The Ubservatory Blog pondering the universe of food, design, and creativity

Ty and Julia stand in front of Amazon Go's sign

Experiencing Amazon Go

JoEllen M. Davis

Last Monday, Ty Tonander (VP, Brand Design at ULTRA) and Julia Hunter Rancone (Director of Creative Strategy) happened to be in Seattle for a client meeting – the same day that Amazon Go opened its first cashier-less, App-controlled grocery store to the public. The pair had an opportunity to visit the store, and tell us{...}

2016 Food Trends

Julia Rancone

As we do each year, Ultra set out to identify trends in the food world that are gaining traction in consumer packaged goods. We attended the Fancy Food Show and Expo West, combed through Mintel and The Innovation Group reports, listened to countless hours of podcasts from America’s Test Kitchen and Bon Appetit, and read{...}

Pro Bowler

Julia Rancone

Don’t let the title mislead you, I’m not talking about frames and strikes, but about people assembling and eating meals in a bowl. Yes, people eat their food in bowls every day – cereal, soup, ice cream to name a few – but this trend purposefully leverages bowl specific properties and forgets the plate altogether.{...}

Plant One On Me

Julia Rancone

Vegetables are getting a lot of love in the food world these days. The simple message by Michael Pollan{...}

Jerky…No Longer Dude Food

Julia Rancone

What do you get when consumer demand for high-protein snacks crosses paths with the desire for cleaner ingredient decks? You get a premium jerky craze, resulting in the fastest-growing category of the estimated $2 billion U.S. meat snacks category (source).{...}