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June 3, 2017 / joyful plate

joyful plate SPRING Natural Products Expo West insights & news

Spring has sprung and the signs of change are everywhere.
These days, it seems every morning is a wake up call.
Amazing things can happen overnight so it’s time to embrace, engage and explore.
Natural Products Expo West-Anaheim
This March we made our annual journey to Expo West. First on the agenda: to hear the key note from Denise Morrison, CEO of Campbell’s. Years ago on the agency side I led the Campbell’s soup packaging design refresh, so I was curious to hear how one of America’s oldest food companies (148 years old, founded 1869) and most iconic brands would participate in a show becoming known for the new, stylish and breakthrough.

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February 17, 2017 / joyful plate

Fancy Food Show ~San Francisco Winter 2017 insights

As frenetic as Fancy Food can be, it is always a pleasure. Every year the bar is raised for innovation, creativity and fun. The show is a joy to attend, especially to get a taste of the good life- the West Coast in the winter.

To read the rest of the post, click here: joyful plate Winter Fancy Food insights.


September 3, 2016 / joyful plate

joyful plate creates 2010-2016

This spring, joyful plate enters its sixth year. We’ve been so fortunate to work with some of the best companies in the food and beverage business. We’ve helped established brands stay relevant with research and fresh positioning ideas and entrepreneurs jump start with strategy, naming and brand identity/pack design. We’re thrilled to share examples of our recent work and wish all of our client partners success as their big ideas become realities and beloved lifestyle communities. Thank you so much for your support, and for reading!
Michelle Lawton, President and founder-joyful plate LLC.


This summer, Barely Bread makes its debut to market with a premium line of 100%-grain  free breads, bagels, baguettes and rolls. Certified Gluten-Free, Paleo, Non-GMO, and Kosher, these breads are low in carbs, high in fiber, and high in protein, with no yeast, soy, preservatives or dairy. Full of flavor with a perfect crust and crumb, each slice, bagel, and roll performs as well as traditional bread for toasting, spreading and condiments. Barely Bread is made with almond and coconut flour, and will be found in the freezer/refrigerator
section. Here’s what our our client and founder Amanda Orso had to say in this month’s Vogue: Can Bread Be Good for You? Healthy Alternatives That Are Next-Level Delicious. InStyle is talking about it too: Gluten Free? You Need To Try This Bagel.
Please click here to read the rest of the blog:

joyful plate creates

April 26, 2016 / joyful plate

joyful plate brand insights Natural Products Expo West-March, 2016

I’ve been going to Expo West for nearly six years now, on a mission to find the next best brand in the natural space.  Coming from a big brand background, this show seemed altogether new and different in terms of its relaxed energy and personal touch. Today, Expo West has evolved into a branding extravaganza that the big companies no doubt want to play in or buy into.  Big food is becoming more transparent and relevant, and boutique food is branding better than ever- and consumers are the winners.
This year, instead of focusing on new brands on the fringe ….I thought it would be interesting to reflect on brands that were in their infancy a few back and have matured into brands that offer more uses and experiences today.Evolving a brand strategically takes courage and discipline. What does the brand stand for-beyond its introductory benefit? What new products will bring users to the franchise and not cannibalize the base business? Does the name and personality  have reach? Is your brand confident enough to go where consumers might not expect?
(for more information, please click on the brand title to websites)
Meze Dip
This is a really smart next brand move. I love to play in the kitchen with Greek yogurt, making dips with  Dijon mustard, honey, olive oil and more. So when I saw this line of Chobani Meze Dips in flavors like Three P epper Salsa and Chili Lime, it made all the sense in the world to me. For more  scoop, click here from PRNewswire: Chobani encourages yogurt consumption throughout the day.

To read the rest of the post, please click here: joyful plate visits Natural Products Expo West 2016.

Thank you!

August 3, 2015 / joyful plate

joyful plate fancy food show 2015

Let’s talk what it means to be fancy in food. The lines are blurring in food shows today-walking the Javitz Center I found myself mixing moods every few minutes -one bite of gourmet sardine rillettes and the next, a sip of raw nut milk. While functional foods are hot and now play in this space, for this piece I put on my fancy pants to relish in brands that honor their emotional side- food that stimulates with fantasy and fun. And while these products all taste wonderful, what makes food fancy is design that creates a world around the brand, with a look that captivates the imagination. Fancy Sangria & Gazpacho~Lolea! Hola Lolea! Recently imported from Spain to Miami by Bodega & Company, Lolea combines wine and fruit with refreshing frizzante flair. And doesn’t this polka dot package put you in the mood to party?! The design is so stylish and distinctive it can easily become the backdrop for your next summer soiree. Shop Casa Lolea to pick up a cheerful ice bucket or check out cool sangria cocktail recipes like “The Conquista de Granada”. Needless to say, I am in love with Lolea – Desde Siempre! Find it in a store near you in the East (FL, VA, MD and NY), in the West (So Cal and Hawaii) and in the MidWest (IL, MN, MI, IN, WI) . faddda95-05ce-4eab-a222-c68262124b39 to read more joyful plate fancy food show 2015 click here

August 3, 2015 / joyful plate

joyful plate gives: Thoughts on community work on the Upper West Side

Working on the Upper West Side of Manhattan these past five years has been a wonderful and dramatic change from the cubicle existence I was living for 20+ years. The first year I felt like an anthropologist, studying what people do during the day. I quickly learned that they are perfectly happy and productive doing all kinds of interesting and meaningful projects and there is life beyond midtown!

One of the nicest things that happened midway into my entrepreneurial journey was meeting Jacob Hadjigeorgis, a young food entrepreneur who in 2011 imagined Jacob’s Pickles, a very popular comfort food restaurant in the neighborhood. We were introduced through the West Side Campaign Against Hunger, a wonderful organization we both support (joyful plate since 2001 with risotto charity dinners and classes for WSCAH’s Chef Training Program). Jacob hired me to work with him on the vision for the brand. Early on, he knew he wanted to support the garden next to the restaurant, managed by students enrolled at the Urban Assembly for Green Careers (UAGC). In 2014 we made his dream a reality and created a charity, Jacob’s Pickles Digs NY, to support urban farming.

Last month we hosted a fund raiser led by The Insurgo Project, a powerful NYC group led by Chef Harold Villarosa and Chief Strategy Officer Joaquin Elizondo, which works to secure food access for high-need communities. The event successfully brought together foodies, farmers and philanthropists alike to tour our newly refurbished garden. A ribbon cutting ceremony took place paying special tribute to The Dwight School (where Jacob attended) to thank them for their generous donation of the their greenhouse to our garden. Members from Jacob’s Digs, students and faculty from the UAGC spoke eloquently about what the garden has done for them -learning to grow and growing from learning.


to read more of joyful plate gives click here

August 3, 2015 / joyful plate

joyful plate brand insights Natural Products Expo West 2015

joyful plate brand insights

Natural Products Expo West 2015

“I’m going to the Natural Products Expo in Anaheim” I tell my friends and colleagues on the East Coast. When they ask, “What’s that?”…it is not an easy question to answer. The show has changed so much over the years. While health and wellness education are still important key messages at seminars, Expo West has become a branding extravaganza, celebrating our natural lifestyle in a way that is more exciting and entertaining than ever.

So, “what is natural now?” Natural is…vibrant

Gone are the days of brownish, granola – color palettes.

It’s about “surprising your senses with something extraordinary.” (Suja Juice). 

1210babc-a7a5-42f7-b144-5d4c79c2af10To read more, please click here, thank you: 

joyful plate brand insights Natural Products Expo West 2015

January 31, 2015 / joyful plate

joyful plate Fancy Food Show San Francisco 2015: Brand Insights


One of the things that differentiates Fancy Food as a food show is the expectation for flavor. Whether it’s subtle or bold, walking the show I’m drawn to brands with great design but also to brands with great taste and flavor. My days in the wine business have taught me that there are just too many beautiful things to be tasted and that every bite (or sip!) counts. Here are a few brands that served up unique flavor – some for play and curiosity, some for convenience, and all for pleasure.

To read the rest of the blog, please click here:

joyful plate Fancy Food Show San Francisco 2015: Brand Insights

January 31, 2015 / joyful plate

2014: a year of joyful plates

Today on New Year’s, we take a look back at the most inspiring tastes and plates of last year. From Brooklyn to Chicago to Sonoma to San Miguel, we always take time in our travels to smell the roses and appreciate the beauty and joy that food brings to our lives everyday.

 Here’s to a delicious year ahead! Happy New Year 2015.

To read the rest of the blog post, click here:

2014: a year of joyful plates


January 31, 2015 / joyful plate

joyful plate Fancy Food Show NYC 2014: Brand Insights

Brands that debut at the Fancy Food show are doing so with a lot of flair. Some smart entrepreneurs are prioritizing getting the branding right at launch to showcase their great products. Bravo!

To read the full blog post, click here:

joyful plate Fancy Food Show NYC 2014: Brand Insights


Sel Magique

 Guess what happens when a design talent discovers a local herbed seasoning when travelling in France? Magic. While Matt Murphy was in Brittany, he discovered the local tradition of seasoning food with lightly herbed Fleur-de-Sel. Two years later, Sel Magique’s blends of rare salts and natural herbs are sweeping the gourmet market, retailing at over 20 stores including Barneys New York, Dean + Deluca, The Plaza Food Hall, and Union Market, as well as high-profile online retailers like Fab and Birchbox. At the show, Sel-Magique debuted its sleek and sexy chocolate bars with a perfect blend of seasoning for savory and sweet in every bite. A perfect gift (for self!).