About Kim Essex

Kim is a partner at Ketchum and directs the Food & Beverage Practice in North America. She loves all things food - from the farms it is grown or raised on to her favorite spot, her kitchen. She has helped food producers and food makers tell their stories for a better part of her 25-year career. She really should have been a scientist, and is grateful to food for filling her scientific curiosity – biology, sociology, political science, food technology, behavioral science, economics, oh my!

Author Archive | Kim Essex

What Was Trending in FMCG at Natural Products Expo West 2018

Our feet are screaming after covering more than one million square feet and 3,500+ exhibitors of natural food and lifestyle products at the Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, Calif., March 7 – 11.

But we lived to tell a few stories. Here’s what our Wellness and Cultivate teams collected along the way.

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Serving up Food, Visually

Smart food marketers have always known we eat with our eyes first. And nothing sabotages food marketing more than bad photography or low-quality video. Food shot poorly can flat-out ruin your appetite.

I’ve always been particularly proud of the visual work Ketchum does in food. The food we have photographed and filmed in our Food Studio in San Francisco is pure art. With only the sense of sight triggered, this work makes your mouth water and your stomach rumble. The power of suggestion is set. Maybe I should order that Flat Iron. Maybe I should try that recipe.

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Reflections on Women’s Leadership

Barri Rafferty & Kim Essex at the Women in Agribusiness Summit

In its fourth year, the Women in Agribusiness Summit draws women who have “shattered the ceiling” or plan to be knocking on it in the not too distant future. 

Barri Rafferty, Ketchum Senior Partner and CEO North America, joined me this year for the Summit in Minneapolis and presented her unique and compelling perspective on what it takes to succeed as a female leader in business.

Following the presentation, I had the opportunity to sit down with Barri to discuss the summit and drill down into a few of the points she discussed:

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Knowing Your ABCs on GMOs

What may have one time sounded like an obscure term plucked out of a scientific journal, genetically modified organisms –  also known as GMOs or biotech crops – has is a prominent topic in the mainstream media and in the halls of food companies. Discussion has focused on state initiatives that would require labeling food with genetically-modified ingredients — such as such as those that were defeated in California and Washington but passed in Connecticut and Maine — and company actions. You might recall last March when retail giant Whole Foods announced all products containing GMOs in its U.S. and Canadian stores would be labeled by 2018. This led to an announcement that the retailer would stop selling Chobani yogurt – months after the Greek yogurt manufacturer was targeted by an anti-GMO group for marketing its products as “natural” (activists felt this label was misleading because many of the cows that supply milk to Chobani eat grains that come from GM seeds). And just a couple of weeks ago General Mills announced its Original Cheerios (yellow box) will soon be made with all non-GM ingredients.

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