From the Hive

Fireside Chat with McKenzie Hall Jones

McKenzie Hall Jones recently joined Wild Hive (read the full release here), so we thought it would be a good idea to sit down for a little chat so you can learn a little more about what she’s all about.

Where do you get your inspiration from when developing a recipe for a client?

I love to “read” cookbooks and magazines; Instagram and Pinterest are brimming with beautiful inspiration; and often my recipes are inspired from foods and flavors that I’m simply craving. A lot of my favorite recipes are often variations on dishes I already love!

What would be your dream foodie adventure?  

I’d absolutely love to go on a road trip so I could taste my way through Italy. The thought of a weekly menu consisting of pasta, pizza, gelato, and wine sounds pretty blissful. Greece is also on my bucket list since I love all the flavors of Mediterranean cuisine.

What is your nutrition mission statement?

To me, eating well certainly does not equate to perfection. Some days, you might eat too much and some days you might eat too little and some days you might have a piece of chocolate cake with a heaping scoop of ice cream just because the occasion calls for it!

As a fairly recent newly-wed (to a fire fighter no less!), how have your eating habits changed as a couple?

It’s definitely made me better at meal prep and planning at the beginning of the week! Now that I’m cooking for two, meal planning and shopping in advance has been so helpful in preventing either of us from getting overly hungry at night. I’m also challenging myself a bit more to get outside of my comfort zone in the kitchen and try recipes I might not otherwise think to make. And while I’ve always been a big advocate of leftovers, my leftover appreciation has gone to a whole new level. I usually make big portions for dinner, which helps a lot! Cook once, eat twice!

What food/nutrition/wellness trends are you seeing that you’re excited about?

For starters, I truly love the growing interest of food and nutrition in general.  When I meet someone for the first time and share with them what I do, it often seems to open the gateway of a game to 20 questions. I hear questions about what foods to eat, how I eat, what the latest nutrition science is, etc. I love that people feel comfortable enough to ask these kinds of questions; conversations like this only seem to emphasize that food is our common ground, it helps bring people together, and it’s something that I love. From a more specific standpoint,  I love seeing the emphasize on plant-based diets and the increased interest in connecting to where our food comes from (I love farmers!). I also get a little bit overly excited about research surrounding the gut-brain connection.

As a Canadian-native living in Los Angeles, what do you miss most about Alberta?

Of course I miss the people, but I also miss that big blue Alberta sky, the really, really late summer nights, and having a white Christmas. I also love to ice skate and truly miss all the enthusiasm of hockey lovers around me, too!

A few other fun facts about McKenzie:

  • I love to travel. My favorite place I’ve been to is Austria; when I graduated from college, I backpacked with three girlfriends for 5 weeks in Central America and ate gallo pinto almost every day (and never got sick of it); and on my honeymoon, my husband and I explored Peru and went to Machu Picchu
  • I can still (kind of) tap dance!
  • I could still probably recite the entire movie “Grease” from start to finish 🙂

The Convincing Power of Culture: Why Culture Matters and How We’re Bringing it to Life for the National Mango Board

There was a time when all you needed was a bullhorn and a message. We are no longer living in that time. Everyone has a bullhorn and a message—or 50 bullhorns and 500 messages. There is a lot of noise.

We began to notice this with our clients several years ago. Our basic messages seemed to be falling flat.

“Oh, you’re the first product that does X? Ho-hum.”

Stand alone nutrition claims weren’t that exciting any more. “You’re high in vitamin Y? Cool. So are 200 other foods.”

The reason? Our audiences were becoming more educated, entertained, and distracted than ever before. Their bar was higher than our clients’ messages. We knew we needed to change the way we were doing things. So, instead of being message machines, we became storytellers. And we found that when it comes to food, culture is one of the most compelling facets of a story. Culture is intriguing. Culture is romantic. Culture is adventurous. Culture brings people inside around the fire—away from the noise—so you can really talk about what makes you meaningful.

Three years ago, we embarked on an exciting culture-centric quest with one of our long-standing clients, the National Mango Board. We wanted to deepen the story we were telling by tapping into mango’s rich and interesting heritage—where and how it’s grown and it’s significance to the cultures and cuisines of its native lands. We wanted to dig into and share the culture of mango. We wanted to share mango love.

Fortunately, our clients were on board. They were willing to take a risk and try a new way of packaging their information if it meant we’d be more compelling and could break through the information clutter.

We assembled a top-notch team of artists who understand food, anthropology, and culture to produce eye catching content, including award winning food photographer, Jody Horton, artist and graphic designer, Blair Richardson, and video mastermind Chris Corona.

We turned on our research brains and interviewed farmers, agronomists, food historians, food writers, dietitians, chefs, and every day people.

And we went to some amazing places to document mangos in their native places.

This work first took us to Martex Farms, a stunning and innovative family-owned mango farm on the Southern side of Puerto Rico. We spent time with members of the Marti family, learning about the significance of mangos to their way of life and how they’ve dedicated themselves to being a world-renown producer of mangos.

And earlier this year, we travelled to Mexico City, touring markets, traversing streets, and interviewing chefs, market and street food vendors, experts in Mexican cuisine and food history, locals, and cooking school instructors to learn why Mexican’s are just so deeply passionate about mangos.

It’s been thrilling to watch this material come to life through our “Share. Mango. Love.” campaign and to hear how much it is resonating with influencers and consumers. It is definitely striking a chord. People want to hear stories, they want to be romanced, they want to connect, they want meaning—culture does all of this. They are captivated by culture. And at the end of the day, we are in the business of captivating and inspiring people to action.

You can take a peek at the Share. Mango. Love. work here and by following the National Mango Board on Facebook and Instagram. You can also check out how others are sharing their own mango love (and you can share yours, too!) by using the hash tag #sharemangolove on social media.

 

Wild hive adds McKenzie Hall Jones to growing food, agriculture, and lifestyle marketing practice

Wild Hive, an Austin-based marketing and consulting firm specializing in food, agriculture, and lifestyle brands, announced today the addition of McKenzie Hall Jones to its growing team of experts.

McKenzie serves as an integral member of Wild Hive, utilizing her social media expertise, food and nutrition knowledge, culinary and content development skills, and passion for communications to benefit the agency’s growing roster of clients, including the National Processed Raspberry Council, the Tri-Lamb Group, the National Mango Board, Maple Hill Creamery, the National Watermelon Promotion Board, the a2 Milk Company, Cadena Bio, and Woom Bikes.

“We are laser-focused on hiring extraordinary people — the quality of our work is directly related to the quality of the individuals on our team. McKenzie is a prime example of this. She is a well-respected health professional and communicator and a forward thinker in the world of culinary nutrition and social media,” said Allison Beadle, CEO and Founder of Wild Hive. “McKenzie brings a unique mix of expertise, and because of her success as a blogger and writer, she has top-notch influencer relationships. Plus, she’s an absolute joy to work with.”

Prior to joining Wild Hive, McKenzie co-founded Nourish RDs, where she consulted with agricultural boards, food companies, and other health professionals to provide an array of nutrition marketing and public relations services, including social media strategy and management, spokesperson and media outreach, recipe development, consumer-friendly and evidence-based blogs and articles, public speaking and workshops.

“We are in the midst of a food paradigm shift, which means you have to think and be different in order to effectively reach consumers and influencers,” said McKenzie. “Wild Hive gets this better than anyone else and is doing such exciting and innovative work. I’m thrilled to join the team.”

McKenzie was previously a contributing editor for Environmental Nutrition, and her recipes and nutrition advice have been featured in publications such as The Chicago Tribune, Today’s DietitianSELF Magazine, Men’s Fitness, Men’s Health, Livestrong.com, and Huffington Post.

A magna cum laude graduate of California Polytechnic State University’s Nutrition program, McKenzie completed her dietetic internship at Bastyr University in Seattle. She is a native of Alberta, Canada, and resides in Los Angeles, California with her husband, Evan.

 

Why Folks are Moving Beyond the Dietary Guidelines—Eating Well Shouldn’t be This Hard

 

They’re out. People are talking about them. But do consumers really care?

Roughly 30 hours have passed since the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans were released and Google is now pulling up over a million articles that have been written about them. Just thinking about the volume of media makes my brain hurt. And then when I try to actually navigate the Dietary Guidelines interactive document, my brain hurts even more.

But kudos to the USDA and DHHS for taking a broader view by focusing on dietary patterns and moving away from nutrients. We need more of this. We eat foods (not nutrients) in patterns that vary considerably between individuals, cultures, life stages, etc.

Here’s my rub with the Dietary Guidelines: they come across as being complicated.

I have been thinking a lot about “complication” with regards to marketing, and specifically food marketing. It’s a problem. We are dishing out way too much information. We know that attention spans are shorter than ever (don’t worry, I’m already working on trying to wrap up this blog post).

We—food marketers, health professionals, influencers, the media, policy makers, etc.—need to simplify. Edit. Pare down the details. Get to what matters. And inspire. Because let’s face it, nutrition often isn’t an inspiring topic, but food IS.

There are millions of articles being written about the Dietary Guidelines and they have a fancy interactive site. But at the end of the day, do consumers—eaters—ultimately care?

I don’t think they do.

Consumers have moved on. They are tired of the debate. They’re taking the matter into their own hands—making individual decisions about what “healthy” means to them. Consumers are defining “healthy” in a very simple way: back to the basics with an emphasis on quality—whole foods, short ingredients lists, foods with a story that can be understood and embraced.

So let’s meet them where they are—it’s not a bad place! It’s where common sense, enjoyment, and sensibility peacefully coexist.

We’ll be talking about simplicity and what it means for food marketers a good bit more over the coming weeks. Stay tuned!

Allison Beadle

Allison’s marketing career began as a registered dietitian working in oncology. You read that correctly. Working in the clinical world gave Allison a heart for people and the role of food in healing, but after a couple of years, it was time for a change. So, she made the leap to the food industry where she worked in marketing and managed nutrition communications for the Central Market division of the H.E.B. Grocery Company. She was blessed to work with some of the most remarkable, interesting, and intelligent people in her career.  It was here that she found her passion for food storytelling and marketing.  She found that her background in nutrition science, love of food, fascination with culture and travel, innate desire to continually connect with others, and expressive nature were a good mix for educating consumers, professionals, and industry members. And innovating.

As the president and CEO of Wild Hive, she does everything you might imagine she does.  Each day, she gets to work with awesome people, incredible clients, inspiring industries, innovative entrepreneurs intent on changing the world, and she travels a good bit.  And she’s grateful each and every day for the opportunity to build a business that thinks and acts differently and hopefully makes life better for everyone it comes in contact with.

Prior to launching Wild Hive, Allison was senior vice president for Fleishman-Hillard, Inc. where she counseled numerous brands and commodity organizations including Chobani Greek Yogurt, the California Raisin Marketing Board, Paramount Farms (Wonderful Pistachios), the Tri-Lamb Group, TexaSweet Citrus Marketing, the National Mango Board, Sunsweet, the California Table Grape Commission, the United States Potato Board, and the Texas Beef Council.

As a former retail dietitian, Allison has a special place in her heart for the trailblazing dietitians who are doing amazing things to educate consumers and transform the retail grocery industry.  To that end, she helped spearhead the launch of two game-changing initiatives focused on helping retail dietitians succeed: the Retail Dietitians Business Alliance (RDBA) and Fleishman-Hillard’s ‘What’s in Store.’

Allison holds a bachelor’s degree in nutrition science from Texas A&M University and a master’s degree in nutrition science from Boston University. A member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), she is past-chair of the Food and Culinary Professionals (FCP) Dietetic Practice Group (DPG) and is a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).

Allison is wife to Brian and mommy to Audrey (6 years) and Walker (3 years).  More than anything in the world, she loves traveling and exploring with her family…taking her kids along for exciting adventures to big cities, small towns, countrysides, islands, and everywhere in between.  She’s an eighth generation Texan.  And it’s never a dull moment in her world!

Brian Beadle

As Creative Director for Wild Hive, Brian combines nearly a decade of professional design experience with his passion for food, fitness, and healthy lifestyle. Along with overseeing brand development, graphic design, photograpy, and marketing, Brian provides strategic insight on trends analysis and forecasting for Wild Hive and our clients. In addition, he is responsible for implementing ongoing nutrition issues and media monitoring for several Wild Hive clients.

As the strategy lead for BeetElite, Brian worked with numerous national cycling media outlets, such as Peloton Magazine and Bicycling Magazine as well as negotiating sponsorships with professional cyclists. For the Retail Dietitians Business Alliance (RDBA), Brian was responsible for developing the organization’s logo and branding, which was incorporated into web design, newsletter design, and additional marketing materials.

Currently, Brian provides design direction, creative strategy, and media research & outreach for the National Processed Raspberry Council (NPRC) and WOOM Bikes USA, an innovative local Austin, Texas bicycle company.

Brian earned a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from Texas A&M University. Brian is an avid cyclist, musician, dad, foodie, and a registered landscape architect in the state of Texas.

Mary Kimbrough, RD

An award-winning food service professional and communicator, Mary has extensive knowledge and experience in operations, program development, implementation and training, in the realm of food, nutrition and culinary arts.

A producer of real solutions to her clients, Mary can tap into her trusted network of professionals in the culinary nutrition field to craft the ideal product or service for the project at hand. This active network is the culmination of a rich and varied career and her dedication to efficient problem solving. Mary is that exceptionally vital link between food and food manufacturers to recipe to plate on the table.

Mary’s expertise in the field helped her create a healthful dining concept, menu, and recipes for Royal Caribbean International Food and Beverage Departments’ new class of ships – Oasis of the Seas. The liner’s Solarium Bistro offers breakfast, lunch and dinner with a transparently healthful menu that allows the guests a choice when dining. Additional clients have included: American Heart Association, Amtrak, Giordano’s Pizza Sara Lee/Hillshire Farm, Custom Culinary, Quaker/PepsiCo, Welch’s, Puente Inc., Amtrak., Texas Beef Council, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Weight Watchers/Gilsa Dairy division.

In 2006 she created Food Roots LLC, a premier Texas culinary and agricultural tourism company offering unique health-focused Texas food and wine experiences through custom tours, cooking classes, and dining adventures.

Prior to establishing these enterprises, she was director of Nutrition and Hospitality Services for the University of Texas Southwestern University Hospitals. In this position, she was recognized for her vision and leadership in marrying the culinary arts to the science of nutrition in foodservice. Her masterful blend of healthcare nutrition and culinary excitement has earned Mary numerous accolades. In 1998, the International Food Manufacturers Association presented her its Silver Plate Award, and Restaurants & Institutions magazine named her food service department an IVY Award winner.
Mary’s numerous seminars, lectures and workshops focus on the message that nutritious food is also delicious food. In 2007, Mary was selected to present The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) Lenna Francis Cooper Memorial Lecture at AND’s Food and Nutrition Conference and Exposition (the second highest honor given to its members). She also has collaborated with The Culinary Institute of America Certified Master Chef Victor Gielisse in co-authoring In Good Taste: A Contemporary Approach to Cooking (Prentice Hall), a textbook-cookbook that joins culinarians and dietitians in the pursuit of nutritious, contemporary cooking.

Mary provides years of hands-on experience to professional organizations such as AND, mentioned above. She is a charter member and former chair of AND’s Food & Culinary Professionals Dietetic Practice Group, a past board member of Association for Healthcare Foodservice (AHF) and has served as Chair for the Dallas Chapters of Les Dames d`Escoffier and the American Institute for Wine and Food. She is a founding member of Foodways Texas, a current board member in addition to serving as their education committee co-chair.

Susan Hughes

A food industry veteran, Susan counts more than 20 years of experience, beginning in her home state of Wisconsin. She held a series of posts that focused on the promotion of the state’s famous dairy product, cheese, as spokesperson, major market retail promotion manager, national consumer communications director, and manager of training and special projects for Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.

The opportunity to serve as director of public relations for an agency specializing in foodservice and food ingredient channels brought Susan to San Francisco in 1990. Among her account responsibilities at Shore, Young & Tomi, Susan managed consumer, foodservice, and food ingredient programs and projects for a range of clients: Clear Springs Foods, British Columbia Farmed Salmon Institute, Kent SeaFarms, California Apricot Advisory Board, Washington Apple Commission, Del Monte, Dole Fruit & Nut, and Chef Francisco.

Susan went solo in 1994, working on her own and collaborating with other freelancers to form a virtual agency – with a primary focus on foodservice and food ingredient marketing. She also maintained a niche approach to consumer public relations for small California commodity boards. Clients she served for five or more years of her ten-year run as a consultant include: California Avocado Commission, Torani/R. Torre & Co., Clear Springs Foods, California Fresh Apricot Council, California Asparagus Commission, and Pomegranate Council.

Susan left the ranks of the self-employed in 2004 to join Edelman’s San Francisco office and head up the Almond Board of California foodservice and industrial marketing business. As senior vice president, Susan managed a food team, solicited and pitched numerous new business opportunities, won three new pieces of business, and collaborated with other offices in the Edelman network. The team’s client list included: Almond Board of California, Amphire Solutions, Black Angus Steakhouse, Nestle Beverage, Mushroom Council, PMI Stanley, and Wild Oats Markets.

Susan went back on her own in 2007. She served as interim marketing communications director for Torani (a leading beverage industry brand that manufactures and sells flavoring syrups, sauces and blended drink bases), managing four staff and playing a key role in annual planning as well as new product development and reformulation, including raspberry syrup. In addition, Susan launched a Spring/Summer beverage promotion that featured raspberry syrup and smoothie mix. She continued with Torani for another six months to launch an online product resource center for Torani’s sales team.

Other clients include: Christopher Ranch Garlic, FullBloom Baking Company (wholesale baking), Napa Technology WineStation (equipment), Pacific Northwest Canned Pears, Saag’s Specialty Meats, San Francisco Wholesale Produce Market, and Zespri Kiwifruit. Her current client roster includes: National Mango Board, Chilean Fresh Fruit Association, and SupHerb Farms.

Susan is a member of the Institute of Food Technologists, Research Chefs Association, Chefs Collaborative, San Francisco Professional Food Society, and International Foodservice Editorial Council. She holds a BS from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

David Burk

David is a successful entrepreneur, executive, culture creator, idea generator and technology strategist. Companies he has founded have garnered many awards for product, service, business, and culture excellence. As a result, he was named as one of the top 100 most inspirational graduates in the 75-year history of the UCLA Anderson School of Business.

David’s areas of specialty include mapping transformational technology solutions to business problems, strategic leadership for emerging technology groups, and translation of communications plans into supporting interactive campaigns.

David is a recognized leader, communicator, manager, and expert in emerging technologies and niche marketing. He has been retained to formulate the Internet, Web application, and digital strategies for entities such as the California Raisin Marketing Board, California Olive Committee, Autodesk, Salesforce.com, Visa, AT&T Interactive, Cisco Systems, John Muir Health, Hewlett Packard, Restoration Hardware, PeopleSoft, Jelly Belly Candy Company, 21st Century Insurance, and many others. David has also garnered recognition as governor-at-large for the American Association of Advertising Agencies, judging national interactive and advertising competitions, and managing many award-winning initiatives.

David’s career began in traditional advertising with Dailey and Associates Advertising (American Honda) and Young & Rubicam (Nissin Cup O’ Noodles). After receiving his MBA, he was founding marketing director for Wild Packets, the premier provider of software-based network troubleshooting tools. In 1995, he founded Clear Ink, one of the earliest interactive marketing firms, and grew it into a $150 million integrated marketing communications agency by 2000 with acquisition of a direct marketing agency and the recruitment of a foremost advertising creative director. In March 2009, he was elevated to chairman of Clear Ink and joined Fleishman-Hillard as leader of the firm’s West Coast Digital practice. After building that practice from scratch to a multimillion dollar endeavor, he founded The Electron Shop in 2013. The Electron Shop acts as an outsourced Chief Digital Officer for companies seeking new ways to grow using technology.

David earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in anthropology from Pomona College in Claremont, Calif., and a Master of Business Administration degree in general management from the UCLA Anderson School of Management.

Jeff Gross

Jeff is an accomplished researcher and analyst with more than 30 years experience fielding numerous B2B and B2C market research studies. He is the founding partner of Integra Marketing Research, which applies sound and proven marketing research principles, whether to tried and true study designs or to innovative methodologies to properly answer business questions.

Jeff founded and operated the full-service marketing research firm, Gross Marketing Research, for 27 years. Prior to Gross Marketing Research, he held positions in marketing research on the client side at The Pillsbury Company and Del Monte U.S.A., as well as on the supplier side at Edwin J. Gross, Inc. and Leo J. Shapiro & Associates.

He has conducted numerous market research studies for food industry clients including C&W Frozen Foods, Del Monte U.S.A, Discovery Foods, Farmhouse Foods, Golden Heritage Foods, Mariani Packaging Company, Nakano Foods, Nancy’s Specialty Foods, Henry’s Supper Shop, Otis Spunkmeyer, San Francisco French Bread Company, Culinary Brands, Taylor Farms, the American Lamb Board, the Tri-Lamb Group, the National Cattleman’s Beef Association, National Honey Board, and the National Mango Board.

Jeff received his B.A. in Economics and Psychology from Lake Forest College and his M.B.A. from Loyola University of Chicago. Jeff is a passionate outdoor enthusiast and resides in the Lake Tahoe area where he enjoys skiing and mountain biking.

McKenzie Hall, RDN

By combining her love of working with people, expertise in nutrition and health, and passion for food and cooking, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, McKenzie Hall Jones found her career sweet spot. Couple that with a knack for writing, insatiable curiosity, and boundless enthusiasm and you have a career that feels more like an adventure.

Prior to joining Wild Hive, McKenzie co-founded Nourish RDs, a successful nutrition communications company that consulted with agricultural boards, food companies, and other health professionals to provide an array of nutrition marketing and public relations services, including social media strategy and management, spokesperson and media outreach, recipe development, consumer-friendly and evidence-based blogs and articles, public speaking and workshops.

McKenzie has been a contributing editor for the award-winning publication Environmental Nutrition, and her numerous articles can be found in publications such as The Chicago Tribune, Today’s Dietitian, The Daily Press, The Morning Call, Buffalo News, and more. Her recipes and nutrition advice have also appeared in SELF Magazine, Men’s Fitness, Men’s Health, Livestrong.com, and Huffington Post.