This week's Fun Friday starts with Goetze's mascot's 10th anniversary. Duke the cow's anniversary is, appropriately, on National Cow Day, July 9.

Introduced in 2014, Duke the Cow has served as the Cow Tales mascot for a decade, bringing joy with his cartoon features, goofy smile, and adoration of the nostalgic treat.

Goetze's is known for its Cow Tales (note the spelling; not Cow "Tails") as well as its caramel creams.

Read the full story here.

RaboResearch stats on barbeque

The RaboResearch Food & Agribusiness Team hosted a virtual media event, the 2024 Rabobank BBQ Index, on June 26, and dropped some interesting barbeque facts. The cost of hosting a 10-person barbecue on the Fourth of July, which will cost $99 this year, is the highest on record. This year, beer, beef, soda, and lettuce make up 64% of the total cost.

Premium buns for the win: Bakery goods have felt the impact of price increases in 2023, resulting in lower sales volumes. It’s not that Americans are eating fewer burgers—they eat more than 50 billion every year—but they became more aware of waste and opted for smaller packages. Hamburger and hot dog bun prices have been stable, in line with overall grocery inflation. Recent price hikes have been a boon for private-label bread and premium baked goods, as consumers trading down from eating at restaurants opt for differentiated products at home. Don’t be surprised if you see a pretzel bun at this year’s Fourth of July barbecue.  

The Rabobank BBQ Index covers consumer spending, beef, poultry, dairy, produce, and grill masters’ favorite companion: beer.

Consumers turn to gen AI for help with buying snacks

Buying snacks is twice as hard as buying the rest of the weekly grocery shop, according to findings from Accenture’s 2024 Consumer Pulse Survey, presented in the report, “The Empowered Consumer.” The research surveyed 19,000 consumers across 12 countries and states that the empowerment of consumers through generative AI, other technologies and new ways of working will shift how people think about brands. 

Among the key findings: 

  • Just over two-thirds (67%) of snack shoppers wish they could identify available options that suit their needs more quickly and easily.
  • 65% of snack shoppers said that researching potential purchases takes more time and effort then it should. 
  • Seven in 10 snack shoppers walked away from purchases because they feel overwhelmed.

According to the report, consumers themselves are increasingly seeking ways to lighten the workload and are starting to see how gen AI might take on some of the leg work. Accenture’s observation, based on conversations with executives across industries, is that consumers are on track to adopt generative AI-powered advisors rapidly and at scale over the next two years. Indeed, Snack shoppers are already turning to gen AI. According to the survey, four in 10 snack shoppers are open to using conversational AI solutions, and 45% are open to using gen AI agents to make purchases for them.