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

Ice Cream is Cooler Than Ever

A scoop of bright pink ice cream melts into candy sprinkles.

Ice Cream is Cooler Than Ever

Julia Rancone

It’s late summer, and there’s no better way to beat the heat than by reaching for a frozen treat. Despite healthy eating trends seemingly running the food show, Mintel reports indulgent frozen treats (namely ice cream), are doing well, save for frozen yogurt, sherbet, “other” ice cream (such as Italian ice), frozen custard, and ice{...}

When High Design Doesn’t Align

When High Design Doesn’t Align

Julia Rancone

Ultra recently wrote an article for The Dieline exploring the dichotomy of high design versus pragmatic design. It underscores how pragmatic design can play an essential role but feels, to many designers, like bad design because it isn’t on trend or lacks sophistication. The tension with this is its quick dismissal of design’s role to{...}

Cocktail Culture Goes Clean & Sober

Cocktail Culture Goes Clean & Sober

JoEllen M. Davis

Now is the moment of the mocktail. With both beer and soda sales down, non-alcoholic (N/A)  drinks have become not only more popular, but a business-leading corner of their own. This spike in popularity is driven by three trends: health and wellness, sensory experiences, and sober socializing.   Healthy Living & Elimination Diets “Health and{...}

Cuckoo for Coconuts

Cuckoo for Coconuts

JoEllen M. Davis

In 2011, bottled coconut water showed up on store shelves and set the world ablaze with a coconut craze. Each year at food shows and in the grocery aisles, we are amazed with the new and innovative coconut products coming out. While on a recent store audit, it seems coconut moved from ‘trend’ status to{...}

How Far Can Your Brand Stretch?

How Far Can Your Brand Stretch?

Julia Rancone

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How to Medal in Social Media

How to Medal in Social Media

JoEllen Davis

In preparation for the Olympic games in Rio, the IOC debuted a list of social media rules that have had brands both laughing and scrambling to participate in one of the year’s biggest social media phenomenons a “legal” way. The rules, which are exceedingly detailed, do not allow brands to: use the word Olympic, mention{...}