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J Walter Thompson latest network agency to create consultancy offering with Canteen

JWT's Canteen team

J Walter Thompson’s launch of a new consultancy for food and beverage brands, Canteen is the latest in the industry trend that sees agencies attempt to meet client demand for more improved services, described by UK chief executive James Whitehead as “upstream consultancy offerings”.

The consultancy business will be headed up by Megan van Someren, a global planning director for the agency, and run alongside Sophia Redgrave and Marina Lindsay-Brown, will work with a specialist network including sustainability experts, chefs, food bloggers and nutritionists to develop brand strategy, content-strategy and product launches for clients.

This is the latest consultancy business from the agency, which last year created Female Tribes Consulting as it aimed to offer specialist expertise that it previously had not focused on as a dedicated specialty within the business.

“Canteen was conceived and launched to serve a real need for food brands and businesses; and is part of JWT’s broader move into upstream consultancy offerings,” explained Whitehead to The Drum.

Van Someren added: The biggest challenge we see food companies face today, especially big food, is to break out of the classic packaged foods behavior and to start living and loving its role in the world of food… together we have a huge opportunity and responsibility.”

In the past, J Walter Thompson has worked with major food brands such as Kit Kat, Oxo and Mr Kipling Cakes.

Recently other network agencies have launched consulting offshoots as major consultancies such as Accenture and Deloitte enter the marketing sector – including TBWA/Asia and another Omnicom business Sparks & Honey, moved its business proposal from cultural intelligence firm to a consultancy.

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