Market View: A Second (and Final) Farewell

Jan. 9, 2020
Professor Stanton ends this Marketing 101 class after six-plus years.

More than six years ago, I came back from a short hiatus to again write my column on food marketing. I originally quit because I thought that I had said all I had to say. However, as I observed the food marketing landscape, I realized that there was so much more to write about. Dave Fusaro and Food Processing magazine gave me a chance to get back in the game. I loved writing my articles, as so much has changed and is changing in the food industry.

Over those years, I wrote about health and nutrition issues as well as marketing. I felt that as an industry we were becoming more of a medicine cabinet and less of the wonderful provider of delicious, safe and inexpensive food that everyone can enjoy. I wrote about tactical issues like how important naming a product can be or dealing with new distribution channels. I wrote about all of the new consumer market segments as well as the differentiation of supermarkets.

I loved writing about all the different aspects of food marketing, however I really enjoyed getting the feedback from readers. While the positive responses made me smile, the negative comments made me think more about the issues, and for that I am appreciative. Sometimes I got numerous comments from the same person and, although we never met, I felt like we were friends, and looked forward to his next comment. Like a friend, when he thought I was wrong, he told me as well.

Dave Fusaro is a great editor. He let me wax on in my articles and often gave me positive feedback. He fixed my copy but never asked me to change my position on a topic or to take back my sometimes harsh criticism.

More than anything, I felt sympathy and respect for the food executives in the trenches, as they were generally overworked and required to make all sorts of tradeoffs. After all, before joining academia, I was in the same trenches that they were in. I never felt like I knew more than they did, I just knew that I had more time on my hands to think about the issues than those executives probably did. I don’t know many food marketing executives who only work two days a week and get about four months of vacation.

I tried to write about topics that were top of mind rather than something they never thought of before. Each month I would choose from among a number of potential topics I wanted to write about. I kept a list of topics. However, as time went on, my list got shorter until each month I was thinking “what should I write about?” This is when I said to myself, it’s time to give up the column. When I realized that the issues in food marketing are no longer so obvious to me, I decided to tell Dave, “It’s time.”

This was a hard decision because I really loved the writing. I will miss the comments from the executives who took their valuable time to read what I thought about the industry. But I won’t miss reading Food Processing magazine, because I hope Dave will keep me on the mailing list.

Goodbye Professor

John Stanton, Ph.D., has been associated with Food Processing longer than anyone currently on the staff. So when he said in a much-earlier Market View column that his first Food Processing article was in 1997, we have to take him at his word. His first “retirement” from our magazine was December 2005. But when our dear editor Diane Toops passed away, we asked John to come back, and he did in June 2013. Seventy-some columns later, he’s leaving us again.

He’s repeatedly defined marketing as “making what people want to buy, not making people buy what you want to make.” He’s been a tireless advocate for good execution and consumer interaction and against brand erosion and especially bean counters. He continues as a professor and department chairman of food marketing at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia and is in the European Retail Academy Hall of Fame. He will remain a member of our Editorial Advisory Board and, who knows, you may well hear from him again on this or other pages.

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