The yearly Trend Award ceremony was only a few weeks away, and while the nominations had been announced, the winners were not yet finalized. The categories ranged from Best New Trend, Lifestyle Impact award, Best New Packaging Trend and the coveted Trend of the Year award.
The winners were determined based on a point-system split between a panel of judges and call-in votes from fans following the final interview panel. Those nominated are put through an interview which is televised for the voting audience. Here is a peak at the final day of interviews.
The stage was overly bright, which made it harder for nominees to see the studio audience but easier to focus on the judges. The nominees shifted in their seats as the panel of judges entered the stage and crossed to their seats while the audience cheered. Nominees were told that they would be judged in tandem interviews instead of separately this year. Many of the entrants had left already, having survived their cross examinations, and just two remained to convince the judges they deserved to win the Lifestyle Impact award. J
Judge No. 1 motioned to the audience for quiet and addressed the two nominees – Snack and Breakfast.
Judge No. 1: "Thank you for coming, we will try to make this as painless as possible", he said with a smile. "As you know, you will both be asked questions in three areas – your ties to health, consumer interest and government activity surrounding your specific trend. Let's start with government, shall we? Breakfast, why don't you begin – what has been the recent activity around government and, well...you?"
Breakfast: "Oh, well, the USDA and I go waaaayyy back. But most recently, the states of Illinois, Kentucky and Tennessee were selected to participate in the first year of a universal free meal service option under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which I am a part of. North Carolina is also considering a bill to establish statewide nutrition guidelines for food sold in schools, which of course I am sure I will benefit from."
Judge No. 3 gives a knowing look to the other two judges and proceeds.
Judge No. 3: "That does bode well for you, indeed. What about your relationship with the government, Snack?"
Snack shifts in his seat to stall while searching for the words. Looking to his shoes for the answers he begins.
Snack: "While I don't have the history that Breakfast has with the USDA, there are new bills on the table that mention me, and which I think I have a chance to shine if industry plays their cards right. For example, The Nevada Senate approved Senate Bill 230, which bans foods and beverages containing trans fats in vending machines and in school lunches of Nevada public and charter schools, except those provided through school lunch programs. We can really shine here, I think."
The three judges nodded while frowning at the same time as if to reluctantly acknowledge Snack's optimism.
Judge No. 2: "Are we to understand that your only interactions with government primarily involve the National School Lunch Program?"
Both nominees nodded.
Judge No. 2: "Let's move onto consumer interest.
Judge No. 1: "Yes, how do consumers feel about you both?"
Snack: "Packaged Facts reported that U.S. retail sales of packaged snacks grew to $64 billion in 2010, and it is expected to reach $77 billion by 2015. And Market Force Information reported that consumers prefer certain private-label products over others, including snacks. Also, researchers with the American Dietetic Association found that kids are replacing breakfast and dinner with snacks more often now. Busy lifestyles have driven consumers away from traditional meals toward quick, convenient foods, helping growth in the global snack foods market, according to Global Industry Analysts (GIA). GIA reported that the global snack food market is likely to be worth as much as $334bn by 2015."
Breakfast: "While Snack has excellent support, Mintel reported that 66 percent of customers want restaurants to give them healthier breakfast options, and Pinnacle Foods found that 94 percent of consumers start the day with breakfast and 56 percent make an effort to choose breakfast options they feel good about. Industry loves me, too, as QSR magazine says approximately 47 percent of all commercial foodservice units currently have at least some breakfast items. And don't forget the Kellogg study that reported 34 percent of adults eat breakfast daily."
Judge No. 1: "Very good, that leaves us with your ties to health. What do you have to offer regarding clinical research?"
*To be continued in The Battle between Breakfast and Snack - Part II"
Suzy Badaracco is a toxicologist, chef, and registered dietitian. She holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Criminalistics, an Associates degree in Culinary Arts, and a Masters of Science degree in Human Nutrition.