It's a bit of a golden era for the food business at the moment. Whereas in the past distribution remained relatively tight for what's ultimately a high barrier industry, the advent of retailers like Whole Foods and Trader Joe's has enabled new paths to the consumer -- and sparked a boom in innovation and new companies across the category as a result.
Add to it that the Internet enables an ancillary to the above and what you have is a new and exciting food revolution in an industry that hasn't really seen much new development and innovation, at least not to the scale and size of the moment.
It goes beyond the mass market retail store to the already existing small shops and boutiques carrying the same. Then it leaps further into the uptick of farmers' markets criss-crossing even the smallest of towns and cities in America, where artisan, small and newly created food companies can find a customer and ultimately sell products.
It's meant that the pickles we may eat or find at a dinner with friends aren't the traditional major food corporation brand, but a small start-up based out of Portland, or San Francisco or any city in the country. This goes for everything from peanut butter to pretzels and chips, lunch meat and virtually everything else.
What it means for today's consumer is a new era of choice. For some it's the readily accessible and available food items and brands that meet special dietary means. For others it is new access to gourmet, artisan, unique and one-of-a-kind brands and products that put new flavors and ideas into the market. For everyone, it can mean that instead of a large paragraph of ingredients that most could never begin to recognize or know, it's a few simple items. Justin's Nut Butters, for example, have two ingredients on the label -- peanuts, sustainably sourced oil.
While it does take time to find and get that same familiarity with brands, the newfound arena has opened up a fun exploration into what's available. These new brands aren't just able to experiment with flavors and get creative with ingredient combinations and ideas -- they're inspiring the industry as a whole to do the same as well. What's more is that it brings in a stylish and interesting element to the dinner table, parties, and home-cooked cuisine. Not to mention that many restaurants are now following suit - you'll find the same unique, upstart and independent new food startups and brands in some of the most luxurious restaurants in the world.
It's a very fun time in the market, whether you're a 'foodie' consumer or not. Not only that, ingredients are not just interesting, but often better for us and for the environment, other animals/wildlife and so much more.
To see this month's edition of Condiment and more unique, upstart and independent food, fashion, home and beauty brands, visit www.getcondiment.com