Posts tagged with "Los Angeles"

Mochi ice cream goes mainstream

December 10, 2019

Walk into any supermarket today and you’ll find what used to be exotic edibles: They are called mochi—and they are small, frozen, bite-size balls of ice cream encased in rice dough.

In just the past three years, this finger food confection has evolved from an exotic niche dessert to a mainstream product, popping up nearly everywhere, including malls, street fairs, and major supermarket chains, CNN reports.

Mochi was invented in the United States nearly three decades ago, and was originally made using ice cream flavors with an Asian flair.

“It’s been around since the 1990s, but mochi ice cream was mostly available in specialty Asian food stores or on menus of Japanese restaurants in flavors like green tea, red bean and mango,” said Russell Barnett, a food industry veteran and chief marketing officer of Los Angeles-based My/Mo Mochi.

To help bring it to the masses, My/Mo created a flavor list most consumers felt instant familiarity with, such as chocolate sundae, S’mores, cookies & cream, strawberry, double chocolate and mint chocolate chip.

“I grew up eating vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream. Green tea and red bean weren’t a common part of the flavor profile in most households,” he told CNN.

Barnett recognized the inherent appeal of mochi ice cream to Millennials, a group he calls “a snacking generation.” Mochi is a portion-control snack of about 110 calories per ball, easy to hold and eat on the go. “We just retooled and adjusted it for today’s consumers,” he said.

My/Mo Mochi ice cream (which is gluten-free with some dairy free varieties) is produced at a manufacturing facility in Los Angeles and sold in packages of six, CNN reports. They’re also sold individually in portable freezers that Barnett calls self-serve “ice cream bars.”

Currently, My/Mo Mochi is now available in 20,000 stores nationwide. “We are in Target, Kroger, Walmart and everything in-between,” said Barnett. “We are reaching the masses where they shop.”

Competing mochi ice cream brands include Bubbies, Maeda-En and Mr. Mochi, but the My/Mo Mochi brand has captured close to 90% of market share, according to data from Nielsen. The brand’s sales were $175 million in annual revenue in 2019, according to Barnett.

Research contact: @CNN

Left holding the baby: What it takes to be a $200,000-a-year nanny

June 20, 2019

Childcare isn’t usually a high-paying position. However, today wealthy and celebrity parents are seeking nannies from a higher echelon—nursemaids with all of the skills of Mary Poppins and then some.

Indeed, they will beat the bushes to find a nanny that is trained in newborn care, child development, technology, and languages. And they are willing to pay six figures, when they find her (or him).

In demand, according to a recent CNN report, are top-tier, career nannies who have specializations, certifications, and loads of experience. They can make from $150,000 to nearly $200,000 in big cities like New York, Los Angeles, and London. And sometimes even more.

Families are paying over $220,000 a year in San Francisco,” says Anita Rogers, president and founder of British American Household Staffing, which has offices in all three cities. “There’s a value in paying well for your employees, especially in your household.”

“We’ve seen a lot of requests for Mandarin and French speakers in the nanny role,” Keith Greenhouse, chief executive of the New York City-based household staffing company Pavillion Agency told the network news outlet. “Lately more than ever people want someone who is tech savvy and nannies who can move into a family assistant role.”

“Many of our families don’t want any screen time for the kids,” Ryan Jordan, founder of Educated Nannies, a staffing agency in Los Angeles. “So that’s the time the nanny needs to bring in preschool curriculum and adventures.”

At Educated Nannies, childcare providers need to have college degrees and families appear to be most interested in candidates with backgrounds in child development

But while a preschool teacher makes $13 to $15 an hour, or around $30,000 a year according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, skilled nannies are commanding more than double.

Heidi Joline has worked as a nanny for nearly 20 years. But she wasn’t always so sure childcare was the right career for her, she told CNN. “Saying you’re a nanny doesn’t get that ‘Oh! You’re a nanny? That’s so exciting!’ reaction from people,” she says. “It’s like “Oh, you’re a nanny. When are you going to get a real job?”

But after trying office work for a bit, she returned to being a nanny and realized she could grow in a way that was interesting to her, valuable to her families—and a lot more lucrative than teaching preschool.

She has passed the International Nanny Association Exam, taken Yale courses on child rearing and Stanford courses on health across the gender spectrum. She has studied child psychology, newborn care, and resilience following trauma.

Currently working with a family in Los Angeles, Joline prepares a curriculum every month for the preschooler for whom she is responsible. This month’s theme is bugs, and she has planned a lineup of songs, stories and activities along with learning words in Spanish, French and Mandarin. She and the child even released 3,000 ladybugs into the wild.

“In this field, things change all the time,” Joline told the network news outlet. “What we did with our children five years ago is not what we’re doing now with regard to nutrition, socialization, education, and overall well-being. You have to keep up with that to help inform the parents.”

And her skills have not gone unnoticed: she was named 2019 Nanny of the Year by the International Nanny Association.

“As a nanny you have to have those specialties and you have to continue your education,” Joline says. “In other places, it may be fine to just have CPR training, but if you’re in the bigger markets, where you are expecting higher pay and working with higher-profile people, you need specialized skills to stand out.”

Research contact: @CNN

Starbucks Delivers expands to more U.S. cities, powered by Uber Eats

January 23, 2019

After a successful pilot test in Miami, on January 22, Starbucks announced the expansion of its delivery service to another six cities nationwide.

The rollout, in partnership with Uber Eats, began on Tuesday in San Francisco—and the company says that it “remains on track to bring Starbucks Delivers to nearly one-quarter of [our] U.S. company-operated stores, “ with planned expansion to select stores in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C., in the coming weeks.

According to the Seattle-based coffee chain, the Miami test, also powered by Uber Eats, saw “strong demand, including repeat business throughout the day and positive feedback from customers.”

What’s more, Starbucks Delivers will launch a new pilot later this month in London—its first in Europe, also powered by Uber Eats—following other overseas delivery initiatives in China, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, Mexico, Columbia, and Chile.

The company plans on tapping into a global $95 billion online food delivery market. partnership Starbucks will leverage Uber’s expertise as one of the fastest-growing meal delivery services in the United States—reaching Uber’s current customers, as well as offering the existing Starbucks clientele a new method for including the chain’s beverages in their daily routines.

“We know we have untapped customer demand for Starbucks Delivers in the United States and, starting today, we’re expanding our best-in-class experience to our customers both in and out of our stores,” said Roz Brewer, group president and chief operating officer for Starbucks. “We’re building on key learnings from past delivery pilots and by integrating our ordering technology directly with Uber Eats, we’ve unlocked the ability to bring Starbucks to customers for those times when they’re not able to come to us.”

Customers will be able to access Starbucks Delivers through the Uber Eats mobile app, available on iOS and Android devices. With approximately 95% of core menu items available directly from the Starbucks menu, customers will be able to customize their orders just as they would when ordering on Starbucks mobile apps. Delivery orders will come with an initial $2.49 booking fee.

“At Uber Eats, we’re always looking for new ways to offer people the widest selection of food they love. That’s why we’re so excited to deliver Starbucks fans their favorite food and beverages in a way that’s as easy as requesting a ride,” said Jason Droege, VP and head of UberEverything. “Be it breakfast delivered straight to the soccer field or afternoon lattés to the office, we know this partnership will delight our customers.”

Starbucks Delivers represents the next evolution of the company’s approach to delivery and expanding its digital relationships with customers. In addition to the pilot in Miami and a pilot in the Empire State Building, Starbucks previously tested delivery in Seattle in 2015 for members of the company’s Starbucks Rewards loyalty program.

Starbucks Delivers was first announced in August 2018 in China through a partnership with Alibaba and on-demand food delivery service Ele.me. By the end of 2018, delivery services had expanded to 2,000 stores across 30 cities in China, while also being introduced to select stores in Tokyo and Miami.

Research contact: #starbucksdelivery

Greatest hits: Punching gets ‘poshified’ at an upscale boxing boutique

January 18, 2019

Get ready to rumble—but not in a wrestling ring. Rumble—a rarified boxing club that opened its doors in 2016—already has a cult following at its group classes in Manhattan, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

The luxe Rumble has attracted an upscale clientele of professionals and celebrities with its posh, crimson-lit workout rooms—enlivened by nightclub-quality sound systems blasting upbeat hip-hop music; and loft-like, high-tech architectural features.

According to a January 16 report by The Wall Street Journal, its fans include social media-savvy supermodels like Gigi Hadid, Kendall Jenner and Adriana Lima, and stylish male celebs like David Beckham, Chris Hemsworth, and Scott Eastwood—all of whom happily Instagram their jabs and crosses.

“Celebrities started showing that boxing didn’t have to be grungy,” Andy Stenzler, Rumble’s CEO, told the Journal. “That you didn’t have to hit each other to get a great workout.”

Boxing may be a centuries-old sport, but the combination of inviting spaces, trainers who aren’t bullies, and circuit-style classes feels fresh. At the chain’s elite studios, half of the space is filled with weight-training benches and dumbbells; the other half, by 185-pound boxing bags. Even the boxing gloves don’t reek of sweat; they’re stored on ski-boot heaters that kill bacteria. And the teardrop-shaped bags don’t hurt your wrists; they’re filled with water, which is more forgiving than sand.

Inside, the joint is jumping: Every 50-minute class offer two groups of 30 people each an opportunity to learn boxing— starting from introductory level instruction; and adding intensity and skill levels as participants progress (as well as private training).

Beginner-level group courses offer cardio-fueled warm-ups, pre-class instructions on the dynamics of six punches, three rounds of boxing on the bags, and three rounds of strength and conditioning.

Newbies need not fear getting punched in the nose. “We want it to be fun, not intimidating,” Stenzler told the news outlet.

First-time classes cost $32, “and,” the chain says, “we will hit you with the second one on us.” Ten classes cost $300; a private training session, $160.

Subtract the combat and, Rumble promises, boxing is still a killer total-body workout. “You’re constantly moving,” Chris Gagliardi, a certified personal trainer, told the Journal. “It’s challenging muscular endurance, strength, flexibility, body composition, your brain. You’re working on power, speed, balance, agility, coordination. It’s a lot of bang for your buck,” he said.

And if you don’t want to actually go to the gym, Rumble is taking things a step further.: Try At Home 360, a Peloton-esque venture that combines a Technogym boxing bag ($1,700, technogym.com) with a $39/month subscription for live and on-demand.

Research contact: @RumbleBoxingNYC