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 the page layout to adapt to the size of a user’s screen. Here, the content stacks and the slider is removed for simplicity on mobile screens. Not only does it make for a positive viewing experience across all devices, responsiveness also contributes to SEO. Search engines will prioritize responsive sites over those that only have a desktop experience.

2. It’s easy to navigate.

With a simple navigation of just six primary sections and only four submenu items, there’s not much to this site—and that’s a good thing. Visitors can quickly find what they need and get there with just one click.

3. It’s simple.

We really like the flow and organization of the page layouts. The homepage consists of just three sections of content, and more than half of that space is devoted to photos of trending recipes.


Overall, the website structure and user experience for Krusteaz Professional is in a good place. As for design, we extended our research to the Krusteaz retail site to see how the brand style translates between retail and foodservice. Foodservice websites often don’t get the “design love” that their retail counterparts do. The modern look and feel of the Krusteaz retail site has a freshness that we’re missing in their foodservice site. We understand that foodservice and retail websites have different priorities, but we could see some of these modern retail elements utilized to take their foodservice site up a notch.

Hungry for more? Contact us to learn how we can work together.

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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. While email is an effective way to communicate directly with your customers, it shouldn’t be the only way. As more and more marketers hit the “send” button, you may find your emails getting lost in the shuffle. Consider these proven tactics to complement your efforts:

1. Direct mail

It may seem like a step back in time, but direct mail can be a highly effective tactic—especially since so many marketers have diverted their budgets to digital efforts. In a recent foodservice campaign where we leveraged email, direct mail, and high-impact print and digital media placements, our best performer (by far) was direct mail.

2. Events

In today’s digital age, personal connections can go a long way toward building relationships. Consider hosting a lunch-and-learn to address a customer pain point, or sponsoring special events at your key industry conferences.

3. Webinars

Beyond your products, you likely have all kinds of valuable information to share with potential customers such as trend research, recipe ideas and preparation tips. Webinars are like making a virtual sales call to a highly engaged “room” of customers.

4. Social media

With the right strategy and platforms, social media can be a powerful way to connect with your customers. The key is having compelling content to drive to, such as a blog or recipe collection. But even without those, there are easy ways to dip your toes in the water and begin building a social presence. One example: follow industry leaders on Twitter and retweet content while adding your own point of view.

5. Promotions

Looking to drive trial or ramp up sales quickly? Coupons, free samples, rebates and sweepstakes are all ways that you can lower the barrier for prospective customers—and potentially convert them into long-term users.

Looking for new ways to engage your customers? We’d love to talk! Contact anita@infoodmktg.com.

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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 cake can be used as the base, and the filling can be a frosting, preserve, chocolate or simply eliminated. The molds can be prepared and frozen a week ahead, leaving just the meringue step for serving day!

Makes 8 individual servings.

You will need

• 1 qt. Cedar Crest® Black Cherry Ice Cream

• 1 recipe Almond Cloud Cake

• 1 recipe Frangipane Filling

• 1 recipe Meringue

• 8 – 3” prep bowls or custard cups

• Cooking torch


Almond Cloud Cake

• 2¼ cups cake flour

• 1 Tbsp. baking powder

• ½ tsp salt

• 1¼ cups buttermilk

• 4 large egg whites

• 11/2 cups sugar

• 8 Tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature

• 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

• 1/2 tsp. almond extract

Frangipane filling

• 3/4 cup (about 7 ounces) almond paste (not marzipan)

• 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened

• 1/4 cup granulated sugar

• 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

• 1/4 tsp. almond extract

• 1 egg

• 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

• 1/4 tsp. salt


• 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar

• 4 egg whites

• 1/2 cup sugar


Frangipane filling

Can be made ahead and kept in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the almond paste until it is crumbly. Add the butter, sugar, vanilla and almond extracts, egg, flour and salt, and continue to pulse until the mixture is combined and smooth. Cover tightly and refrigerate until needed.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9”x13” pan parchment paper.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk together the milk and egg whites in a medium bowl. Combine the sugar and the butter and beat at medium speed for a full 3 minutes, until very light. Beat in the extracts, then add one third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed. Beat in half of the milk-egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated. Add the rest of the milk and eggs, beating until the batter is homogeneous, then add the last of the dry ingredients. Finally, give the batter a good 2-minute beating to ensure that it is thoroughly-mixed and well-aerated. Divide the batter between the pans and smooth the tops with a spatula.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the cakes are well risen and springy to the touch. Cool completely.


1. Line 8 – 3” prep bowls or custard cups with plastic wrap, allowing excess to hang over rim of bowl. Pack ice cream into each cup, flush and smooth to the top.

2. Using a round cutter or knife (using prep bowls or custard cup as guide), cut out 8  – 3” rounds of cake. (Note: scraps of cake can be frozen and later layered with whipped cream and fruit for an easy dessert!)

3. Spread a ¼” layer of almond filling on each cake round. Place each cake round on top of ice cream bowls, filling side to ice cream.

4. Wrap each ice cream/cake bowl in plastic wrap and freeze for at least 4 hours or up to 1 week.

5. Prepare meringue: Place cream of tartar and egg whites in a large bowl; beat on medium speed of a hand mixer until soft peaks form, about 1 minute. Add sugar, and beat until stiff but not dry peaks form, about 2 minutes.

6. Remove ice cream/cake cups from freezer and unmold. Place, cake side down, on a parchment lined bake pan (if using oven) or individual plates (if using torch).

7. With a spatula, cover each mold with meringue, creating peaks and swirls.

8. Torch: using a cooking torch, brown meringue.

Oven: preheat oven to 450ºF. Bake until meringue turns golden, about 5 minutes.

9. Serve immediately!

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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 and $4.00
  • 3-3.5 oz.


Taste and appearance

We all agreed that Ghirardelli had an intense chocolatey flavor but was the most bitter of the brands we tested. The bar didn’t melt quite as smoothly as we’d like, some noting an almost grainy texture.


Ghirardelli’s stately package design paired with a matte-finish wrapper and subtle use of gold foil give it a premium feel. We like the large, bold callout of the cacao percentage for easy shopping. The recognizable blue logo really pops off the dark chocolate background for clear brand recognition.


$3.29 (3.5 oz) = $0.94/oz


Taste and appearance

Of the bars tested, Chocolove 70% was the darkest in color and had the most shine. Our testers noted the more rich, complex flavor, a nice compliment to the smooth texture.


The all-black wrapper clearly identifies this chocolate as dark. We are fans of the very youthful “love letter” vibe we get from the stamp and foil seal motif. We only question the typewriter font Chocolove chose for its flavor callout. Though the typewriter style feels postal, we don’t love the distressed details of this particular font.


$2.99 (3.2 oz) = $0.93/oz


Taste and appearance

Expecting the typical bold chocolate flavor, we were pleasantly surprised by the addition of nutty notes in Godiva. The texture, however, didn’t have quite as smooth of a melt as we expected—some described it as almost waxy.


Godiva recently underwent a major package re-design, and we approve of the results. Most notably, we love the drool-worthy swoosh of chocolate running across the wrapper. With this bold element of taste-appeal and overall simple design, Godiva moved from classic to a much more modern, casual look.


$2.99 (3.1 oz) = $0.96/oz


Taste and appearance

The lightest in color and mildest in flavor of the brands we tested, Lindt received high marks from our milk chocolate lovers. Though the subtle flavor wasn’t off-putting, we would have liked a deeper flavor. But the velvety texture was favored all-around.


Lindt’s package design is clearly going for a very classic European feel. We like this direction for Lindt, but we’re getting a bit of a dated vibe here with the lighting effects in the imagery. Though the use of gold foil feels premium, we don’t get any sense of that high-quality taste-appeal in the chocolate representation.


$3.69 (3.5 oz) = $1.05/oz

The Results

So what dark chocolate will we be pairing with our wine this Valentine’s Day? Our overall consensus is that you couldn’t go wrong with any of these brands. But, if we had to pick just one, we’d go for the Chocolove. The specialty feel of the packaging is matched by the rich, smooth chocolate inside—a very giftable combination.

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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 products dressed in holiday style.

Day 12: Land O’Lakes Eggnog

Our Notes

We couldn’t wrap up our series on holiday food packaging without taking a look at this seasonal eggnog from Land O’Lakes. Most of this carton has taken on a creamy tan background with a very subtle speckled texture. A simple red and green illustration of a wreath encompasses the product name and decidedly brands the package for Christmas.

Overall Thoughts

Like a few other products we’ve looked at for this holiday series, Land O’Lakes took a very simple approach with their eggnog packaging. There’s no product photography on the front. But, the creamy, speckled background hints at the beverage inside that’s traditionally sprinkled with nutmeg. As the singular element of Christmas on the package, the wreath appears stylistically retro, a nod to the nostalgia associated with this holiday party drink. The simple package design may not have a major “wow” factor, but it sure got us in the holiday spirit.

Day 11: Angie’s Frosted Sugar Cookie Boom Chicka Pop

Our Notes

Here at IN, we have a soft spot for Angie’s, both for their popcorn and for their branding. Looking at just the layout of this holiday-edition bag, not much has changed from the standard packaging. Snowflakes have been added in a simple line at the top of the bag, and the logo has been transformed into a Christmas ornament. Known for their brightly-colored bags, Angie’s made the switch to metallic for their Holidrizzle packaging.

Overall Thoughts

Our eyes lit up like kids at Christmas when we saw the display of Angie’s Holidrizzle Boom Chicka Pop. Though the layout of this holiday-edition bag hasn’t changed much from the standard packaging, Angie’s has certainly made a festive impact with a simple switch to metallic for their Holidrizzle bags. Not only does this make the bags eye-catching among the other snacks on the shelves, but the metallic finish feels premium and special, a perfect fit for the  Frosted Sugar Cookie Kettle Corn inside.

Day 10: Coffeemate Peppermint Mocha Creamer

Our Notes

The seasonal line of Coffeemate creamer received a wintry packaging makeover with a flurry of snowflakes falling in the background. For this Peppermint Mocha variety, a candy cane striped mug topped with decadent chocolate frosting and peppermint candy rests in the snowy white landscape to indicate the flavor inside.

Overall Thoughts

Though this packaging doesn’t scream “Christmas” or even “holiday”, its seasonal look can’t be missed in the snow and decadent drink displayed on the label. With this subtle approach, Coffeemate proves that not all limited-edition packaging needs to have an excess of bells and whistles to exude holiday spirit. Instead, their approach to seasonal packaging leverages their signature look to maintain brand recognition with just a taste of winter wonderland.

Day 9: Hershey’s Candy Cane Bar

Our Notes

Hershey’s didn’t stray too far from its iconic simple packaging with their holiday edition Candy Cane bar. The wrapper features a clean, white design with candy cane stripes on both ends to indicate the bar’s peppermint flavor.

Overall Thoughts

Peppermint-flavored everything is everywhere during the holiday season. How is a brand supposed to stand out in all of that minty madness? Hershey’s took the “don’t reinvent the wheel” approach, and we think they made the right choice. By retaining their classic look with the simple addition of candy cane stripes, Hershey’s leveraged the strength of its brand to plow through the clutter.

Day 8: Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Covered Joe Joes

Our Notes

We couldn’t stay away from this seasonal treat from Trader Joe’s after hearing rave reviews from a couple of our team members. The box says “Christmas” at first glance with its 2-tone red striped design. It’s dressed up like a gift, as the design features a gold ribbon wrapping around the box. The badge-style logo even acts like a gift tag in a festive, ornamental shape.

Overall Thoughts

First thing’s first, we had to see if these cookies could live up to all of the hype. They definitely do, which posed a bit of a problem. The design has a holiday feel, but it doesn’t reflect the premium quality of the cookies inside. We think a gift-worthy product should have a gift-worthy presentation. Perhaps a cleaner, white design would better highlight the peppermint-y goodness of these decadent, yet refreshing cookies.

Day 7: Old Dutch Tiny Twists Holiday Pretzels

Our Notes

Nothing on this holiday packaging for Old Dutch Pretzels resembles the standard bag. The original blue and yellow design has been replaced by a cheery red and green argyle pattern, complete with snowflakes, and the once blue logo is now red to match. For a finishing touch, the square window has been exchanged for a wreath of holly and berries.

Overall Thoughts

Whether used for dipping in chocolate or stirring into snack mix, pretzels are a holiday snacking staple. So, adopting a festive package design for the season makes sense. But did Old Dutch go too far in this makeover? Though the Old Dutch logo is still recognizable and prominent, we see a fair amount of risk in the drastic departure from their standard bags. Until this holiday design becomes a brand standard in consumers’ minds, Old Dutch could be running the risk of getting lost in the snack aisle.

Day 6: Goldfish Grahams S’mores

Our Notes

This bag of Goldfish Grahams S’mores underwent the biggest holiday makeover of the packages we’ve seen so far. The background has changed to a blend of red to red-orange, and Finn the Goldfish’s camping hat has been replaced by a Santa hat. The blue that normally covers the package is now confined to just 2 ornaments in a snowy landscape. Though we didn’t notice it until we got back to the office, a third (very subtle) red ornament displays the Goldfish logo.

Overall Thoughts

We love to see changes to food packaging for the holidays, and it’s safe to say that kids do too. Perhaps that’s just enough reason to make this seasonal edition worthwhile. Our only complaint here is that the Grahams branding gets lost in all of the holiday cheer. Reducing the amount of blue on the bag makes it difficult to distinguish it amongst the rest of the Goldfish lineup.

Day 5: Trader Joe’s Decked Out Brittle

Our Notes

Another Trader Joe’s find, this Decked Out Brittle is a bit more seasonably dressed than the hot chocolate we found a few days ago. The packaging features some familiar brand assets with an elegant holiday twist. Plus, designed as a hinged-top style box, the product feels giftable. We also noted the “punny” name is an accurate description for this festive brittle filled with nuts, seeds and berries.

Overall Thoughts

The exterior design of this package is simple and elegant—a good amount of holiday style. When we opened up the box we were a little disappointed by the rest of the product experience. Don’t get us wrong—the product itself is tasty. But the box feels very standard, and the interior packaging is just a lack-luster, heavy-duty plastic bag of brittle. We think Trader Joe’s could have decked this packaging out more to align with the perceived value of the product inside. Since this seasonal treat is made with high-quality ingredients, presenting it in a heavier weighted, more substantial box with a tray instead of a bag would be a better fit.

Day 4: Milano Cookies

Our Notes

The festive packaging for Milano cookies couldn’t be ignored as we wandered down the snack aisle. The cookies inside the bag are familiar, but Christmas red replaces the standard purple top of the bag, and trees made of snowflakes line the now-snowy horizon. Snowflakes also fall down the side of the package to continue the seasonal feel.

Overall Thoughts

It’s safe to say cookies are the unofficial dessert of Christmas as they seem to show up in droves throughout the season. To make sure their cookies aren’t forgotten behind grandma’s gingerbread, Pepperidge Farm dressed up its Milanos in holiday cheer. The change makes an already elegant cookie feel more special and jump right into the shopping cart. Santa won’t mind a Milano or 2 mixed into that plate of sugar cookies, right?

Day 3: Trader Joes Peppermint Hot Chocolate

Our Notes

We found this tin of Peppermint Hot Chocolate hiding amongst other holiday goodies in one of the many seasonal displays at Trader Joe’s. Though the design doesn’t exactly exude holiday spirit, the badge-style logo combined with the tin container feels very giftable. Plus, its contents definitely give it a limited-time status.

Overall Thoughts

This product didn’t pop off the shelf for being decked out in candy canes or Christmas trees. Rather, it stood out for its simplicity. The badge-style logo and tin packaging elevate it to feel special, perfect for a little stocking stuffer. Maybe it will even make an appearance at this year’s IN Secret Santa gift exchange.

Day 2: Kemps Skim Milk

Our Notes

While browsing the dairy aisle for the traditional eggnog and festive creamers, we were surprised to stumble upon Christmas packaging in the milk section. Milk is such a staple item that you might not even notice the label change if you’re not looking for it. Here, the grassy fields are replaced by snow, and the Kemps cow is adorned in Santa garb and holding a sign that reads, “Official milk of Santa”.

Overall Thoughts

Because shoppers are accustomed to milk’s color-coding system, a jug of milk has very little flexibility to dress up for Christmas. Kemps had a small window of opportunity and really milked it for all it’s worth by taking ownership as the official milk of Santa. Adding Santa may not have a big impact on holiday sales for this staple grocery item, but it does succeed in making a relevant connection with shoppers.

Day 1: Ritz Crackers


Our Notes

At a quick glance, Ritz doesn’t stand out for its limited edition seasonal packaging. Instead, a snowflake-themed box maintains the iconic Ritz Red that we see year-round. We also noted that snowflakes read as “seasonal” rather than “holiday” or “Christmas”.

Overall Thoughts

Retaining the Ritz Red as the core asset ensures familiarity with brand loyalists. Buyers know what they can expect with the bonus of a festive-shaped, entertaining-worthy cracker. Plus, choosing snowflakes versus Santa extends the life of the packaging past Christmas and New Year’s, especially here in MinneSNOWta.

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Ditch-the-Can Green Bean Casserole


A fresh take on a holiday classic sure to impress the foodies at your table.



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 mushrooms, chopped
1/2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
2 cloves garlic, minced
Sea Salt
Ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. cayenne powder
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken broth
1 tsp. corn starch
1 cup Mountain High™ plain yogurt
1/2 cup whole milk
1tsp. honey
1/8 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 cup white cheddar cheese
1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed and blanched or frozen, thawed

Crunchy topping:

1/2 cup panko crumbs
1/8 cup grated Parmesan
1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
Bacon (from above)

Fried shallots:

3 medium shallots, sliced and separated into thin rounds
1/2 cup all-purpose flour or corn meal
Vegetable oil, for shallow frying


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Fry bacon to crispy in skillet on medium heat. Discard excess fat.
  3. Add the butter and oil to the pan. When butter is melted, add the mushrooms, onion and shallots. Cook so the mushrooms begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the thyme and garlic, and continue cooking the mushrooms until brown on the edges. Season with the salt, pepper and cayenne. Cook 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Dust the mushrooms with the flour. Whisk to incorporate the flour and gradually add in the chicken stock.
  5. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat and add the yogurt and milk. Stir gently and cook over low heat until gravy thickens, 5 to 6 minutes.
  6. Add the cheddar cheese and 1/8 cup of the Parmesan, stir until melted.
  7. Add the blanched green beans to the pan and fold together so everything is mixed well.
  8. Spread out evenly in a greased baking dish. Finish with crunchy topping (below).

Crunchy topping:

  1. Mix together crumbled bacon, remaining Parmesan cheese, panko crumbs and thyme. Season with salt & pepper.
  2. Bake until the casserole is bubbly throughout, about 20-25 minutes.

Fried shallots:

  1. While the beans are baking, pour the vegetable oil into a deep skillet and heat to 350°F.
  2. Pour the flour or corn meal into a Ziploc bag and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss the shallot rounds in the seasoned flour, and shake off any excess.
  3. Fry the shallots in the hot oil in small batches until golden brown, 2-4 minutes.
  4. Drain on paper towels and season with salt while still hot. Top the green bean casserole with the fried shallots and serve.

Recipe inspired by Guy Fieri

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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 like identifying your target audience and overall budget, these are the 5 things we look for:

1 • Background/objective

It seems simple, but oftentimes marketers don’t have a compelling “why” driving the campaign. Are sales declining? Is a competitor gaining ground? Is there a compelling market opportunity you’ve uncovered? The more we understand why we’re developing the campaign and what we’re trying to achieve, the better our work will be.

2 • Singular key message

This may be the most challenging of all, but the most effective creative comes down to communicating one message — and doing it really well. Think about it this way, if you had only five seconds to explain your product to a prospective customer, what would you say? The message can also drive the medium, so it’s best if the tactics aren’t predetermined prior to the briefing.

3 • Message hierarchy

Outside of a digital banner ad, there’s usually space for supporting messages. Understanding the priority of those messages helps us craft the most effective copy.  

4 • Creative mandatories

If you need 12 brand logos, 6 ingredient decks and 4 nutritional labels, we can make it happen! It will just be a lot less painful for both of us if we can plan for it up front (and that holds true even if it’s just one of each).

5 • Desired outcome

What do you want the creative to do? Build awareness, drive click-through, encourage trial or all of the above? By beginning with the end in mind, we can develop creative solutions that are much more effective. For example, if we know the entire goal of a campaign is to generate trial, that will shape everything — from the message to the medium.

ONE FINAL TIP • Some of our most effective briefing sessions have been a collaborative effort with our clients, so don’t think you need to go it alone. Just contact anita@infoodmktg.com and we’d be happy to help.

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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.



Taste and appearance: Heinz offered a robust, herbal flavor. The light color was appealing, but the chunks of turkey were a bit questionable. Overall thoughts? Decent, but not great.

Packaging: While the red label feels warm and homey, the photography is generic and unappetizing we would like to see Heinz take a more modern approach to their photography for a fresher appeal.

Price: $0.18/oz.



Taste and appearance: Of the three, Swanson was well-seasoned and had the best turkey flavor. Its light, smooth texture looked the most authentic and appetizing.

Packaging: We love the fresh photography and bold typeface that Swanson uses to set itself apart from the competition. The simple white background allows the product to take center stage. We’re also in favor of the easy-to-store box design.

Price: $0.15/oz.swanson2

Our Family

Taste and appearance: Our Family’s artificial taste and lack of saltiness did not sit well with our testers. The dark color and chunks were also a turnoff.

Packaging: Our Family’s packaging fell as flat as the product inside. The overall dark tones of the label and photography paired with dated fonts gives this a very “you get what you pay for” vibe – and not in a good way.

Price: $0.11/oz.



 So, who gets the invite?

Swanson! The fresh, real-turkey flavor gives it a taste that competes with homemade. The texture is light and creamy and doesn’t have the polarizing meat pieces that we found in the competitions’. Go ahead and throw it in the cart this holiday season – we won’t tell.


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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 tactic, no different from an email or ad campaign. Yet many marketers are vigilant about setting objectives and success metrics for other tactics, but invest thousands of dollars in trade shows with no specific goals or follow-up plan. Prior to the show, determine what outcomes you’re hoping to achieve, and make sure to align your resources accordingly.

2. Less is more messaging

On average, you have about 3 seconds to capture an attendee’s interest. Be concise with your messaging to ensure they can quickly surmise your unique offerings and value proposition.

3. Be relevant

By adopting a “one-size-fits-all” approach to food shows, you’re missing an opportunity to tailor your messaging to each audience. For example, the needs of a K-12 operator are much different than a pizzeria owner. Demonstrate that you understand their challenges by engaging them with channel-specific language.

4. Make food appetizing

If you’re sampling food or using it as part of your display, make sure it’s delicious and appetizing. Attendees have the opportunity to taste a lot of items at food shows – and they’re judicious about which ones to choose. Make sure they don’t pass yours by.

5. Be approachable

Your booth staff is representing your brand to attendees, so make sure you’re choosing your most friendly, engaging team members. Avoid overstaffing your booth to ensure attendees feel welcomed but not ambushed.

What have been your tips for success at food shows? We’d love to hear from you. If you need help with your next trade show, contact anita@infoodmktg.com.

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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 sauce and a dollop of fresh whipped cream
  • A scoop of coffee gelato, drizzled with sea salt caramel sauce and sprinkled with cashews
  • Dark cherry ice cream, fudge sauce and pistachios

Share your favorite idea with us! Let us know on Twitter or Instagram @INFoodMktg.

S’more Brownie Cheesecake Skillets

Yield: 6 (3.5”) skillets


1 cup graham crackers, crushed

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup milk chocolate chips or toffee bits

1 1/2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped

2 large eggs

1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp. all-purpose flour, divided use

1 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt


Vanilla Bean Cheesecake (cubed) recipe follows

Hot fudge sauce

Graham cracker crumbs

Marshmallow crème

Alternate Topping Ideas:

Turtle Brownie Skillet

Caramel Sauce

Hot Fudge Sauce

Toasted Pecans, chopped


Preheat the oven to 350ºF. In a small bowl, mix together graham cracker crumbs and 1/4 cup melted butter.

Place a heaping tablespoon of crumbs in each skillet and loosely spread out.

In a large bowl over simmering water, melt butter, 4 oz. of chocolate chips, and unsweetened chocolate until smooth. Set aside and let cool for about 15 minutes.

In a large bowl, stir together the eggs, vanilla and sugar. Stir the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture until well combined. In a medium bowl, sift together 1/4 cup of flour, baking powder and salt and add to the chocolate mixture, stirring until just combined.

In a medium bowl, toss together the remaining 1 cup of chocolate chips or toffee bits and 1 tbsp. of flour and fold them into the chocolate mixture. Divide batter into twelve 3-1/2 inch cast iron skillets and place them on a baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes, taking care not to over bake.

Top with Vanilla Bean Cheesecake (recipe follows) chunks. Drizzle with hot fudge. Sprinkle with remaining graham cracker crumbs. Garnish with a dollop of marshmallow crème. For a toasty finish, torch the marshmallow crème!

Note: Cheesecake can be substituted with ice cream.

Basic Vanilla Bean Cheesecake (crust-less)

Yield: 1 – 8”x8” pan


2 (8 oz.) packs Philadelphia brand cream cheese, softened

1 (14 oz.) can EAGLE BRAND® Sweetened Condensed Milk

1/8 cup flour

2 eggs

2 tsp. vanilla bean paste or 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Line 8”x8” cake pan with aluminum foil, so that batter will not leak through.

In large bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually beat in sweetened condensed milk until smooth. Add vanilla and flour, mix well. Add eggs one at a time until incorporated, do not over mix.

Bake 30-35 minutes or until center is set. Remove from oven. Allow to cool and then refrigerate. Once chilled, cheesecake can be placed in freezer for a few hours to make cutting easier. Lift foil and cheesecake out of pan. Cut into 1/2” cubes.

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