SodaStream and Applebee’s head Fast Company’s 2013 rankings of “The World’s 10 Most Innovative Companies in Food.”
The food-company ranking is among 24 industry/market-sector rankings this year, in addition to Fast Company’s overall “World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies” ranking. According to the magazine, its editorial team spends months each year gathering and analyzing corporate data to produce the rankings.
Here are the companies that made the food-company rankings and highlights of Fast Company’s reasons for selecting them:
1. SodaStream: For “making DIY carbonation sexy.” This Israeli company’s seltzer- and soda-makers are carried by 60,000 retailers in 45 countries, and it sold 3.5 billion cans of its flavorings in the past year, reports FC. And while it’s in only about 1% of U.S. homes, it’s on the move -- partnering with familiar companies/brands like Kraft (for Crystal Light flavors), producing single-serve capsules, offering a sleek machine redesign, and securing distribution in retailers ranging from Walmart to Williams-Sonoma.
2. Applebee’s: For using a sense of humor to drive two years of same-store growth (its 2012 “See You Tomorrow” campaign starring “Saturday Night Live”’s Jason Sudeikis). Applebee’s brand revitalization strategy also included selling off most of its company-owned stores, in favor of a 99%-franchisee model, points out FC.
3. Stonyfield Farm: For making its supply chain more sustainable, and more profitable. FC lauds Stonyfield for introducing eco-friendly innovations in transportation, lightweight packaging and waste reduction –- and then helping its suppliers do the same.
4. BrightFarms: For slashing the distance from farm to market by building farms on grocers’ rooftops. A new rooftop farm in Brooklyn, set to open this spring, will be the world’s largest (producing 1 million pounds of produce annually), reports FC.
5. KindSnacks: For showing that “performance foods” don’t have to be “processed and weird,” and in doing so, doubling 2012 revenue to more than $125 million. Last year, sales of its fruit-and-nut bars line (in Starbucks since 2009) jumped more than 100%, two new lines “took off,” and it launched an innovative “Do The Kind Thing” charitable program, notes FC.
6. Lyfe Kitchen: For employing fast-food industry “secrets” to sell healthy food on a mass-market scale. Lyfe’s team of former McDonald’s execs, along with executive chef Art Smith, have employed their supply-chain know-how and “street cred” to prove that foods like brussels sprouts and “unfried” chicken can be a formula for fast-casual success, FC declares.
7. BluePrint Cleanse: For leading the way in packaging and branding of the cold-pressed juice trend. After the juices succeeded in Whole Foods, and revenues grew by 100% (to $20 million), the company was acquired by Hain Celestial Group.
8. Bon Appetit Management Co.: For creating tools that give nutrition information about the catering company’s from-scratch meals. “Today, the 135 million meals it serves each year at colleges and corporations (including Google, Twitter, Starbucks, and Target) serve cage-free eggs, antibiotic-free meats, sustainable-only seafood -- and bring in about $700 million annually,” FC reports.
9. Copilot Labs: For letting restaurants measure the success of their social media strategies with software that helps them “draw a direct line between a new marketing strategy and its results and hold marketing companies to account,” according to the magazine.
10. ScanAvert: For putting allergy information into a simple barcode scan, helping millions of Americans to avoid dangerous reactions.