Old, In with the New: Digital Project Management for Agencies

In October of 2017, the IN Food team embarked on a journey into previously uncharted territory. Years of keeping physical copies of projects (which had once worked so well), was now leading to overflowing review baskets, job jackets that had…

How we stay creative in an industry known for burnout

Ready for a hot-take from the IN office? Creativity isn’t an inherent characteristic, but rather a practiced skill—like riding a bike, typing on a keyboard or driving a car. We know. It’s a departure from the general assumption that creative…

The Search for our 2019 ‘Food for All’ Partner is on!

And you may know just the organization we’re looking for… Hey there Twin Cities-area hive mind! We’re doing a little crowd-sourcing experiment and we need your help. The sitch: IN Food Marketing & Design is on the hunt for a…

Battle of the Bubbly: Which sparkling water is best?

Because all is not fair in love and sparkling water As an ad agency, we took it upon ourselves to answer the be-all, end-all of questions: Which sparkling water is best? Will La Croix continue in our hearts and taste…

Cinnamon Toast Crunch™ Ice Cream with Peaches

SERVES 6-8 • It’s a sweet taste of summer in a bowl: warm, fresh peaches and velvety ice cream with just the right hint of cinnamon. INGREDIENTS ICE CREAM 1 ¼ cup whole milk 3 cup Cinnamon Toast Crunch™ Pinch…

Our Best at Work Playlists

What’s IN our earbuds? Here are a few of our favorite playlists to listen to while we’re chipping away. Caroline, Copywriter: “I listen to the Spotify Orchestra: Cello playlist a lot at work because it doesn’t have words, which can be difficult…

Get grilling: The wurst and best (cheddar) brats to serve this Fourth of July

With the holiday around the corner and a season of backyard barbeques ahead, we were craving a summer staple in the office: brats. And with a fair amount of our office from Wisconsin, we threw in a classic twist. Cheese.…

IN Food Marketing & Design brings awareness to childhood hunger with Click for LUNCH campaign

In June 2018, we were featured in WCCO for Click for LUNCH, our agency’s yearly campaign to build awareness & raise funds of child hunger in our community. Check out our president, Anita Nelson, on WCCO as she helps raise…

What’s a typical day like in an agency?

A common question many advertising professionals will get in their lifetime is: What does a typical day look like for you? The only sound answer we agree on is: There is no typical day. Most of us chose this path…

25,000 Meals to Kids in Need

We are truly amazed by all the support for our Click for L.U.N.C.H campaign. Our initial goal was to provide 15,000 meals to Second Harvest Heartland’s Summer Food Service Program, but due to overwhelming clicks and support, we upped our…

Click for L.U.N.C.H. 2018

We’re IN to food. For everyone. This simple statement defines the way we think about business and the way we interact with our community. We’re thrilled to kick off our 8th annual Click for L.U.N.C.H.! Campaign to raise awareness for…

Where’s the beef? Which veggie burger are we INto?

With the rise of plant-based diets AND an absurd amount of veggie-burgers stowed away in our freezer, it’s fitting for us food-honchos to sample a few veggie-based burgers and let you know which is on our menu this season. The…

Navigating Trade Show Season 2018

Tradeshows can be expensive and overwhelming, but they are also an excellent marketing opportunity. If you’re on the fence about participating, read on! We’re laying out the reasons trade shows could be advantageous for you, tips to make your show…

A growing movement: plant-based dining

Recently, we’ve noticed that many people are turning to plant-based diets in an effort to reduce their carbon footprint. From flexitarian to vegan, we’re digging into how (and why) people adopt different lifestyles to lessen their impact on the environment.…

We’re growing – say hello to our five new hires!

This post was featured in The Minneapolis Egotist on April 25, 2018. Quick! Grab five extra plates and scoot over to make room, we’re growing and we’ve added five new faces to the IN Food crew over the past several…

Making Food Connections

About Food Connections: Food Connections is a Twin Cities group of food professionals who meet 4-6 times per year to network, exchange industry knowledge and expand their own capabilities through trusted partnerships. We sat down with Anita Nelson, president/owner of…

The Lowdown on Pizza Expo 2018

Pizza Expo 2018 in Las Vegas was one for the books – walking between booths with increasingly full bellies and slightly less-full wallets (what’s a trip to Vegas without a round of video poker?) we kept our eyes peeled for…

Emily Erickson promoted to Account Executive

IN Food Marketing & Design believes strongly in supporting, advancing and investing in our best and brightest. Put two and two together and you’ve likely already figured out why Emily Erickson was recently promoted to Account Executive at this Minneapolis-based…

You had us at pizza. Which brand is a freezer must-have?

At IN Food, all we’ve been thinking about is pizza (hey, Pizza Expo). Can’t say anything would be different if we weren’t going, we love this staple favorite. So, inspired by our love of cheesy, saucy goodness, we decided to…

Chocolate and stout…that’s what love is about!

Indulge your sweetheart (or office mates!) with decadent truffles this Valentine’s Day. As a nod to our North Loop neighbor, Fulton Brewery, we chose their Worthy Adversary Stout for this recipe. Ingredients: Creamy Centers 1/4 cup Nutella spread 6 oz. milk…

Why Giving Back is Part of Our Business Model

Food is our passion and our expertise, but it should never be our unique privilege. At IN Food Marketing & Design we believe good business includes social responsibility. That’s why we invest a portion of our time, money and energy…

10 Takeaways from 2017: The IN Food Annual Roundup

From the value of programmatic advertising to the wonders of the 21st century (have you tried Slack?!) to activating latent badassery in our office, here are 10 things we’ve learned in 2017. 1. Social media is a great place to…

Food Connections: Happy Hour Edition

There are Happy Hours…and then there are Food Connections Happy Hours. Voluntarily or not, you’ve probably attended a version of the former: pre-packaged cheese platters, mediocre wine served in plastic cups with a side of stilted conversation. Sound familiar? It’s…

Gingerbread Cookies

MAKES 7 DOZEN 3-INCH COOKIES A nostalgic holiday cookie, perfect for rolling and decorating to keep a classic holiday tradition alive. INGREDIENTS COOKIES 2 sticks butter, softened 1 cup sugar 2 egg yolks – reserve whites for frosting 1 cup…

Doing our part to reduce food waste

Stories from the IN Food Kitchen   To say that food waste is a huge problem in this country is an understatement. About 40% of all food in the United States goes uneaten. Seriously. Chew on that stat for a…

B2B Social Media Do’s and Don’ts

With over 20 years of foodservice marketing under our belt, we know a thing or two about the B2B space here at IN Food. And, as social media plays such an enormous role in marketing and brand awareness today, we…

Mulled Wine & Bacon Jam

INGREDIENTS: MULLED WINE 4 cups apple cider 1 orange (juice and zest) 1/4 cup honey 4 whole cloves 2 cinnamon sticks 3 star anise 1 bottle of red wine BACON JAM 1 lb. bacon, chopped in 1-inch squares 2 large…

Peruvian Idaho® Potato Soup

MAKES 8 CUPS • The hearty comfort of a classic potato soup with a twist of Peruvian spice. Serve with warm, crusty bread for a delicious fall dinner. INGREDIENTS 11/2 pounds assorted Idaho® fingerling potatoes (red and yellow) 2 Tbsp.…

Ricotta with Honey Roasted Tomatoes Bruschetta

MAKES 12 BRUSCHETTA • Crisp bruschetta topped with savory, fresh ricotta and just enough honey to make the roasted tomatoes pop with avor. INGREDIENTS RICOTTA 6 cups whole milk 2 cup heavy cream 1 tsp. coarse sea salt 6 Tbsp.…

Cinnamon Toast Crunch® Ice Cream with Peaches

 SERVES 6-8 • It’s a sweet taste of summer in a bowl: warm, fresh peaches and velvety ice cream with just the right hint of cinnamon. INGREDIENTS ICE CREAM 1 ¼ cup whole milk 3 cup Cinnamon Toast Crunch® Pinch…

This iconic American dessert gets a restaurant-ready, deep-fried facelift

The Twinkie™ – in all its creamy, cakey goodness – has been the quintessential American treat since the Great Depression. New for 2017, however, is the Deep Fried Twinkie, because even with the increasing popularity of healthier, more wholesome menu…

Beef & Mushroom Burger

The secret to a juicy summertime burger? Fresh mushrooms mixed into the beef. It’s grill perfection! SERVES 6-8 Ingredients 1 Tbsp. olive oil 1 lb. finely minced cremini mushrooms 3 sprigs fresh thyme 1 egg 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard 1…

IN Food donates almost 5000 meals through Click for L.U.N.C.H.

We are thrilled to announce that our 7th annual Click for L.U.N.C.H campaign was a success. We received enough clicks to donate 4,830 meals to Second Harvest Heartland’s Summer Food Service Program — that’s 1,800 more meals than last year!…

Lobster Mac & Cheese

Succulent chunks of lobster give this creamy mac and cheese a sweet taste of Maine. SERVES 4-6 Ingredients 1 lb bag of large pasta (we used ziti) 3 Tbsp. butter 2 shallots, finely chopped 3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour 2 cups…

Click for L.U.N.C.H. 2017

To help combat child hunger this summer, IN Food Marketing & Design is proud to kick off the 7th annual Click for L.U.N.C.H! Campaign to raise awareness for Second Harvest Heartland’s Summer Food Service Program. Last year we were able to donate 3,030…

IN Food Marketing & Design Wins Communicator Award of Distinction

This post was featured in The Minneapolis Egotist on May 21, 2017. The Communicator Awards is an annual competition honoring the best in advertising, corporate communications, public relations and identity work for print, video, and interactive. The Agency won for the redesign…

From flavored cottage cheese to spiralized veggies, here’s a look at the five new food products we’re INto.

Chowza Chowza brings a fresh take on the childhood classic — puppy chow! With a crisp bite and indulgent flavor, this Minneapolis-based company offers flavors such as Classic Peanut Butter Chocolate, Mint Chocolate and Butterscotch. At the moment, Chowza is…

Ice Cream Social: 7 Things Learned From Halo Top’s Social Media Success

Founded in 2011 in Justin Woolverton’s kitchen, Halo Top is a low-calorie, high-protein ice cream made with natural ingredients. Originally available in just four flavors, Halo Top has expanded to a whopping 17 varieties. Between 2015 and 2016, the company’s…

Top Dog! Which Natural-Casing, All-Beef Hot Dog is Best?

Though often shadowed by its disc-shaped rival, the hot dog is popping up on an increasing number of restaurant menus. An upgrade from the classic mustard, ketchup and relish combo, offerings such as Prairie Dog’s Micho’s Sonoran Dog and Butcher…

Rosemary Parmesan Skillet Bread

Warm, flavorful homemade bread that’s incredibly easy to make. Bake up your own variations with fresh herbs all summer long. YIELDS 1 LOAF Ingredients 2 ¼ tsp. (1 package) active dry yeast 2 cups lukewarm water 1 tsp. sugar 4…

Food styling: then & now

Last month, we touched on the important role that photography plays in food marketing. But, let’s rewind a few steps to consider the magic that happens before food even makes it in front of a camera. What—or better yet, who—makes…

American Cheese Taste Test

In the spirit of #GrilledCheeseMonth, it is only fitting that we pay homage to our very first brand test–American cheese slices. Neither glamourous nor gourmet, and actually not a cheese at all, but a “cheese food,” rather, American cheese is…

Cheddar Corn Waffles with Poblano Pepper Sauce

Crisp, cheesy waffles topped with eggs and just the right amount of zip in a creamy sauce. An Easter brunch show-stopper! Makes 10 waffles.  INGREDIENTS Poblano Sauce 1 Tbsp. olive oil 4 garlic cloves, peeled 1 onion, coarsely chopped 2 poblano…

(Almond) milkin’ it: is premium worth the price?

Remember when milk came from cows and the almond’s crowning glory was the Almond Joy bar? Yeah, that was 2010. Between 2011 and 2012, sales of almond milk grew by a whopping 70 percent. That’s — dare we say it…

Food photography: is it worth the investment?

Photographs and video play an important role in marketing. They are powerful, engaging communication tools when used appropriately and can deliver visual solutions, inspiration and ownable branding faster than any other medium. The problem? Commercial photography is an investment, and with traditionally…

Chocolate Peanut Butter Torte

serves 8 Clouds of peanut butter goodness nestled into a rich chocolate shell. Worth. Every. Calorie. Ingredients For crust 1 package (approximately 36) Oreo Cookies, finely crushed 6 tablespoons melted butter ¼ teaspoon salt For filling 2 cups heavy/whipping cream…

Your Guide to 2017’s Top Food Trade Shows

  Trade shows can be overwhelming, especially with so many to choose from. We broke down the top trade shows happening this year so you don’t have to: FOODSERVICE 2017 Midwest Foodservice Expo WHEN? March 13 – 15 WHERE? Milwaukee,…

3 reasons we’re INto the Krusteaz website

Happy Pancake Day! This comfort-food holiday had us pouring over a full-stack of pancake-related marketing goodness. In all our research, the Krusteaz foodservice website caught our attention. Here are three reasons we’re INto their website: 1. It’s responsive. Being responsive allows…

Beyond email: 5 proven ways to engage your customers

You’ve invested in a marketing automation platform, honed your list and perfected your process for deploying emails on a regular basis. Now all you need to do is sit back and watch the sales roll in, right? Not so fast.…

Cherry Almond Baked Alaska

This recipe may seem intimidating in length and steps. The beauty is that you can build any combination of ice cream, filling and cake for an impressive dessert. Included are the cake and filling recipes shown, however any brownie or…

Raising the (chocolate) bar. Which brand are we sweet on?

Chocolate: It’s a Valentine’s Day must! But which brand you gift your sweetheart is crucial. In our latest blind taste test, we tried four brands of dark chocolate, all hovering around 70 percent cocoa. The Criteria 70-72% cocoa Between $3.00…

12 Days of Holiday Food Packaging

As a food marketing agency, it’s hard for us not to ooh and ahh over some of the festive packages we see hit the shelves this time of year. Join us as we find and discuss the packaging for 12 food…

Ditch-the-Can Green Bean Casserole

A fresh take on a holiday classic sure to impress the foodies at your table.   Ingredients 1/4 lb. bacon 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil 1/2 cup yellow onion, diced 1/4 cup shallots, diced 1 pound crimini…

5 ingredients for a great creative brief

It’s the bane of most marketers, but generating an inspiring creative brief doesn’t need to be a painful or time-consuming process. Sure, agencies love information, but less can be more if it’s the right information. In addition to the basics…

Which gravy are we inviting over for Thanksgiving dinner?

Between the turkey, the stuffing and the green bean casserole, who has time to fuss with gravy? Sometimes you need a shortcut. In our recent blind taste test, we tried three store-bought gravies on a mission to find our favorite.…

Food shows: 5 tips for success

If you’re like many food companies, trade shows are an important part of your marketing mix. Make sure you’re getting the maximum value for your investment with these 5 easy tips: 1. Plan for success Trade shows are a marketing…

S’more Brownie Cheesecake Skillets

There’s something about these adorable mini cast iron skillets that make for impressive individual desserts. With brownie as a base, you can create endless ooey, gooey combinations. Here are a few of our favorite ideas: Chunks of creamy cheesecake, strawberry…

Which popcorn is Netflix binge-worthy?

Recently, there has been a resurgence in popularity of movie-viewers’ favorite snack. With sales nearly doubling between 2014 and 2015 (expected to reach $12 billion by 2020), and new products seeming to “pop” up everyday, popcorn is more cinematic than ever.…

Packaging we’re INto

There’s nothing we love more than a great packaging redesign, especially when it’s a redesign of a food product! We had the privilege of working with E&C’s Snacks, a Minneapolis-based cookie company, recently designing their logo, packaging design and tagline.…

Cool Offices: IN Food ad agency’s produce-painted space

This post was featured in Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal on March 2, 2016. Food advertising agency IN Food Marketing’s office is painted with earthy red colors like fresh-picked tomatoes and greens like Granny Smith apples. “It gives the office a…

Build food sales in 45 seconds or less.

With over 600,000 restaurants in the U.S., it’s virtually impossible for a food manufacturer to call on more than a small fraction – even with a robust direct or broker sales force. And with a typical sales call costing around…

Tomato, tomahto…which boxed soup gets our vote?

What’s a grilled cheese sandwich without its best sidekick: a steaming bowl of creamy tomato soup? With so many great boxed brands to choose from, we set out to find the one that gets our INdorsement.   The Contestants: Trader…

Cheesecake Baked Apples

If you enjoy creating in the kitchen, here’s a festive and impressive way to serve apple cheesecake. Simply hollow out apples for shells, fill with your favorite cheesecake batter and bake! Apple shells: 8 large apples (I used Honeycrisp) Lemon…

Food packaging we love.

What takes food packaging from good to great? It’s so much more than beautiful graphics, typography and photography. Great food packaging tells a story from the shelf that evokes an emotional response from buyers. Here are three examples that do…

Is Honeycrisp Your Go-To Minnesota Apple? Discover Our Favorite.

Minnesota is home to many delicious varieties of apples, so we narrowed it down to three of our favorites: Honeycrisp, Sweet Tango, and Zestar. Of course we all thought Honeycrisp would be the winner, but we may have discovered a…

Programmatic media 101

As consumers, we may find programmatic media a little creepy. After all, who wants a pair of shoes you’ve been ogling to taunt you on every subsequent website you visit? But as marketers, the benefits and advantages of programmatic media…

Does Organic Lemonade Taste Better?

The July heat is in full force, and one of the best ways to cool down is with a refreshing glass of lemonade. Which brand should you use to cool off while sitting in the sun? In our recent blind…

Mmm… morels!

IN’s Creative Director, Lori Gerdts, is taking over the blog today to share a few of her favorite morel recipes. Enjoy!   The hunt for these little woodsy gems is a special as the mouthwatering treat they make. From a…

Leverage content marketing to drive B2B food sales

Content marketing is the technique of creating and distributing relevant, consistent content with the goal of attracting customers and driving profitable action. So what are the best ways to get started if you don’t have a plan in place? 1.…

Vanilla Ice Cream: Is Premium Worth The Price?

Summer and ice cream go hand-in-hand, but which brand is most cone-worthy? In our latest blind taste test, we tested three vanilla ice cream brands of varying price points to see if a premium brand is worth the extra cost.…

5 ways B2B food marketing is different than B2C

As food marketers, it’s critical to understand the potential challenges and opportunities each sales channel brings. Here are 5 ways the B2B channel varies from B2C, and how you can leverage the difference for maximum success in foodservice. 1. Sales…

Butter’s Back!

Great news! With the growing focus on real ingredients, butter is making a big comeback in the food world—and the one you choose can have a big impact on taste. In our brand test, we found out which one is…

The highlights of our 20-year anniversary celebration

We were thrilled to host our 20-year anniversary celebration on March 20th with clients, friends, family and business associates.  As part of our celebration, we asked attendees for non-perishable food donations in honor of Minnesota Food Share Month. Thanks to…

2015 Winter Fancy Food Show: Trends and highlights

There’s no place like the Fancy Food show to see the hottest trends in specialty foods since many of these will eventually be mainstream in both retail and foodservice. Here are a few of the trends we spotted in San…

Let them eat cake!

Nothing says “I love you” quite like rich chocolate cake. Lori’s go-to recipe for Flourless, (and almost) Effortless Chocolate Kahlua Cakes is the perfect easy Valentine’s Day recipe. Baked in individual ramekins, these gluten-free chocolate cakes pair perfectly with fresh…

Which peanut butter are we nutty for?

In honor of National Peanut Butter Day on January 24th, we set out to find the best one for your future sandwiches. The winner was very smooth, spreadable, and had a rich taste, sure to please any peanut butter lover.…

Honey-Tomato Bruschetta with Homemade Ricotta Recipe

Homemade Ricotta – makes for a fresh, festive bruschetta spread! This is delicious topped with a thin slice of prosciutto and a dollop of fruit preserves, like fig or apricot, or simply drizzle with truffle oil (yum!) and sprinkle with fresh…

What pre-made stuffing should you buy for Thanksgiving?

The answer may surprise you… As we rapidly approach the holiday season, it’s time to start planning for the great American feast: Thanksgiving dinner. One of the most popular sides for the big meal is stuffing. Some may choose to…

Customization Can Build Strong Emotional Connections

The pinnacle of success for any brand is to build a deep, emotional connection with its customers. Coke did this over the summer by tapping into the most unique and personal thing their consumers possess: their name. Coca-Cola’s wildly successful…

Great Video from The Cheerios Effect – Canada

Many of you will remember the turmoil surrounding a Cheerios ad featuring an interracial couple and their (adorable) daughter that aired last year. In response to the controversy, General Mills aired it again during the Super Bowl—doubling down on their…

Lori’s Delicious Bacon Jam Recipe

After our bacon brand test, we convinced our talented Creative Director and Team Chef, Lori, to whip up her famous bacon jam recipe for the team—and even better, we asked her to share the recipe with all of you! We…

Which Bacon Brand is Best?

With the bacon trend continuing to sizzle, the IN Food Marketing & Design team set out on a difficult journey to determine which bacon brand is best. We compared the applewood smoked thick cut bacon from Hormel, Farmland, Nueske’s and…

3 Ideas to Improve Your Email Marketing

Our Interactive/Graphic Designer, Alyssa, recently attended The Email Design Conference in Boston. She came back energized and bursting with cutting-edge email marketing strategies and ideas, so naturally we wanted to share a few of these with you! Below are three…

Made to Stick Part 3: Story

Messages are stickier when they exist as a story. Stories are most successful when the product is integral and it is difficult to tell the story without mentioning the product. The “Puppy Love” ad that Budweiser showed in this year’s…

Made to Stick Part 2: Emotion

According to Made to Stick, ideas are “stickier” when they evoke an emotion. When a strong emotion is attached to an ad, individuals are likely to spend more time thinking about it. The goal of an ad focused on emotion…

Made to Stick Part 1: Simple

In Made to Stick, the first principle of stickiness is simplicity. Simplicity is about finding the most critical essence of an idea, essentially its core. Honeymaid highlights this principle in their recent ad, “This is Wholesome”.  The ad depicts non-traditional…

How to Make Your Message Stick

What sets a successful message apart? According to Chip and Dan Heath the answer lies in the power of persuasive communication. In Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, the authors suggest that the key to idea…

2014 Click for LUNCH

To help combat child hunger this summer, IN Food Marketing & Design is proud to kick off the 4th annual Click for LUNCH! campaign to raise awareness for Second Harvest Heartland’s Summer Food Service Program. Nearly 40% of children in Minnesota’s public schools…

Brand Test: Liquid Water Enhancers

Liquid water enhancers have become increasingly popular as a way to customize water flavor without adding calories or sugar. These products offer consumers a high level of product control because they are able to choose not only the desired product…

Subscription Snack Boxes

Snacking just got easier. Through new subscription snack box services like graze, NatureBox, and Nibblr, healthy, portion-controlled snacks are delivered on a recurring basis to your home or office.  Snack box services provide subscribers with a convenient and personalized variety…

Who makes the best microwave popcorn?

As the weather gets cooler here in Minneapolis, people will begin to spend more nights in with blankets, movies and popcorn. Many people have their go-to microwave popcorn style and brand, but in our latest brand test we set out…

Let’s Unite to Nix Child Hunger!

  In an effort to combat child hunger this summer, IN Food Marketing & Design is thrilled to kick off the 3rd annual Click for LUNCH! campaign to raise awareness for Second Harvest Heartland’s Summer Food Service Program. Nearly 40% of children in…

Top 5 Marketing Mistakes Food Companies Make, Part II

IN Food Marketing & Design has encountered many food marketing faux pas and rounded up the worst in a two post series. If you missed the first post on this topic, read about the first 3 food marketing mistakes here.…

The Top 5 Marketing Mistakes Food Companies Make

As a food marketing agency, we work with a wide variety of food companies from start-ups to Fortune 500 corporations. Here are a few common food marketing mistakes we’ve seen in the past 18 years: 1.    Marketing without a plan.…

Ranch Dressing Brand Taste Test

We compared the flavor and packaging of 4 different ranch dressings from Hidden Valley, Kraft, Litehouse and Marzetti. In our blind taste test, we tried each ranch dressing with carrots, and then the battle began! This was the most contested…

The Latest Hot and Syrupy Trend: Chicken and Waffles

While they may be a classic among some Southerners, chicken and waffles is growing in popularity with the Yankees. It recently became one the of the newest Lay’s® potato chip flavors through the Lay’s® Do Us a Flavor contest. While…

Is Nutella Good for You?

The New York Times recently published a story about Columbia students stealing Nutella from campus dining services, who was caught in the struggle between offering brands students love and running a profitable business. The school was losing thousands of dollars…

Roasted Salted Almonds Brand Test

IN Food Marketing & Design got a little nutty last week during our roasted salted almond brand test. We were convinced all almonds are NOT created equal and put three different brands to the test: Blue Diamond looked the most…

The Best Food Apps

There are a wealth of apps available out there to enhance your food experience. It can be hard to wade through the clutter to find a great app, so here are a few that we INdorse! Just download and enjoy.…

Weighing the Options

Whether it’s for inspiration, support, connections or simply accountability, people are weighing the option to join weight-loss communities more than ever in 2013. The trend reflects an evolving society where consumers place higher priority on the opinions of bloggers and…

2012 Wrap-Up & 2013 Food Trends

Out with the old, IN with the new! With 2013 under way, it’s time to wrap up our 2012 predictions and project what the new year might bring with it. In 2012 the world saw a new food trend pop…

Single serve packaging is no longer a trend

Single serve packaging — whether snacks, beverages or full entrees — is here to stay. According to the Hartman Group, about 46% of all adult eating occasions occur alone. No surprise there, because currently 28% of American households have just…

Kettle Corn Brand Test: Angie’s, Nice! and Popcorn Indiana

IN Food Marketing & Design popped at the chance to decipher which kettle corn brands we like best this morning. Our EXTREMELY scientific brand test revealed which packaging, appearance and taste we preferred between competitors Popcorn Indiana, Walgreen’s private label…

Cream Cheese Brand Test

Cream Cheese Brand Test  The Contenders: Crystal Farms       Essential Everyday      Philadelphia Tested with:  David’s Deli “Everything” flavored bagels This week we set out to determine which cream cheese brand made the spread. We were surprised to find that they were…

Black Forest Inn Campaign

Kudos to Black Forest Inn and GDB on their recent campaign! According to their website they’ve been running their tongue-in-cheek campaign for 12 years, but we love this clever adaptation offering an element of visual humor. It’s rare to see…

Our take on Lay’s Do Us a Flavor Contest

In celebration of it’s 75th anniversary next year, Lay’s potato chips is holding the Lay’s Do Us a Flavor contest where fans can submit their idea for the next great chip flavor. The person who submits the winning idea will win…

Minnesota State Fair 2012

You didn’t think we’d let the state fair commence and not write about it, did you? We had the luxury of an office-outing and treated ourselves to one of the biggest attended events in the nation: the Minnesota State Fair.…

Hot Dogs Go Gourmet!

The arguments against eating hot dogs are long and easy to find, but we thought there was more to this ballpark classic. Our graphic designer Betsy will stand up for her favorite food any day, so she set out to…

Medal Winning Olympic Sponsors

We’ve all seen them – the Olympic commercials that literally have you sitting on the edge of your seat with clips of Michael Phelps’ amazing breast stroke or Usain Bolt’s lightning-fast speed. The next thing you know, you’re in line…

An Art Director’s Barbecue

Lori is known around the office for planning incredible parties. From elaborate murder mystery events to an intimate dinner party with friends, her thoughtfulness, eye for detail and chef’s palate take every event to the next level. Recently she planned…

Candy We Hate

IN Food Marketing & Design loves candy! We eat a fair amount of chocolate, Riesens, Australian licorice and other goodies at work. A sweet treat makes any meeting more fun because, well, candy is so yummy! Except for when it’s…

Where’s the Beef?

By now we’re all aware of the pink slime epidemic.  You know, the one where processing companies add parts of an animal that are less desirable to eat, resulting in a lovely hue of that pretty carnation pink colored slop…

Hell’s Kitchen Peanut Butter Recipe Test

In the midst of our “Like” for L.U.N.C.H. campaign this week, we were inspired to write about one of those kid foods adults love: peanut butter. One of our team members fondly remembers eating peanut butter sandwiches for lunch every…

“Like” for L.U.N.C.H!

375,000 Minnesota kids depend on the free or reduced-cost meals they receive during the school year. As schools around the state let out for summer vacation, many of those kids are faced with unhealthy options – or worse, no options…

Top 5 Restaurant Trends

Trends…always changing, always tasty.  Being the foodies we are, we’ve noticed a few new patterns popping up on restaurant menus.  We collectively decided that eggs, grains, greens, coconut water and oysters are among the top restaurant trends. Eggs:  No longer…

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Tuesday was National Chocolate Chip day so we decided to celebrate with a little IN Food recipe contest. We made three different classic chocolate chip cookie recipes and held a blind tasting to determine the winner. The Recipe Showdown 1…

Brand test: Orange Juice

Orange juice has many health benefits.  It is rich in antioxidants, boosts your immune system and can help fight against health issues such as heart disease and cancer. Our team decided to test three brands in honor of National Orange…

Pillsbury® Bake-Off® Winner: Pumpkin Ravioli with Salted Caramel Whipped Cream

Yesterday a few of us took a break from our busy schedules to bake up the Grand Prize recipe from this year’s Pillsbury® Bake-Off®. The recipe is harder than it looks and even yummier than it sounds. The flavors are very…

Food in Oaxaca, Mexico

Recently, I returned from a trip to Oaxaca, Mexico. Oaxaca (pronounced wah-ha-kah) is the southern most state in Mexico, and one of the most beautiful places I’ve been. It also has some of the best food – scratch that, THE…

Restaurant Review of Rye Deli in Minneapolis

I popped in for a quick bite to eat with a friend on Tuesday at Rye Deli in Uptown Minneapolis. We arrived during happy hour to enjoy a few entrees, appetizers and local brews. I was struck by the nice,…

Putting Food Infused Vodka to the Test

As we mentioned in our last blog post, infusing vodka is becoming more popular, so the IN crew had to test it out. We took a variety of our favorite veggies to make our own random, scrumptious creation. I mean,…

Food Infused Vodka

How does a bacon, a cucumber, or even a basil-inspired cocktail sound? Though it may seem odd to want to eat your liquor, food infused vodkas are on the rise, and we’re not talking about your typical namby pamby citrus…

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus Brand Test

Pass the pita chips, please, it’s hummus tasting time! Hummus. It’s a creamy combination of chickpeas, tahini, and seasonings (in this case, roasted red peppers).  This Middle Eastern and Mediterranean protein-packed dip is a great choice for healthy snacking. Around…

Dark Chocolate Brand Test

Chocolate lovers around the world did a collective high five when word got out this decadent treat has tangible health benefits. Loaded with cell-protecting antioxidants, dark chocolate is great for cardiovascular health, and can even help keep cholesterol and blood…

Original Chocolate Truffle Oats Recipe

It’s been an unusually mild winter this year, but afternoon sweet cravings seem to be as fierce as ever at our office. In my quest to share a satisfying and indulgent fix with some nutritional benefit, I looked to February…

Adventures in making Potica!

Mention the word “potica” to an average American, and you’ll most likely get a blank stare. Mention it to a Slovene, and I guarantee their mouth will start watering. Potica (pronounced poh-teet-sah) is a Slovenian bread that is rolled with layers…

I’m PROsciutto

If I were to eat just one type of cuisine for the rest of my life, it would most certainly be Italian. Hardly a day goes by where I am not scarfing down pizza or pasta; really, it wouldn’t be…

Winter Foodie Activities

Wondering what to do with all this winter and no snow? Even if we can’t hit the slopes quite yet, Minnesota does a great job of providing us with cold weather entertainment — foodie style. Here are some events that…

Eggsperiment

Who knew such a fragile food could hold so much versatility and complication? Cooking eggs is a science. In fact, there is a formula on how to cook the perfect boiled egg: But who has time to do physics in the…

Just the flax, ma’am!

Most of us have heard about the importance of Omega-3 fats in our diet. But did you know flaxseed is a tasty, easy, non-fish way to incorporate this nutrition powerhouse into your daily fare? If the name conjures up images…

Out with the old, IN with the new… eating habits!

Roughly a third of Americans who make New Years resolutions aim to make healthier choices in their diet and lifestyle. But by now, 20% of resolution makers have already gone back to their old habits. Studies show that specific and…

Cardamom, here you come!

With the holiday season passing, the presence of cardamom in baked goods, unfortunately, will too. Or will it? According to the US Food & Beverage Trends report, cardamom is projected to be one of the spices of the year– perhaps…

The Bitters Boom

If you’ve been to a bar in the last 6 months, you may have noticed one of the most recent bar trends: classic cocktails. Not coincidentally, this movement has coincided with the recent bitters revival, and you won’t hear many…

Pizzeria Lola, one slice at a time.

This week I had the absolute pleasure of eating at Pizzeria Lola, not once, but twice! The first time was delicious, but I went back a second time to take serious notes while I inhaled my delicious meal. On Monday,…

HOT Potato

Last week we held a kettle chip brand test and this week we kept the potatoes coming. The New Year is just around the corner and foodies everywhere say 2012 will be the year of the potato! Out with the…

Brand Test: Kettle Chips

Ok, so they’re not the healthiest food around, but who doesn’t crave the salty, crunchy goodness of kettle chips now and then? I know we do! It was time to discover what brand was most worthy of the caloric splurge,…

Sprouting Up…

…Brussels style! They’re green, leafy, and bitterly delicious. Brussels sprouts have gotten a bad rap for years, but lately, they’re so in. Since last year (as predicted by the James Beard Foundation and Forbes) restaurants have added them to their…

What the Phở?!

I’ve lived in Minnesota all my life, but 5 months into our ridiculously long winters I am reduced to a whimpering, huddled mass next to the radiator.  Determined to toughen my spirit against the impending cold, I decided that I…

You say donuts, I say doughnuts?

Either way you spell it, they’re back! How can this possibly coincide with the current “healthy eating” trend? The Krispy Creme wave arrived and departed the Twin Cities in such a short time, making the rumblings of an emerging donut…

Local Brews Prevail: The Fulton Beer Bottle Launch

David and Goliath, the 1980 US Hockey team, Apple Inc., Seabiscuit—what do these stories all have in common? The underdog prevails.  Have you noticed the beer list at your local restaurant lately? Move over, Budweiser! The local brewery is gaining…

Pumpkin Mac & Cheese, Please!

I’ve always been a huge fan of comfort food, especially macaroni and cheese. I’m not picky about whether it was made fresh or came in a box, and I could eat it twice a day. I consume it, and it…

Brand Test: Premium Ice Cream

With summer now a distant memory, we decided we could hang onto it a little longer by testing everyone’s favorite warm weather treat. We chose three premium vanilla ice cream brands: Sonny’s, Graeter’s and Izzy’s. Two of these (Izzy’s and…

Food meets Technology: The Vending Machine of the Future

From wireless appliances to interactive ovens, food related technology is developing at an increasingly rapid pace—and believe it or not, vending machines are also going digital. The new “Digi-Touch” vending machine was created by the National Automated Merchandising Association (NAMA)…

Falling for figs.

Prior to this September, figs were but a memory of the dried fruit & nut tray Grandma boasted on the Christmas buffet (on the tray they remained) or those gooey, cakey Fig Newtons which were a constant on our pre-school…

Chipotle’s New Asian Spin-Off

Here at IN we love us some Chipotle! We’ve been hearing about an experiment they’re doing in Washington D.C. and are very intrigued! Chipotle is opening a restaurant called ShopHouse, Southeast Asian Kitchen, using the same tactics and marketing plan…

Is it ‘Greek’ to you?

In the past five years, sales of Greek yogurt have increased an astounding 2500%. With sales reaching $1.5 billion this year alone, Business Insider calls it “one of the hottest-growing food categories of all time.” So what’s the difference between…

IN’s Amazing Race – MPLS Food Edition

Last Thursday the IN crew took a few hours to celebrate summer & food. The theme: The Amazing Race – MPLS food edition. We were split into teams and each given a list of unique ingredients (Mexican themed) that could…

Bring on the Gluttony!

This year, I went into the fair very prepared. I created a list of new foods, as well as my annual go-tos and printed out eight copies to impress my friends with my preparedness. I think we did a great…

Overwhelmed by Options

I was an epic food fail at the State Fair this year. One who has been there might ask, how is that even possible? Well, in all fairness it was my first real venture to the Great MN Get Together…

State Fair Mania…On-a-Stick

This is the time of year for foodies to rejoice…the Minnesota State Fair is finally upon us! Starting now through Labor Day, people from across the Midwest gather to eat and…well, eat. This year I am especially looking forward to…

Herbesto Pesto!

Fresh herbs are in abundance this time of year and pesto is one delicious way to make use of them. The olive oil base makes pesto a popular sauce for today’s health-minded. When I think of pesto I think, rich,…

Aaah, gazpacho!

In the hot, sultry dog days of summer, nothing beats a cool, refreshing cup of gazpacho. If you’ve never tried it, gazpacho is a cold Spanish tomato-based raw vegetable soup – and it’s a perfect way to fuse your garden’s…

Summery Sips

With summer coming to an end, gourmet popcicles, flavored waters and specialty summer cocktails will come to an end, too. But we still have a month left to enjoy some unique summery cocktails before the seasons change. Restaurants offer their…

Meet the MN Food Bloggers

MN Food Bloggers – ordinary people experimenting, experiencing, engaging and sharing anything and everything to do with food.  From seasoned writers to first time bloggers, this group is filled with people of all ages and professional backgrounds who have one…

Beat the Heat – Treat Yourself to some GELATO!

Whether you’re vacationing in Italy, trying to cool off on a 100+ degree Minneapolis afternoon or celebrating the National Ice Cream Month of July—it’s never a bad time for gelato. It used to be easy for me to say no…

You said “YES!” and we say “THANK YOU!”

A gigantic THANK YOU to everyone who helped make our Say “YES!” to L.U.N.C.H. campaign a smashing success! It was your support that raised awareness and $1,000 for Second Harvest Heartland’s Kids Eat Free! Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). Not…

Food Connections

  Last Wednesday a few of us from IN attended this summer’s Food Connections meeting, held at the exquisite home of Claudia Sutherland, owner of When The Mood Is Food.   The inspiring, welcoming and invigorating space she has created…

Smack. Shack. Attack.

With the summer sun finally shinning, food truck workers are excited to see people out and about enjoying their specialty foods on wheels. Food trucks were a predicted trend this year, and boy, are they ever! Not only do they…

Hats off to the lunch ladies!

If there’s one job I don’t envy, it’s that of a school foodservice director. Talk about challenging: your government funding is based on how many lunches you serve, which means your budget directly correlates to serving meals kids will eat.…

Children’s Food Allergies on the Rise

According to studies conducted by Pediatrics journal, children’s food allergies are now more common and more severe. Today, food allergies affect 1 in 12 youngsters in the U.S.–that’s nearly 6 million children nationwide–an average of two children per classroom! Dr.…

Paying It Forward

Our “Yes!” to L.U.N.C.H. campaign has been extraordinarily successful (thanks again!) and we met our goal of 1000 “attendees” in only day 2 of the campaign. So far, 1492 people have clicked to attend the event. This is tremendous news…

Chef speaks, kids listen.

“Be healthy – follow the 4 basic food groups and exercise” – that’s what I learned in elementary school. It’s simply not that simple today. Child obesity has been a hot topic for several years. It’s still shocking to learn…

Gold at the end of this Rainbow

A few of us foodies here at IN are lucky to be involved with a great networking group here in the Twin Cities known as the MN Food Bloggers. As the name implies, the group is comprised of Minnesotans who…

Wow, you people rock!

It’s only Day 2 of our Say “Yes!” to L.U.N.C.H. campaign and we already have 848 attendees (as of this second). That translates into $848 that we will be donating to Second Harvest Heartland on their behalf. Wow, the support…

“Yes!” to L.U.N.C.H.

For most of us, summer means blissful warm weather, weekends up north, bbq’s and s’mores by the fire. For the nearly 300,000 Minnesota kids that depend on the free or reduced-cost meals provided during the school year, it means unhealthy meals…

The scoop on salsa.

It’s time for another brand test! With spring (or lack there of) jumping quickly to scorching temperatures, we decided to put salsas to the test­ – for a taste of summer. The four contestant’s were: 1. Green Mountain Gringo 2.…

NRA Show Recap

The 2011 National Restaurant Association Hotel-Motel Show was held at Chicago’s McCormick Place from May 21-24. Thousands of exhibitors polished and shined their booths and cooked up samples for hungry attendees. And tens of thousands of hungry attendees walked the…

Get Your Veggie On!

National Vegetarian Week (May 23-29) is well underway! Have any of you been making an effort to buck the beef for a vegetarian meal this week? Whether you are already a vegetarian, considering becoming one, or just interested in a…

Oats to Breakfast

Breakfast really is the best way to start your day. Whether you are making up for a late night and little sleep, jump starting a busy day or relishing a relaxing morning and day ahead – the options and benefits…

Volunteer Dinner a Success!

Last night the IN team had a great time with Community Organizations Networking Compassionately Together (CONECT). CONECT is a program that helps families with housing-related needs. Naturally, as a food-centered business, we prepared dinner for the families. Our menu consisted…

Seeking pleasure this weekend? Grab a box of Magnum!

Sounds a little racy for ice cream, but hey, it works me! I had no awareness of Magnum Ice Cream until their intriguing commercial lured me in last week. Enough to prompt an online search. And there they were, pages…

Good, fast and healthy too?

In today’s crazy-busy world, we all have occasions where we need to eat on-the-go. The challenge? Finding fast food options that aren’t loaded with calories, fat and carbs. Here are a few delicious, healthy ways to stay on track: Jimmy…

Easter Brunches That Will Leave You Wanting More

Easter is right around the corner, and you may have already gotten your fingers dirty with dye and glitter while egg decorating, but your dinner or brunch plans aren’t set in stone.  If your not wanting to host an Easter…

An Easter Tip from Food Network Kitchens:

Dying eggs for Easter takes a small amount of preparing. One way is to poke a hole in both ends of the egg with a pin, and blow the innards of the egg into a bowl. Strong lungs are necessary…

It’s CSA Time!

Now that spring has officially arrived and my tulips have started to emerge from their cold slumber, I’ve been thinking about my favorite fruits & veggies and anticipating the first rhubarb and asparagus crops of the year. There’s nothing better…

Oenophile’s Dime Delight

Minnesota Monthly’s Wine Week has finally arrived, which means Twin Cities wine lovers can enjoy premier wines at some of the best restaurants in town. Your first glass is full price, but your second will only set you back one…

The FDA proposes new calorie labeling requirements

In 2012, if a new Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requirement passes, you will know just how many calories you’re paying for at a restaurant. It could become even harder to indulge in that hamburger without feeling guilty! Last Friday,…

Patios, roof tops and stadiums – Oh My!

Why does drinking a beer on a patio taste so much more crisp and refreshing than drinking one inside? Why is eating a taco on a street corner so satisfying? And why are hot dogs at a baseball game or…

Would you like carrots with that?

Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. recently announced they will be the first fast food restaurants to add turkey burgers to their menus. This announcement came as a bit of a shock since both chains are usually front runners in the race…

Feelin’ the fever for fish fried in fat.

It’s that time of year when even the health-conscious rationalize the sinfully delicious indulgence of beer battered and deep fat fried fish. It’s okay – everything in moderation, right? And that’s just what restaurants, churches and fund-raising organizations count on.…

Baileys…for breakfast?!

There is work to be done here at IN today, so the green pints will have to wait until later. However, being that we are all decked out in festive attire we thought we’d start celebrating St. Patty’s a wee…

Eggsatisfy.

There’s nothing like the savory comfort of a well-constructed fried egg sandwich and with the sudden closing of Town Talk Diner, I’m left with an opening at the  top of my Favorite Fried Egg Sandwich list. Sometimes you don’t realize…

Brand Test: Pasta Sauce – March 11th

In honor of National Noodle Month, we figured it was time to put some top pasta sauces to the test to see which brand deserves to blanket our next plate of spaghetti. We sampled three national brands: Newman’s Own®, Classico®…

Make breakfast fun, and put down the coffee

We were all told by our moms that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but how many of us really treat it as such? If you are anything like me, you just don’t have the time or…

Crudo is the new sushi!

When you think of raw fish what is the first word that comes to mind? If you answered sushi we don’t blame you. Most people are aware of sushi, or sashimi, (which is raw fish without the rice) but how…

Superbowl ads do not disappoint in 2011

Regardless if you love or hate the Green Bay Packers, advertisers brought their A-game to Superbowl XLV. Here are a few of our favorite food-related spots… Top 3 Picks 1.) Doritos, bringing families together one chip at a time. 2.)…

Are social buying websites right for your company?

If you live in a populous area, chances are you have heard of social buying websites like Groupon and Living Social. (For those of you who aren’t on the up and up, these are online companies that negotiate saving opportunities…

Go greens!

In the dead of a long, cold winter, nothing reminds me of summer more than a fresh green salad bursting with flavorful ingredients. As a self-professed salad snob, I readily admit that I’m picky about my greens. If a restaurant…

2010/2011 Trendspotting

It’s that time of year again, to look back on the old and towards the new. With that in mind, the IN crowd decided to recap the food trends of 2010 and predict what we think will be big in…

Mobile Marketing – Finding The Sweet Spot

Let’s face it. We love our phones. We talk, text, surf, tweet, post, check-in, schedule, update and play on them every single day. (And possibly in the middle of the night when insomnia strikes.) And let’s also face the fact…

Mamma mia! It’s National Spaghetti Day!

Fun fact: Spaghetti was first invented by the Chinese, but brought to popularity in Italy after Marco Polo brought the recipe back to Europe from one of his expeditions during the 13th century.

A Fishy Tale

Ahhh, lutefisk… that once a year tradition in many Norwegian-America homes. My family happens to be one of them, and we come from a long line of lutefisk eaters. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this foreign delicacy,…

Garlic, Chickpea, Spinach & Potato Soup

Adapted from Nicola Graimes Vegetarian Cookbook, 2002. Last week, Minnesota beat the 1969 record for the snowiest December ever documented. This could only mean one thing: it’s officially soup season. I found an intriguing recipe for a delicious and simple…

Seven-Layer Bars

The holiday season is the perfect time for family, friends, and… food. Particularly sweets. At IN Food Marketing & Design, we have been doing our fair share of enjoying many holiday goodies lately, including these Seven-Layer Bars. This simple recipe…

Traditional Traditions

It should come as no surprise to anyone that we are dedicating a post to holiday food traditions – we are a food marketing agency. However, it did come as a surprise to us how traditional our traditions are. The…

Holiday Indulgence

‘Tis the seasonings for… numerous test batches, multiple recipes and a few expletives before finally creating the perfect batch of sea salt caramels. Caramels have a reputation for being tricky, but when we came up with this year’s holiday gift…

Burger Bonanza!

Burgers have been a hot menu trend in 2010 and I have really enjoyed seeing all the creative ways chefs in the Twins Cities have taken the bunned bandit to new levels. That is why it saddens me to learn…

Brand Test: Frozen Pizza – Rising Crust – Nov. 13

Turns out we have not grown past our young, reckless college appetites. It is a well-known, and well-respected fact that frozen pizza is appropriate at any time, day or night, at any temperature. And while Jack’s and Tombstone are just…

Brand Test Initiation: American Cheese – Oct. 11

We are well aware this is not the most glamorous or gourmet product. But it’s a staple, and we have all had it at one time or another in grilled cheese. Be honest – you have. Brand Contenders: Crystal Farms…

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