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 second.

As a marketing and design agency specializing in food, this carelessness around food waste is our problem too—and we’re committed to being a part of the solution. Recently we did a photoshoot for the Cady Creek Farms brand of our partner Burnett Dairy Cooperative, and challenged ourselves to use the leftover (and delicious!) cheese from the photoshoot as creatively as possible. Here’s what we did:

Lori’s Luscious Lasagna

If you know anything about our office, you know that Lori Gerdts, dauntless Vice President and Creative Director here at IN Food, could be just as successful as Chef de Cuisine at a swanky five-star restaurant. (We’re just glad she wants to stick it out in the office with us!)lasagna

Recently, after every mouthwatering shot had been prepped and captured to her exacting standards, Lori went to work on the photoshoot leftovers. The resulting lasagna was like nothing any of us had ever tasted before. Here’s what she used:

  • Perfectly savory-sweet caramelized onions left from sandwich preparations in the shoot.
  • Scrumptious sautéed mushrooms also used for sandwich preparations in the shoot.
  • Deliciously crispy leftover prosciutto.
  • Liberal amounts of 4 different flavors of Burnett Dairy cheese.

To these left-over ingredients she added a dangerously delicious béchamel sauce (made with more Cady Creek Farms cheese of course) and alternated layers of béchamel with layers of Lori’s Secret Red Sauce (a recipe she’ll take to her grave) between lasagna noodles, finishing it all with more cheese and a sprig of herbs.

Grilled Cheese Gala

Grilled cheese became a lunchtime staple at IN Food in the weeks after the Burnett photoshoot—and no one complained about eating rich melty goodness between slices of bread also left over from the shoot on more than one occasion. Cooking together is something we love to do here at IN Food, and what better excuse than making a whole bunch of darn delicious grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch at the office?

#NationalSandwichDay traditions

sandwiches to reduce food wasteEven with Lori’s decadent lasagna and grilled cheese sandwiches in the kitchen at lunch, we knew that our small-but-fierce agency couldn’t consume pounds and pounds of leftover cheese fast enough to use it all. So, for the second year in a row, we celebrated National Sandwich Day (November 3rd for those of you ready to mark your calendars for next year) by making and donating 150 sandwiches to Minneapolis Recreation Development, Inc., a local nonprofit serving homeless and disadvantaged youth and families in our community. If we couldn’t use all the perfectly good cheese ourselves, we wanted to make sure someone else could.

Perks of being ‘in’ with the IN crowd

If you’re not already in good standing with one or more of our team members, you may want to move that up your to-do list. Many of our nearest and dearest benefitted from this commitment to using Cady Creek Farms’ photoshoot cheese responsibly: from neighborhood chili cook-offs to birthday blowouts for 3-year-olds, logs of delicious leftover cheese proved—once again—that it pays to be on the INside.


Looking for more ingenious solutions to the problem of food waste in America? Here are some resources we’ve found informational and helpful!

Forbes on the latest food waste solution in the food industry: Wasted Bites Get Culinary Love From All-Star Chefs And Startups.

Hungry Harvest—a non-profit that delivers “ugly produce”, food that is wasted due to aesthetic imperfections or logistical inefficiencies, to subscribers of their market box service and additionally subsidizes and donates this produce to people in need.

TC Food Justice combats food waste and hunger right here at home in the Twin Cities area!

 

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B2B Social Media Do’s and Don’ts

B2B social media

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 would be remiss not to share some of our tips, tricks and trade secrets. Here are 10 things to consider when leveraging social media for B2B marketing:

DO:

  • A/B Test. Social media channels are a great way to conduct A/B testing—you can post variations on the same content more than once, it’s easy to review analytics and paid social actually encourages A/B experimentation. Plus, you’ll be generating more content for your followers to enjoy. (Can you say win-win?)

Test different types of posts to find out what gets people to your website. What types of images work best? Do certain calls-to-action generate more clicks? Do questions perform better than statistics? Compile and analyze your results, and then use the data to inform other parts of your business: email subject lines, paid media headlines, article titles and more.

  • Be creative. Show your company’s personality! Social media is a casual space, and the more personality your brand conveys, the more authentic appeal you will command. This isn’t to say that all companies need to be delivering hysterical one-liners 24/7 (see @Wendy’s hilarious twitter account), but with a strong brand identity you can push the boundaries of conventional business messaging, whatever angle you take.
  • Interact with other accounts. There are millions of users on social media, to differentiate yourself from the masses, you need to make—and interact with—friends. Say it with us: The key to good social media is engagement. It’s imperative that you reach relevant accounts—interact with influencers, customers and industry publications to build your following and your credibility. Respond to their posts, share their articles, and tag them in your posts.There’s a reason social platforms are referred to as communities. By definition you can’t create a community on your own. Reach out! Be social!
  • Offer something of value. Why should followers care about what you’re saying? People at work are busy and not eager to add extra clutter to their days. Think about how you can make following your accounts worthwhile for target audiences by sharing industry statistics or trends that will make their jobs easier, providing a free downloadable item or even a rebate.
  • Repurpose content. Not everything that you post needs to be brand new—your team will burn out. Conduct a content audit and find new ways to share existing content. You can even experiment with new ways to position the same article to find out what makes people click. For example, we could share this article in the following ways:
    • 10 Ways to Maximize Your B2B Social Media
    • The Do’s and Don’ts of B2B Social Media
    • Here’s how to reach your B2B audience without paying a dime
    • 5 things to avoid when you’re a B2B social media community manager
    • The list goes on!

DON’T:

  • Be a megaphone! If you’re constantly sharing your products, your ideas and your news, your platform is all about YOU, not your audience. Cultivate authenticity and build credibility by making it all about THEM. Share industry articles that make their jobs easier. Lead with the benefit, not the product. B2B social media best practices suggest that you have no more than 30% of your content promoting your products or services.
  • Forget analytics. Track, track, track everything! Benchmarks vary so much from industry to industry, company to company—you are your own benchmark.

Where do your followers live? You won’t know until you start tracking. A few basics to watch: followers, likes/favorites, retweets/shares, comments and mentions. You should be keeping an eye on these at the bare minimum, but you should also consider incorporating tracking URLs for even more detailed analytics on your posts.

  • Plan out everything for the year. Social media is real-time and current. It allows you to respond to things as they happen. Unfortunately (or fortunately if you like to fly by the seat of your pants!) this means you can only prep so much in advance. We recommend planning posts in two-week intervals, supplemented by regular community monitoring and sharing of articles in real-time. Sharing and posting about industry events in a timely manner (preferably while they’re happening) is also a great way to engage with your followers.
  • Allow just anyone to post. Give thorough social media training to whoever is in charge of posting. This helps ensure that brand standards are maintained and messaging is appropriate. Nonetheless, it’s wise to have an escalation plan in case something goes wrong. Involve your PR team and leadership in addressing problematic situations.
  • “Set it and forget it.” Have a dedicated community manager who monitors notifications and is responsible for responding to people who interact with your brand.

Use these Do’s and Don’ts to increase the impact of your B2B social media. We’re confident you’ll be impressed with the results.

That said, keep in mind that social media is an ever-changing beast. Skilled wranglers of social platforms must be flexible, adaptable and open to new things—an attitude we’ve adopted and embrace every day here at IN Food.

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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 shallots, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup strongly brewed coffee
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp. real maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tbsp. water

DIRECTIONS:

MULLED WINE

Combine the cider, wine, honey, cinnamon sticks, zest, juice, cloves and star anise in a large saucepan, bring to a boil and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes.

Pour into mugs, add an orange peel to each and serve.

BACON JAM

In a heated skillet, cook bacon until crisp, remove bacon from pan and reserve the grease.

Sauté the garlic and shallots in the bacon grease until soft. Add brown sugar, coffee, vinegar and syrup to the shallots and garlic and simmer 5 minutes.

Add bacon, pepper flakes and water and stir gently.

Simmer on low for about 35 minutes stirring often until the liquid is evaporated and the mixture is syrupy.

Place the entire mixture in a food processor and pulse a few times until it reaches the consistency of chunky jam.

Serve at room temperature. Makes approximately two cups.

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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. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 4 large cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1 small red bell pepper, stem and ribs discarded, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds, ground
  • 1 tsp. ground annatto seeds
  • 1 tsp. coarse sea or kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. coarsely cracked black peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, diced
  • 2 cups whole milk

GARNISH

  • Queso cheese
  • Avocado, sliced
  • Scallions, diced
  • Fresh cilantro

DIRECTIONS

Wash potatoes well under cold running water. Cut in half and submerge in a bowl of water to prevent discoloration.

Heat oil in a Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium-high heat. Once oil appears to shimmer, add onion, garlic and bell pepper. Stir-fry until onion is light brown around the edges and garlic and pepper have softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove pan from heat.

Stir in cumin, annatto, salt, peppercorns and cayenne. Cook only about 15 seconds.

Drain potatoes, add them to the pan along with the cream cheese and milk. Return pan to medium-high heat. As milk comes to a boil, the cream cheese will start to melt. Lower the heat to medium-low, cover the pot, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork or knife, about 15 minutes.

Transfer soup in batches to a blender jar and puree until smooth, creamy and a beautiful shade of yellow, scraping the inside of the jar as needed. You can also purée it in the pan with an immersion blender.

Serve the soup warm in individual bowls, topping it with queso, avocado, scallions and cilantro.

Recipe by Idaho Potato Commission

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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. freshly squeezed lemon juice

HONEY ROASTED TOMATOES

  • 2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. clover honey
  • 2 tsp. thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 12 baguette slices, cut 1/2 inch thick on the bias
  • 1 Tbsp. buckwheat honey
  • 6 basil leaves, julienned or torn

DIRECTIONS

RICOTTA

Pour the milk, cream and salt into a 3-quart nonreactive saucepan. Attach a candy or deep-fry thermometer. Heat the milk to 190°F, stirring it occasionally to keep it from scorching on the bottom. Remove from heat and add the lemon juice, then stir it once or twice, gently and slowly. Let the pot sit undisturbed for 5 minutes.

Line a colander with a few layers of cheesecloth and place it over a large bowl (to catch the whey). Pour the curds and whey into the colander and let the curds strain for at least an hour. At an hour, you’ll have a tender, spreadable ricotta. At two hours, it will be spreadable but a bit rmer, almost like cream cheese. (It will rm as it cools, so do not judge its nal texture by what you have in your cheesecloth.) Eat the ricotta right away or transfer it to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.

Inspired by Salvatore Ricotta, via Tasting Table

HONEY ROASTED TOMATOES

Preheat the oven to 300°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, toss the tomatoes with the olive oil, honey, thyme leaves, salt and pepper. Scrape the tomatoes onto the prepared baking sheet and turn them cut side up. Bake the tomatoes for about 1 hour and 25 minutes, until they begin to shrivel and brown.

Let cool.

NOTE

The roasted tomatoes can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.

TO ASSEMBLE

  1. Preheat the broiler. Spread out the baguette slices on a baking sheet. Broil for about 30 seconds on each side, until the edges are golden brown.
  2. Spread the ricotta over the baguette slices and top with the slow-roasted tomatoes.
  3. Lightly drizzle the tomatoes with the buckwheat honey, sprinkle with the sliced basil and serve with additional buckwheat honey on the side.
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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 of salt
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp. vanilla
  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon

PEACHES

  • Fresh peaches, halved and pitted
  • Maple syrup (for brushing)
  • Butter (for grilling)
  • Pecans, chopped

DIRECTIONS

ICE CREAM

  1. Start by pouring the milk in a bowl and putting ½ cup of the cereal in it. (You really only need one cup of milk, but some of the milk is going to get absorbed into the cereal, so it’s best to use 1 ¼ cups.)
  2. Let the cereal sit in the fridge for as long as you can. Six to eight hours is ideal. When you take it out of the fridge, it will be all soggy-like.
  3. Strain the milk from the cereal, making sure you have a cup of milk
    (if you need more, just pour more plain milk). Put milk in a medium saucepan. Heat the milk with the salt and sugar in the saucepan. Bring mixture to a simmer and then remove from heat.
  4. Whisk egg yolks in a separate bowl. Pour half of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Then pour that back into the saucepan with the rest of the milk. Cook mixture over low heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens enough to coat the back of the spoon.
  5. Pour the cream into a separate bowl placed in an ice bath. Now, strain the warm milk mixture into the bowl of cream. Add in vanilla. Stir over the ice until cool. Then put the bowl into the fridge for at least 8 hours or overnight.
  6. In the meantime, prepare the cereal, so it’s nice and crunchy when you add it into the ice cream. First, put the two cups of cereal in a bag and crush it just a little bit. Heat the butter and brown sugar in a bowl in the microwave until it’s melted. Whisk it together and pour it over the cereal.
  7. Spread the cereal over a parchment-lined cookie sheet, so it’s in a nice even layer and bake it in the oven for about 10 minutes at 350oF, until it’s nice and caramelized. Let it cool and then break it into little pieces.
  8. Process your ice cream according to your ice cream maker’s instructions. Add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon while the ice cream is processing.
  9. When the ice cream is almost done, mix in the Cinnamon Toast. Then store the ice cream in a separate container and let freeze for another few hours, or overnight.

from We are not Martha

PEACHES

Brush the peach halves with maple syrup. Smear butter on a grill or grill pan over low heat. Place the peaches cut side down onto the grill/grill pan and cook them low and slow for a few minutes, rotating them 90 degrees halfway through. Monitor the cooking temp and keep it low enough that the maple syrup doesn’t burn.

Remove the peaches when they’re slightly soft but not mushy and have great grill marks. Brush a little extra maple syrup over the tops.

SERVE

Scoop ice cream into a bowl, then cut peach halves in half. Press the slices into the ice cream, sprinkle pecans and extra Cinnamon Toast Crunch®.

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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 items (did someone say Acai Berry Smoothie Bowl?), restaurant-goers will always have a soft spot for deep-fried foods.

Capitalizing on this deep-fried frenzy, McCain Foodservice launched an integrated campaign touting the Twinkie’s nostalgia and convenience to restaurant operators with the goal of bringing the Hostess® Twinkie® brand to the foodservice market. A series of ad placements with publications like Smartbrief Restaurant, Foodservice Director and Restaurant Business were built around a free product sample, hoping to intrigue and motivate operators to try the product with a strong call to action that touted the product’s novelty.

The ad’s creative is simple. Appetite-provoking hero images showcase how the classic Twinkie can be used in a variety of innovative ways. Upon clicking through, the reader is brought to a landing page (below) with an order form to request a free sample, along with recipe inspiration.

McCain was very liberal with samples, as there was no need to be a foodservice operator. However there does appear to have been a cap on this promotion as the rebate is now closed.


Our curiosity (and appetite) got the best of us, and we requested a sample of our own, which arrived in approximately two week’s time. With recipe inspiration taken from the site, we put the product to the test. We were impressed with the freshness and versatility of the product and can see its benefits to foodservice operators for a quick dessert.

Though it is too early to tell if the campaign resonated with operators, Long John Silver’s announced that it will test the Deep-Fried Twinkie on their dessert menu in select markets – an indicator of the campaign’s success.

Key Takeaways:

  • Liberal samples are a compelling, easy way to drive trial and usage when introducing a new product to market
  • A full media surround with a variety of print, digital, native ad and DTO placements helped this campaign break through
  • Pairing sampling with recipe inspiration can be a powerful combination to create operator trial
  • Creating a new twist on an old favorite is a timeless trend

Need help launching your product for foodservice? We can help! Contact us at info@infoodmktg.com

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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 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup finely diced white onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 lbs. ground beef

Directions

Finely dice mushrooms or gently pulse in food processor.

Heat oil in a saucepan. When hot, add the minced mushrooms. Sautée for two minutes and add fresh thyme. Continue cooking until moisture evaporates. Lightly season with salt and black pepper and set aside.

Whisk egg in a metal mixing bowl. Add mushroom/thyme mixture, mustard, Worcestershire, onion, garlic, salt and black pepper. Whisk again.

Mix in ground beef. Try to avoid overworking during this process as this will make the burgers tough. Form 6-8 balls and shape into burger patties. Press a small dimple in the center of each patty so they don’t puff up while cooking. Place on parchment-lined baking tray and chill in refrigerator for 30-45 minutes.

Cook on heated cast iron skillet (coated with a thin layer of canola oil) or cook on the grill to desired doneness.

 

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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! A huge thank you to everyone who participated in this year’s campaign.

During the school year, more than 40% of K-12 kids in Minnesota are eligible for free or reduced-price meals through the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs. However, when the school year ends for the summer, these children may not have access to the nutritious meals they need. The Summer Food Service Program provides free meals to children 18 and under to fill this gap.

Here at IN we are all passionate about food, and are glad we were able to help make sure fewer children live at risk of hunger this summer. Our partnership with Second Harvest Heartland has been an incredible experience. You can find information about donating to or volunteering with this great organization at www.2harvest.org.

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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 milk
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup mascarpone
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
3 Tbsp. brandy
12 oz. Wood River Alpha’s Morning Sun cheese (white cheddar/gruyere blend), grated
6 oz. fontina cheese, grated
Salt & pepper, to taste
2-3 cooked lobster tails
2 Tbsp. chives, chopped

Topping

1 cup panko crumbs
1 Tbsp. butter, melted
2 Tbsp. chives, chopped
Salt & pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain in colander and return to stockpot. Melt butter over medium heat in large saucepan. Once melted, add shallots and sauté until soft.
Add flour and stir for 1 minute until combined. Whisk in milk. Bring to a slight boil, whisking constantly. Add cream, mascarpone, Dijon, brandy, both cheeses, salt, and pepper. Remove pan from heat. Stir together until all cheese is melted. Mix in pasta and lobster. Pour into a large baking dish.

Topping

Mix together panko crumbs, butter, chives and salt and pepper. Sprinkle topping over pasta. Bake until golden. This will take about 20–25 minutes.

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