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Food Fads, Like Greek Yogurt, Often Missed Opportunities – UPDATE

A blog article on food fads was recently published on Harvard Business Review’s Blog Network, and it caught our attention: “Why the Greek Yogurt Craze Should be a Wake-Up Call to Big Food.” Food fads develop quickly as you’ll see below in one of our previous blog posts, Greek Yogurt is the Celebrity Ingredient. With consumers so tightly connected to each other through social media and word-of-mouth, they are more likely to follow advice from others than in the past. According to the Harvard Business Review blog article, major food manufacturers need to consider steps to their marketing approach that are more customer-centric rather than marketer-centric. The Greek yogurt craze left a lot of major food companies to play catch up rather than take off like Chobani, the second largest yogurt seller in the U.S.

Greek Yogurt is the Celebrity Ingredient
Originally posted Oct. 3, 2013

Author: Mark Hughes

According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, Greek yogurt is becoming a refrigerator staple as consumers seek healthy, “authentic” foods, even though it’s often pricier. In fact, Greek yogurt now accounts for a quarter of the sales in the total yogurt market. In an article posted by the Los Angeles Times, Greek yogurt, overall, has had one of the fastest growth spurts the food and beverage industry has seen in years.

Ben&JerrysGreekYogurtA social media post introducing Yasso’s Greek yogurt smoothies sparked a lot of discussion around Greek yogurt and its newfound popularity. Greek yogurt is on an accelerated growth spurt and many popular brands are modifying their products to keep up.

The increase in popularity behind Greek yogurt led to Ben & Jerry’s introduction of their line of frozen treats. According to their press release, four flavors contain real Greek Yogurt. The flavors of yogurt, still regarded as indulgent desserts, reap the benefits of containing real Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt is made through a traditional straining process allowing more of the whey to drain out, leaving a thicker, smoother yogurt that’s high in protein and low in fat.

Expect to see more brands incorporating Greek yogurt into their health and wellness products. There always seems to be at least one “celebrity ingredient” in the market and Greek yogurt looks to be it for 2013.

 

iTi Tropicals Launches Coconut Water Concentrate Website to Help Developers Take Advantage of the Growing Coconut Water Trend

iTi Tropicals, Inc., a leading U.S. supplier of processed exotic tropical fruits, recently launched a new website to help developers better understand coconut water concentrate and the benefits of incorporating it as an ingredient in their products.

Coconut Water Concentrate - Website

Natural coconut water is the water inside of a coconut. It is naturally filtered for nine to twelve months through the dense fibers of the coconut creating a nutritious, pure and refreshing isotonic beverage. Coconut water is naturally sterile and has five essential electrolytes, more potassium than a banana, no added sugars, no fat, no cholesterol and no preservatives. It is excellent for replacing lost electrolytes from exercise and illness. It may be incorporated into many beverage applications and is regarded as a natural sports drink.

For developers who want to compare the cost and calories for several ingredients, or see a more comprehensive cost and calorie calculation for new beverage development, they can click on the tab for the product ingredient calculator, pictured below. In addition to the calculator, developers can also access FAQs, application ideas and coconut water news on the website.

Coconut Water Concentrate - Calculator

When selecting a source for coconut water, iTi Tropicals, Inc. urges customers to carry out authenticity testing to make sure no sugars, additives and/or preservatives are added. “At iTi Tropicals, nothing is added to our coconut water concentrate—no sugars, no citric acid, no potassium and no sulfur dioxide. We know where and how it is produced, from plantation to coconut water concentrate, and we give our customers confidence in declaring ‘no sugar added’ on their products,” states Gert van Manen, president of iTi Tropicals, Inc.

iTi Tropicals, Inc. has led the way in providing the food industry with conventional coconut water concentrate 60 brix and has added organic coconut water concentrate, young coconut water, acidified coconut water and soon will introduce an acerola acidified coconut water concentrate, providing 100% daily value for vitamin C.

2014 Foodservice Trends Roundup

Foodservice Photo

At the end of 2013, many organizations published foodservice industry trends forecasts for the New Year. We’re rounding up what appear to be the most prominent predictions published. Almost 1,300 members of the American Culinary Federation were surveyed for the The National Restaurant Association (NRA) 2014 Culinary Forecast. Looking at the trends, it is easy to see that “local/sustainable” will be buzzwords in 2014. Six of the top 10 trends relate to local/sustainable foods: Locally sourced meats and seafood, locally grown produce, environmental sustainability, hyper-local sourcing, sustainable seafood and farm/estate branded items. Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the NRA’s research and knowledge group, stated, “Today’s consumers are more interested than ever in what they eat and where their food comes from, and that is reflecting in our menu trends research.”

Technomic agrees in its 10 Trends for 2014, diners’ interest in the origin of their food will continue to grow in 2014. Consumers not only want to know their food is local and sustainable but also want to know that it is authentic, with the report stating, “If the restaurant positions itself as authentically Italian, for instance, it must use ingredients sourced from Italy and/or prepared using authentic Italian methods.” Politics are also predicted to influence consumers’ restaurant choices in 2014. Technomic believes that in 2014, consumers will be more likely to visit restaurants that align with their views and values, whether the decision is deliberate or not.

Sterling-Rice Group’s Cutting-edge Dining Trends 2014 point to more specific local and sustainable ingredients we can expect to see on menus. According to the report, small scale-produced protein sources like goat, rabbit and pigeon will be touted as “feel good” meat options, while seaweed will be a sustainable snack and seasoning. Many of Sterling-Rice Group’s trends revolve around innovative ways to increase nutritional content and maintain high impact flavors—from exploring nut milk applications in sauces and ice creams to poaching meats and vegetables in coffee. Chefs will also utilize tea for its ability to bring flavor to dinners and desserts without increasing fat content. However, not every trend is health conscious; the report states refined classic American items, like steak tartar and creamy bleu cheese drenched salads, will satisfy consumer cravings for full-fat food. What interesting foodservice trends have you seen? Feel free to share your thoughts and predictions in the comment section.

2014 Consumer Food Trends Roundup

Grocery Shopping

In last year’s blog post regarding 2013 consumer trends predictions, we commented on a theme we were seeing: health and wellness. As we researched and read industry news on consumer trend predictions for 2014, we found the theme to be similar with the addition of convenience.

Recent research shows the number of Americans who grab food on the run, without differentiating between meals or snacks, is growing. However, consumers are raising the bar and demanding healthy snacks made with natural ingredients. The SuperMarket Guru, Phil Lempert, predicts that brands and nutritionists will embrace snacking for better health in 2014, and food manufacturers will expand their offerings to ensure healthier snacks are available to consumers. In his 2014 food trend predictions, the SuperMarket Guru also states that consumers will be taking a fresh look at the companies who produce their food—but not just for the products they make. Consumers want to buy products from brands that give a sense of purpose to their product and align with their own core values.

According to another report put out by the market research firm, RTS Resource, consumers are increasingly looking for convenient, prepared products that allow them a “feel-good” experience by performing the last step of the preparation, unlike straight ready meals that go directly in the oven. By having these products available, it may absolve some of the guilt felt by consumers who say they do not want to spend any more than an average of 25 minutes preparing a meal. They also see a trend in consumers seeking out natural protein within convenient products as interest in high protein diets continues to grow. RTS Resource also predicts a trend in consumers seeking healthy alternatives of recognizable products that push interesting ingredients and exciting flavor blends as opposed to being marketed as a health food.

Consumers have heard a million times over, breakfast is the most important meal of the day as it jump-starts their metabolism for the rest of the day. In a recent ConAgra Foods survey, more than 75 percent of the respondents have stated they regularly eat breakfast at home. Mintel reports that consumers are looking more to foods like eggs, meats and Greek yogurt, as well as whole grain products for their breakfast, to help them live a healthier lifestyle without compromising taste and indulgence. In 2014, brands will adjust their products in response to this trend and expand the category of morning meal offerings.

In the era of social media—where we can connect through culture, news, stories and experiences from all over the world at lightening speeds—there is great opportunity for the food industry. Social media allows consumers to learn about the products they love to eat and connect with brands on a social level like never before. The SuperMarketGuru predicts that in 2014, we will see technology shape how consumers shop, influence their food preferences and change what product brands offer to meet consumer needs. To read more on the SuperMarket Guru’s food trend predictions for 2014, clickhere.

 

2014 Flavor Trends Roundup

Flavor Trends

Emerging flavors from Latin America and India, as well as consumers’ growing fascination with chilies will have a big impact in 2014, according to McCormick & Co., Inc.’s Flavor Forecast 2014.

McCormick’s annual report highlights five top food trends and more than a dozen emerging flavors that their experts from around the world predict will impact the way consumers eat in the coming years. One such trend is the growing obsession with chilies. Chilies continue to influence culinary trends as consumers experiment with different varieties and heat levels. Another trend McCormick highlighted was the multiuse of ingredients that can be used in clever new ways such as tea, which is gaining popularity beyond sipping into rubs, broths and marinades; versatile cilantro/coriander; and as well as noodles, which can be incorporated into soups, casseroles, stir fries and salads. McCormick also predicts the emergence of Indian cuisine as a global phenomenon and the growing interest of Brazilian flavors with the World Cup and Summer Olympics approaching as connectivity through social media helps drive adoption of flavors and trends from around the world. Rounding out the top five trends for 2014 are compact cooking and Mexican cuisine as regional dishes from Mexico are coming to the forefront allowing consumers to discover new dimensions of this cuisine south of the border.

According to Spicetec Flavors & Seasonings’ Mainstreaming Global Flavor Trends Market Brief, the world’s cuisine is coming to us. Peruvian cuisine is forecast as having the most impact on menus across the country in 2014. With Peruvian food, many dishes combine the flavors of Asia and South America with bold and spicy being common themes, according to Shane Maack, executive chef, Spicetec Flavors & Seasonings.

As we continue to read about and share with you more interesting predictions for 2014 food industry trends, feel free to leave us a comment with your thoughts and predictions on what trends you think the food industry will see in 2014.

 

SupplySide West Expo Round-up: Bioenergy Life Science, Solazyme and Trends from the Show

From Nov. 12-16, nearly 12,000 leaders and decision makers from around the world attended SupplySide West in Las Vegas—an 11 percent increase from 2012’s record-breaking turnout. The Expo Hall Floor was the show highlight and featured over 1,700 booths offering more than 10,000 ingredients, technologies and services.

Bioenergy Life Science2

I was able to attend this year and walk the floor of the expo. I had the opportunity to visit the Bioenergy Life Science booth. Aside from featuring their Olympic-gold athletes, Susan Francia and Billy Demong, they featured their food and beverage ingredient, Bioenergy Ribose. Bioenergy Ribose is a functional ingredient that is easy to incorporate into food and beverage formulation and enhances a product’s nutritional profile. It has been proven effective as a functional ingredient by providing faster energy recovery, increasing energy reserves, building ATP in skeletal and cardiac tissue, maintaining healthy energy levels in heart and muscle tissue, and regenerating energy. With over 1,700 booths to walk around, I was definitely reenergized with their samples of dark chocolate truffles and fruit chews.

Another booth I visited was Solazyme, where they were featuring their Whole Algal Flour—a nutrient and lipid rich-whole ingredient. The ingredient is an alternative to allergenic ingredients such as dairy and eggs and allows for a significant improvement in nutrition, while maintaining the overall texture of full fat foods. I was impressed with the test and control chocolate beverage sampling of the ingredient. The first sample I tried was the control, which I found out was a brand-name chocolate milk and the second sample I tasted was the test, which was a chocolate beverage made with the Whole Algal Flour. After tasting both samples, I preferred the test sample because the texture was a lot smoother and silkier than the name-brand chocolate milk and the taste was delicious.

Solazyme

In the two days I walked the show floor, I noticed a few ingredient trends: an emphasis on natural colors and flavors; probiotics with GRAS affirmation and for use in a wider range of product applications; omega-3s from both vegetarian and marine sources; and botanical ingredients. As we get closer to 2014, it will be interesting to see if these trends continue at trade shows and/or what new trends will surface.

Chiquita Fruit Solutions Wins Best Sustainability Initiative in Juice Award

Sustainability is one of the most important themes for all parts of the food and beverage industry—and juice is no exception. FOODNEWS World Juice recently awarded Chiquita Fruit Solutions the Best Sustainability Initiative in Juice Award for their passion fruit small-grower initiative. FOODNEWS World Juice held their annual conference in Cologne, Germany on Oct. 2-4 where their esteemed judging panel recognized Chiquita Fruit Solutions as the organization that has done the most to enhance the impact of the juice industry on the environment and society.           

CFSLogo4c2

Chiquita Fruit Solutions won the award for developing the passion fruit small-grower initiative to improve the resource efficiency, minimize carbon footprint and to better share economic benefits throughout the supply chain. Through their initiative, Chiquita Fruit Solutions demonstrated impact on environmental performance and society and were innovative in finding solutions to common industry problems.

Revolutionizing the juice and fruit industry with their passion fruit small-grower initiative, Chiquita Fruit Solutions teamed up with the Rainforest Alliance to teach hundreds of Costa Rican farmers how to grow passion fruit for a living wage as opposed to subsistence farming. With the project underway for the past three years, farm families have strengthened as they’ve learned how to better protect the environment and gain financial control of their lives. For more information on the passion fruit small-grower initiative, visit the Chiquita Fruit Solutions website and watch their video to see firsthand how this win-win project has benefited customers, Chiquita Fruit Solutions as a supplier, and most importantly the lives of their farmers.

Land O’Lakes, Inc. Hires Anderson Partners for Business-to-Business Marketing Communications of Ingredients

Land O’Lakes, Inc. has hired Anderson Partners to help with their global business-to-business marketing communications efforts.

INGREDIENTS_DistDairySMALL

Land O’Lakes, Inc., headquartered in Minneapolis, Minn., offers food manufacturers worldwide quality dairy ingredients. With a continuous milk supply from their 3,200 dairy farmer members and control over a vast supply chain, Land O’Lakes, Inc. ensures a consistent, quality supply of dairy ingredients for its customers. Its ingredient offerings include cheese, milk powder, butter, whey, cheese powders and seasonings.

Jim Jarman, marketing and sales leader for the Ingredients Team at Land O’Lakes, Inc., stated that Anderson Partners Food Ingredients was hired “because we were very impressed with their depth of food ingredient experience and past successes. We know that their knowledge will be a valuable asset for our company and for our marketing communications goals.”

Mark Hughes, president of Anderson Partners, said, “We are very proud to have been chosen as Land O’Lakes, Inc.’s marketing communications partner. We are excited to be part of the Land O’Lakes team and are looking forward to helping them communicate the quality of their ingredients and value of their expertise to their global audience.”

Greek Yogurt is the Celebrity Ingredient

According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, Greek yogurt is becoming a refrigerator staple as consumers seek healthy, “authentic” foods, even though it’s often pricier. In fact, Greek yogurt now accounts for a quarter of the sales in the total yogurt market. In an article posted by the Los Angeles Times, Greek yogurt, overall, has had one of the fastest growth spurts the food and beverage industry has seen in years.

A social media post introducing Yasso’s Greek yogurt smoothies sparked a lot of discussion around Greek yogurt and its newfound popularity. Greek yogurt is on an accelerated growth spurt and many popular brands are modifying their products to keep up.

Ben&JerrysGreekYogurt

The increase in popularity behind Greek yogurt led to Ben & Jerry’s latest introduction of their line of frozen treats. According to their press release, four flavors contain real Greek Yogurt. The flavors of yogurt, still regarded as indulgent desserts, reap the benefits of containing real Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt is made through a traditional straining process allowing more of the whey to drain out, leaving a thicker, smoother yogurt that’s high in protein and low in fat.

Expect to see more brands incorporating Greek yogurt into their health and wellness products. There always seems to be at least one “celebrity ingredient” in the market and Greek yogurt looks to be it for 2013.

Salt Swap Initiative is Leading the Way in Australia’s Sodium Reduction

Recently we received a newsletter from Nu-Tek Salt Australasia—Nu-Tek Food Science’s Australasia partner— highlighting a new program, Drop the Salt Lithgow and its exciting health initiative, Salt Swap Lithgow. This program has been featured in the Lithgow Mercury news and is supported by The George Institute for Global Health, Lithgow City Council, local business and Nu-Tek Food Science, to help address Australia’s excessive salt consumption levels.

Pictured (from left to right): Jason Cummings, Nu-Tek Salt Australasia; Lithgow Black Panther; Maree Statham, Lithgow mayor; and Mary-Anne Land, The George Institute for Global Health.
Pictured (from left to right): Jason Cummings, Nu-Tek Salt Australasia; Lithgow Black Panther; Maree Statham, Lithgow mayor; and Mary-Anne Land, The George Institute for Global Health.

The Salt Swap initiative is an innovative campaign to reduce salt intake by “swapping” household table salt for Salt for Life™ Sea Salt Blend—a new sea salt blend with 70 percent less sodium than table salt. The campaign also includes reformulation of locally produced processed foods and using the FoodSwitch Smartphone application to help people make better food choices in the supermarket.

Drop the Salt Lithgow aims to reduce salt intake by 10 percent and is part of a broader initiative—supported by the World Health Organization (WHO)—seeking to identify scalable and sustainable salt-reduction policies that can be applied nationally and internationally.

To learn more about the Drop the Salt Lithgow community initiative and to join in their discussions, “Like” their Facebook page.

New iTi Tropicals YouTube Channel: A Great Source for Information on Exotic Tropical Fruits

iTi Tropicals has launched a YouTube channel for food product developers that contains lively and informative videos—providing an in-depth look at some of the on-trend and timely issues regarding popular tropical fruits being used in various food and beverage formulations and applications.

iTi Tropicals - YouTube

“Our new YouTube channel will allow us to share our worldwide knowledge on exotic tropical fruits with our customers and industry friends,” said Gert van Manen, president of iTi Tropicals.  Some of the new videos on the iTi Tropicals YouTube channel are:

– Guava – The Video—a five-minute overview of the Chiveria guava fruit that begins on the largest plantation in Ecuador and shows details of the sustainable farming and harvesting practices behind this premium fruit. The video also includes information on processing and production along with packaging of the Chiveria guava in convenient forms like purees, concentrates and essences flavored by product developers for a variety of food and beverage applications.

– Foodnews Juice Asia Address on Coconut Water Product Purity and Sustainability—the video of van Manen’s speech to the May 2013 symposium in Bangkok, Thailand, covers current coconut water trends including issues of ethical sourcing, sustainability and authenticity.

– Red Dragon Fruit Plantation in Thailand—a video showing what a red dragon fruit plantation looks like.

– Coconut Water and Coconut Meat—a lab demonstration showing how to utilize coconut meat for coconut water applications.

“We plan to introduce new videos on a regular basis that will feature more information on the variety of exotic tropical fruits available to product developers from around the world,” said van Manen. “We hope our customers and friends will visit the YouTube channel often to see our latest offerings.”

The iTi Tropicals YouTube channel is available at http://www.youtube.com/user/iTitropicalsInc.

Nu-Tek Food Science Wins Advertising Excellence Award

Nu-Tek Food Science was recently awarded an Advertising Excellence Award by Baxter Research Corp. for its trade magazine print ad introducing Nu-Tek Food Science’s Advanced Formula Potassium Chloride sodium-reduction ingredient product. The award was presented to Nu-Tek Food Science in recognition of outstanding overall readership of this advertisement as compared to all other advertisements appearing in the March 26, 2013, issue of Food Business News.

Dan and Dave Award

The Baxter Research ad study reports on ad performance in the context of three steps recognized as essential to the brand-building experience: exposure, engagement and involvement.

“We are very proud of this award,” said Dan Swoboda of Anderson Partners-Food Ingredients, “since it is recognition of the effectiveness of our creative strategy and presentation for Nu-Tek Food Science and their revolutionary, new sodium-reduction technology.”

Baxter Research Corp. (BRC) conducts original advertising and market survey research for firms operating in U.S. domestic and global markets. The privately held company is headquartered in Austin, Texas, and has been located there since 1989.

Food Business News is the food industry’s leading news and ingredient markets publication.

Pictured: Dan Swoboda, creative director at Anderson Partners-Food Ingredients and Dave Hickey, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Nu-Tek Food Science with the Advertising Excellence Award.

IFT ’13 Round-up: ConAgra Mills, Nu-Tek Food Science, Bioenergy Life Science and Land O’Lakes

From July 13-16, over 23,500 of the world’s top food professionals attended the IFT Annual Meeting and Food Expo in Chicago, Ill. At this year’s Food Expo, there were over 1,100 exhibitors showcasing their products through a variety of samples and product literature. I had the opportunity to walk the Expo floor all three days. While I wasn’t able to visit all the booths, I did get to visit quite a few that allowed me to sample their products in unique and flavorful applications. In the list of booths I was able to visit, there were a few exhibitors that really stood out:

Next-thing Thinking

  • ConAgra Mills—the go-to-source for innovative grain ingredients and Next-thing thinkingSM—had a team of experts available to guide attendees through four focus areas around their sampling counter: Fiber & Nutrition, School Foodservice and Kids’ Menus, New Ingredient Innovations, Food Safety & Cost Savings. With an impressive online culinary menu that was displayed on monitors around the booth and accessible by scanning a QR code, attendees had the opportunity to sample a variety of applications, such as Southern-style Biscuits and Sausage Gravy made with 51% Ultragrain® Whole Wheat Flour and Sustagrain® Flour; Puebla Macaroni & Cheese featuring Ultragrain Pasta PlusTM Elbows; and Chocolate Chip Cookies featuring SafeGuardTM Ready-to-Eat Flour.

Mini Chicago-style Hotdogs

  • Nu-Tek Food Science—the world leader in sodium reduction—invited attendees to taste the technology that’s winning over the experts. At the top of every hour during the Expo, reduced-sodium mini Chicago-style hotdogs, with a 35% reduced-sodium bun, 50% reduced-sodium hotdog and a Chicago-style giardiniera made with their new retail and foodservice product Salt for LifeTM Sea Salt Blend, were available for sampling. Through patented, single-crystal technology, Nu-Tek Food Science offers food manufacturers, foodservice operators and the food industry a cost-effective, clean-label solution to help meet the growing demand of sodium reduction.

Bioenergy Ribose

  • Bioenergy Life Science brought the sweet taste of innovation to IFT with their all-natural functional ingredient, Bioenergy Ribose. Visitors at the booth were able to sample a variety of energizing applications containing Bioenergy Ribose such as fruit chews, granola bars and dark chocolate truffles. Perfect for formulation in a variety of food and beverage applications, Bioenergy Ribose helps accelerate energy recovery, reduce muscle stiffness and provides greater endurance.

 

  • Land O'Lakes Team at IFT 13Land O’Lakes—the trusted name in dairy ingredients—brings food manufacturers the resources and dairy solutions that provide a real competitive advantage to the marketplace. During my visit with the Land O’Lakes team, they had me sample what I consider my favorite tasting of the entire Expo—hot buttery, cinnamon-flavored puffs. The hot buttery cinnamon flavor was fantastic and left my taste buds wanting more.

 

In our next blog post, we’ll share with you what we thought were the trends that dominated the Food Expo. In the meantime, feel free to leave us a comment below and share your thoughts on which exhibitors you think are bringing innovative ingredients and solutions to the food industry.

iTi Tropicals President Gives Important International Address on Coconut Water Sustainability and Purity

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][text_output]Gert_20130516In an important address at the May 16 Foodnews Juice Asia 2013 symposium in Bangkok, Thailand, iTi Tropicals, Inc. President Gert van Manen advocated that coconut water is a compelling ingredient with a bright future in the food and beverage market if it is labeled accurately. Van Manen’s speech, “Coconut Water: Fad or Sustainable Ingredient?” discussed the availability, benefits, technical challenges, market expansion and methods of delivery for coconut water. He also talked about issues of ethical sourcing, sustainability and authenticity.

iTi Tropicals Inc., a food ingredient company specializing in premium tropical flavors, has been developing and importing coconut water for the past nine years. Van Manen believes that coconut water is not a fad; it is here to stay. In his address, he also noted issues that, without proper attention, could derail coconut water’s long-term success in the marketplace. While consumer interest remains strong, he expressed concern that not all coconut water beverages are labeled accurately. Some products appear to have added sugar that is not disclosed on the label.

Van Manen said, “There is a big market for sugar-added beverages––much bigger than the market for 100% juice. But these products need to be labeled correctly.” Van Manen fears that consumers who don’t want the added sugar will be unhappy if they discover they are drinking a sugar-added beverage. He believes that regulators won’t be happy either. “This is why we spend so much time traveling the world to select and understand supply. It’s crucial for us to know who we’re doing business with. And we always test for authenticity.”

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Chiquita Fruit Solutions is Spinnovating

Chiquita Spinnovator

To help promote fresh ideas in fruit flavors, Chiquita Fruit Solutions launched their online interactive tool, the Chiquita SpinnovatorTM, at the RCA show in Charlotte, NC back in March.

Housed on the Chiquita Fruit Solutions website, the Spinnovator allows users to experiment and open their imaginations to develop unique applications using Chiquita’s five fruit ingredients: banana, passion fruit, mango, pineapple and papaya.

The first step to the Spinnovator is selecting a fruit ingredient—the inner wheel. Based on the fruit ingredient you’ve selected, the middle wheel populates a colorful arrangement of flavors that complement the fruit ingredient. The outer wheel has a multitude of top-trending applications to choose from that are broken out by meal and daypart categories: Breakfast, Entrée (Lunch/Dinner), Side, Dessert, Beverage and Condiment.

Another feature of the Spinnovator is the random spin. If you’re looking for a specific application or flavor, you can lock the applicable wheel on your selection and let the wheel spin its way to something innovative. If you’re inspired by what you’ve created, you can save it to a list and email it to yourself or share it through social media.

Visit the Chiquita Fruit Solutions website to Spinnovate a fresh idea and comment below on what unique application has opened your imagination.

 

Favorite Chefs on the Internet

“Chefs are incredibly important future leaning reflectors of where food flavors, preparation and health are headed. Chefs are the food educators of our time.” That’s according to Food Culture 2012, a report from the Hartman Group. Chefs have always played an important role in new food product development and their role in the commercial ingredient channels of the food industry has continued to grow. We previously wrote about a trade show hit for Sunkist Growers who featured a celebrity chef’s new dishes at the PMA Show in California.

ChefTwitterLarge

Chefs have also taken a leading role in using the Internet to communicate with their fans and followers as well as with their peers and colleagues. We see leading chefs everywhere on Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and of course the ubiquitous Facebook. Recently we posted a tweet to our Twitter feed @markhughesfood that asked the question “Who is your favorite chef on Twitter?” The tweet drew far more comments, re-tweets and favorites than normal. In response, here are our favorite chefs on the Internet:

Mario Batali

Molto Mario uses a great recipe for his Internet activity and gets terrific online engagement from his fans and peers. His main website has rich and varied content on his various properties and projects including links to all his social media platforms. But it’s on Twitter where the chef really shines. His Twitter feed @mariobatali is a lively blend of recipe tips and answers to fans questions about various dishes. His Twitter feed also contains his recommendations for ingredients and favorite haunts. The sheer volume of Chef Batali’s tweets suggest he has help with this, but the comments never lose the personality and charm that people expect from Mario.

Robert Danhi

Chef Robert Danhi is off on an adventure to search out great flavors and tastes and uses the Internet to effectively report on his progress and share his discoveries with friends and followers. His main website offers rich content on his focus of Asian dishes and local flavors. A companion site offers products and more content on Southeast Asian flavors. The chef’s Twitter handle is, of course,@chefdanhitweets and he actively uses Twitter to send greetings to friends and colleagues from his travels around the globe. He is also very generous with his time and knowledge, often sharing content with food bloggers and reporters. Here’s a recent local article from Rasa Malaysia on “Cooking with Chef Robert Danhi.

Jacques Pepin

Jacques Pepin is, simply put, my favorite chef anywhere. So of course, that includes the Internet. Chef Pepin’s La Technique has held an honored spot in my kitchen for 25 years and I continue to use it today. It continues to be one of the all-time best selling cook books. Chef Pepin has a robust presence on the Internet mainly through his instructional videos. Here’s one for a very Pepin-like omelet. His videos cover a wide range of ingredients and finished dishes and are all presented in the chef’s calm and self-assured voice and style. According to a recent NY Times article, when it comes to food preparation, “There is the wrong way and there is Jacques Pepin’s way.

We love all chefs on the Internet. These three are our favorites. Who is your favorite Chef on the Internet?

Street Food in Europe

[vc_row][vc_column width=”2/3″][container][text_output]Food trucks and street food continue to receive a lot of attention in the United States and have become a leading trend setter in new culinary developments for corporate chefs and the R&D crowd. With all this national buzz, we thought it would be interesting to take a look at how street food translates in Europe, where there are centuries of history in food markets and street food stalls.

Our international food marketing correspondent recently took a European river cruise, stopping off at street food markets in several major cities. Looking through the photos that were sent, we noticed several interesting differences in how street food is prepared and presented in Europe, versus major U.S. cities. Onsite preparation of raw ingredients is usually banned in the U.S., while it is a staple of European street vendors. Products like dairy and eggs, that require refrigeration in the U.S., are just as often presented in open air displays without refrigeration in Europe. Wines and liquors, heavily regulated in the U.S., are much more commonly available in European street markets. The photos below show several interesting examples.[/text_output][/container][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][rev_slider_vc alias=”streetfoodeurope”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

2013 Flavor and Food Ingredient Trends Roundup

Creative use of ethnic flavors and regional themes highlights the newest flavor trends while grains and other high-fiber ingredients are predicted to gain more center-of-the-plate attention in 2013.

flavorTrends2

According to Bell Flavors and Fragrances, regional American and regional Mexican and Latin American flavors will be among the top flavor trends in 2013. Bell Flavors and Fragrances also predicts we’ll see new flavors in beverages based on favorite desserts. However, as the trend of health and wellness continues to grow, Bell Flavors and Fragrances states that consumers will look for functional beverages that have less salt, fat and sugar.

McCormick & Co., Inc. released their annual report, Flavor Forecast 2013, giving a spotlight to the emerging trends. According to their report, trends and flavors will take root in cultures spanning Asia, Australia, Europe, Africa, Latin America and North America. McCormick’s executive chef, Kevan Vetter, pointed out that they are seeing a fascinating collision of tradition and innovation with authentic real ingredients still at the core—though now they’re being enjoyed in unique, updated ways to reflect a much more personalized approach to cooking and eating.

From their digital resource library and MenuMonitor database, Technomic stated a variety of grains are being identified as “playing star roles on trendy menus.” They also noted that a number of grains are being nudged to the forefront as part of the movement to gluten-free eating. Along with their prediction around grains, Technomic also predicted that ramen, udon, soba, rice noodles and other high-fiber grains will show up in soups and mixed-texture salads.

This is the third 2013 trends roundup blog we’ve posted. Are there any additional 2013 food trend predictions you’ve read? If so, feel free to leave us a comment below.

2013 Consumer Food Trends Roundup: Health and Wellness

Consumer

As more 2013 food trends have flooded the news, a common theme regarding consumers resonates: health and wellness.

According to Dr. Catherine Adams Hutt, RD, from Sloan Trends, younger people are thinking more about energy, body image, shape and tone; everyone is thinking about weight management and curbing hunger pangs between meals; and boomers want to stay energetic, strong and active as they age. Therefore, she feels protein will be the trend in 2013 across all age groups.

Innova Market Insights, part of the Innova Database, an online new product development tracking tool, also listed a protein overdrive in their lineup of 2013 trends. They also believe that there will be more “free-from” claims becoming increasingly prevalent, such as lactose-free, which will follow the now mainstream gluten-free set. Innova Market Insights also sees brain function remaining a top concern for the aging population, so we should expect more products on a cognitive health platform.

Studies from the NPD Group also show that nutrition and healthy eating habits are top meal-planning priorities for baby boomers. With that in mind, we can expect to see more heart-healthy antioxidant-rich foods taking over the supermarkets, including oily fish such as salmon, as well as green tea, sweet potatoes, dark leafy greens, popcorn, berries and whole grains.

According to Phil Lempert, the Supermarket Guru, smaller bites and more frequent eating patterns will be a trend in 2013 that will help reduce overall portion size and increase variety for consumers. Lempert also predicts that frozen food will be big in 2013, and there will be an increased emphasis on nutrition in frozen food as consumers continue to make fewer meals from scratch.

Paul Grimwood, chairman and CEO of Nestlé USA stated that it is clear consumers are much more health conscious today than ever before. He also noted that Nestlé USA will always strive to find new and innovative ways to help consumers lead a healthier, more enjoyable life.

 

 

2013 Foodservice Food Trends Roundup

It’s that time of year again when many publications, consultants and organizations submit their predictions for next year’s food trends and popular developments.

Trends

Most of the food trend predictions tend to include a lot of information, so we’ve looked at a couple of notable sources and their 2013 predictions and have highlighted a few of the trends we found to be interesting:

Sterling Rice Group, with the expertise of their culinary council—a team of more than 100 famous chefs, restaurateurs and foodies—released what they have identified as the top 10 food trends. With health and global realities top-of-mind concerns for consumers, next year, chefs will be behind the scenes making dishes healthier and providing all-inclusive menus to accommodate all types of diners—vegetarians, vegans, kids, gluten-free, wheat-free and eco-conscious. Also included in their report, popcorn will be the snack of the year in 2013 and there will be a rise in specialty items from American artisans. Sterling Rice Group also noted that Asian flavors will infiltrate American comfort foods, and there will be a plethora of tart, acidic and bitter flavors to choose from in the dining scene.

Baum + Whiteman, a food and restaurant consulting company, stated that everyone wants to be Chipotle—even Chipotle, in their trends report, 17 Hottest Food and Dining Trends for Restaurants and Hotels, 2013. What they meant by that statement is that consumers are bypassing casual dinner houses and heading toward fast-casual dining where they experience interactive service with customizable upscale flavor options in foods prepared directly in front of them. As the fast-casual dining trends upward, fast food restaurants will be updating, or as Baum + Whiteman put it, “dumbelling” their menu boards with more upscale, higher-priced menu options, and still keeping their bargain-priced options available. Also noted in the report, restaurants will look to boost distinctiveness and embark on edgier design and sustainability features.

National Restaurant Association (N.R.A.) released their annual “What’s hot 2013 chef survey,” and noted that locally sourced foods and children’s nutrition are the leading trends in 2013. Over 50 percent of the chefs surveyed said they will continue to make an effort to adjust dishes/recipes to be more healthful. The N.R.A. survey also highlighted the slow pace of change in the food category due to the fact that the 2013 survey is similar to the association’s 2012 effort. However, some new trends surfaced which included “non-wheat noodles/pasta, ethnic-inspired breakfast items and black/forbidden rice.

As we continue to uncover more interesting food trend predictions for 2013, what other interesting predictions are you seeing? Do you agree with the predictions that are out there? Feel free to leave us a comment with your thoughts and predictions on what the food industry will look like in 2013.

Chiquita Brands and Amcor Flexibles Win Packaging Award

Fresh Plaza recently posted an article announcing Chiquita Brands and Amcor Flexibles winning first prize in the coveted UK Packaging Awards, “Flexible Pack of the Year” category, with Chiquita Super Crunchy Fruit Chips—a convenient single-serve snack made from 100-percent naturally dried fruits.

Chiquita Amcor

In the article from Fresh Plaza, Claudio Finol, packaging manager, Chiquita Brands stated, “When developing Super Crunchy Chips, we knew that to make a real impact in the rapidly growing ‘Food-to-go market,’ the brand had to be supported by a new packaging format, which would enhance the customer experience and communicate the new product offering, thanks to its shelf standout. Amcor PushPop has proven to be the perfect choice.”

As an innovative, patented stand-up pack with an easy opening system, Amcor PushPop does not affect barrier integrity. Consumers simply push in the perforation on the top side and pop the pack wide open. The Amcor PushPop is guaranteed optimal in-store display with its printable surface and its shelf stackable surface.

“Amcor PushPop met all of Chiquita’s needs and more. The multilayer pack protects the fruit and the integrity of the chips as well as the nutritional value. Amcor PushPop is very convenient and also fun to use. The positive launch results encouraged us to enter the UK Packaging Awards together,” David Mayers, sales manager Fresh Produce, Amcor Flexibles Europe & Americas.

 

Sodium Reduction Pressure Increases on Food Manufacturers

Food manufacturers are under increasing pressure to lower sodium in their products as more cities, states and national health organizations partner to work towards reduction of salt in packaged and restaurant foods.

salt-blood-pressure-guage

In 2010, the National Salt Reduction Initiative (NSRI), a voluntary, national initiative to reduce the levels of salt in foods by as much as 25 percent over the next five years, was conceived by health officials in New York. After two years, the initiative still has cities, states and organizations hopping on board, putting pressure on food manufacturers to lower the sodium content in their products. In January 2012, the Arizona Department of Health Services joined the initiative and is working to educate health practitioners, seniors, parents, children and all residents about the dangers of too much salt in the diet. According to the NSRI, if the national initiative is successful, it could prevent 10,000 deaths annually which are caused by high blood pressure and associated diseases.

Aside from the NSRI, the Center for Science in the Public Interest recently sent a letter to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) criticizing them for not introducing mandatory sodium reduction levels. As diets continue to be too high in sodium, contributing to tens of thousands of premature deaths each year and billions in medical costs, the FDA has not taken any action to control the salt in packaged or restaurant foods. In the letter, it stated that upwards of 100,000 lives could be saved annually if sodium levels in packaged and restaurant foods were halved.

For food manufacturers, the pressure isn’t going to let up. In fact, it’s going to continue to get stronger. Reducing the salt levels in packaged and restaurant foods will increase consumer choice. Anyone can add more salt at the table, but consumers can’t remove what was added during production.

Content Marketing for Food Ingredient Companies

The Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and MarketingProfs recently published their third annual research results, 2013 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends. Sponsored by Brightcove, over 1,400 B2B marketers in North America, from diverse industries and a wide range of company sizes, were surveyed in August 2012.

Content Marketing

Based on the survey results, B2B marketers are using more tactics, distributing content on more social networks and spending more than they have in years past, making content marketing a top priority going into 2013.

However, as content marketing continues to trend upward, it still has its challenges. According to last year’s study, the biggest challenge was producing engaging content. This year, a majority of B2B marketers agree the challenge is now producing enough content.

Despite the challenges of content marketing, research showed, on average, 12 tactics were used by B2B marketers this year—a significant increase over the average number of tactics used in the past two years. However, with this increase, there is also more uncertainty for B2B marketers as to whether they are using these various tactics effectively.

The most popular content marketing tactic was social media, excluding blogs, with an 87 percent adoption rate—a significant increase from last year’s report, which showed social media at 74 percent. With all the various social media platforms, the findings showed B2B marketers are using LinkedIn more this year to distribute content, whereas the last two years, Twitter was the leader.

What tactics do you use for content marketing and will you continue using those tactics in 2013? How are you overcoming the challenge of producing enough content? Leave us a comment below. We’d love to hear your strategies and tactics around content marketing.

Free Webinar: New Technologies in Sodium Reduction

New Technologies

Food Business News is hosting a free webinar on Wednesday, Sept. 26 at 2 p.m. CDT, sponsored by Nu-Tek Food Science which will highlight consumer viewpoints regarding sodium levels and the latest technologies in sodium reduction in the marketplace. Pending regulations and growing consumer demand are quickly increasing the need for lower-sodium products.
Register for and attend this webinar to listen to industry experts: Josh Sosland, from Food Business News; Marjorie Troxel-Helmer, from Cypress Research; Dr. Sam Rao, from Nu-Tek Food Science; Gary Cain, from Cain Food Industries, Inc. and Don Mower, from Nu-Tek Food Science, as they discuss the latest technologies in sodium reduction for specific applications including bakery and snack, meat and poultry, and cheese and dairy, and how it could help you meet your sodium-reduction goals.
The webinar will include:

  • Market Summary – A brief review of current trends
  • Consumer Attitudes – Consumer concerns about salt
  • New Sodium Reduction Technologies – New technology developments
  • Evaluating Sodium Reduction Options – Criteria for evaluating product options
  • Recent Application Success Stories
  • Questions & Answer

We hope you can attend, and if you do, feel free to leave us a comment below on what these new technologies in sodium reduction can do to help you meet your company’s sodium-reduction goals.

 

 

Social Media Marketing Best Practices from Kretchmar’s Bakery

Baking Channel - BakeThe Baking Channel on bakemag.com recently launched a social media video that featured Kretchmar’s Bakery from Beaver, PA. This video is a part of their tour, Discovering America’s Bakeries.

Lincoln Kretchmar, of Kretchmar’s Bakery, discussed why his company invested in social media and also shared some best practices he follows regarding social media marketing:

  • Social media is great for marketing and branding and can help build up your image.
  • It is a cost-effective way to communicate effectively with customers.
  • Post frequently—Kretchmar’s Bakery currently posts at least once a week.
  • Social media can be ineffective if done wrong—only post things that are engaging to your audience. It is about what is pertinent to your customers, not necessarily what is pertinent to you.

By following these best practices, Kretchmar’s Bakery has been effective in building relationships with its customers and increasing the bakery’s brand exposure. We’d love to hear what social media marketing best practices you follow and the success you’ve had. Leave us a comment below!

Chiquita Fruit Solutions: Open Your Imagination

ChiquitaBoxSampler_0270LR

Chiquita Fruit Solutions offered product developers the opportunity to “Open Your Imagination” with a recent sampling program on their new Fruit Crumbles—a 100 percent natural, air-crisped fruit ingredient product with a wide range of surprising food applications.

To capture the attention of Chiquita Fruit Solutions’ customers and to stretch their imaginations, the sample packaging and its contents were designed to help expand the possibilities for customer applications.

Since the shipping box was the first piece of marketing collateral seen by customers, Chiquita Fruit Solutions followed industry best practices and made sure their company name and messaging was visible by labeling all four sides of the box with the Chiquita Fruit Solutions logo, a headline stating, “All Natural Fruit Crumbles,” and an application image with the text “Open Your Imagination.”

Contained in the box were well-labeled Banana Crumbles and Fruit Chips, Tropical Mix Crumbles and Fruit Chips, and Pineapple Rings. The sample package also included a brochure that provided customers with a list of product features, nutritional information and contact information to learn more about Chiquita Fruit Crumbles.

By following the industry’s best practices on sample packaging, Chiquita Fruit Solutions was able to reinforce their brand and deliver a targeted message to their customers—and hopefully open some imaginations.

 

California Raisins Hold Fifth Annual Contest

California Raisin

California Raisins are back again with their successful, annual America’s Best Raisin Bread Contest. This year marks the fifth year for professional and student bakers to submit up to three original raisin bread formulas into the contest.

As you may have read in our previous blog posts regarding their annual contest, this year, rather than use video marketing to promote their event, California Raisin sent an email with photos of last years category and grand prize winners. This is a great way to encourage participation from bakers and student bakers as it showcases their peers, and gives them the inspiration and determination to be one of the nine winners to receive industry recognition for their work, as well as a five-day trip to sunny California.

California Raisin has done a great job of using fresh marketing tactics year over year to help promote their America’s Best Raisin Bread Contest. We’d love to hear about the different marketing tactics you’re using to promote your events. Leave us a comment below!

 

Ingredion New Brand Name for Corn Products/National Starch

Ingredion

June was a big month for Corn Products/National Starch with the launch of their new company name, Ingredion.

Our team received an email from the Ingredion marketing team announcing their new name in early June. This email announcement dropped in the midst of Corn Product/National Starch’s campaign to promote their booth presence at IFT. The email did a great job of explaining what the name change would mean for Corn Product/National Starch’s current and potential customers.

The email also provided a link to a short video clip to further showcase what Ingredion would bring to its customers. In a little over two minutes, the video welcomes viewers to a new day by using graphics to show what they can do for their clients and what differentiates them in the industry.

Even though Ingredion states it has brought together the best of Corn Products and National Starch, each brand still has their own website. These two websites are both branded Ingredion and have consistent messaging. Since Ingredion is built on bringing together the best of Corn Products and National Starch, it will be interesting to see how long it takes before the two websites become one.

 

 

Pre-IFT Email Campaign From Corn Products/National Starch

With the 2012 Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Annual Meeting and Food Expo around the corner, many exhibitors have started promoting their booth presence and what products they’ll be featuring at the trade show.

National StarchAs part of their IFT promotion, we’ve received weekly emails from Corn Products/National Starch. Each email features one of the samples they will be offering at their booth and highlights their ingredient products they are using.

A great attribute of the email is a link that takes you to a landing page where more details are provided about the Corn Products/National Starch booth along with their roster of presenters for the technical sessions. The website not only provides details about the show, but its main page showcases an image of the Corn Products/National Starch booth. This is a nice element and it gives attendees an idea of what to look for when they arrive at the show.

Corn Products/National Starch has done a great job of marketing their presence at the 2012 IFT Expo. As we get closer to the show itself, it will be interesting to see what tactics other food ingredient companies use to promote their show presence.

Nu-Tek Executives See Different Attitudes on Sodium Reduction

In a recent Food Business News article, Donald Mower, president and chief operating officer of Nu-Tek Salt, and Thomas Manuel, Nu-Tek founder and chief executive officer, discussed the status of the sodium reduction market.

NuTekTeam.165430

According to Mower, not all segments of the processed foods industry are addressing public concerns about sodium in food with the same level of seriousness. He views makers of processed meat and poultry as early adapters of sodium reduction and sees the management of those companies recognizing it as something they need to address. Mower also states that other important food categories are lagging in their efforts, but feels they’ll make progress.

Mower addresses the cheese and dairy category as being number two behind processed meat and poultry in their efforts to reduce sodium, and he views bakery being the furthest behind. But, with the announcement from the Centers for Disease Control showing bakery as the number one source of sodium in the diet, Mower believes there will be more recognition that the bakery industry needs to move on sodium reduction.

Sodium Reduction Pressure Increases on Food Manufacturers

Food manufacturers are under increasing pressure to lower sodium in their products as more cities, states and national health organizations partner to work towards reduction of salt in packaged and restaurant foods.

Sodium Pressure

In 2010, the National Salt Reduction Initiative (NSRI), a voluntary, national initiative to reduce the levels of salt in foods by as much as 25 percent over the next five years, was conceived by health officials in New York. After two years, the initiative still has cities, states and organizations hopping on board, putting pressure on food manufacturers to lower the sodium content in their products. In January 2012, the Arizona Department of Health Services joined the initiative and is working to educate health practitioners, seniors, parents, children and all residents about the dangers of too much salt in the diet. According to the NSRI, if the national initiative is successful, it could prevent 10,000 deaths annually which are caused by high blood pressure and associated diseases.

Aside from the NSRI, the Center for Science in the Public Interest recently sent a letter to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) criticizing them for not introducing mandatory sodium reduction levels. As diets continue to be too high in sodium, contributing to tens of thousands of premature deaths each year and billions in medical costs, the FDA has not taken any action to control the salt in packaged or restaurant foods. In the letter, it stated that upwards of 100,000 lives could be saved annually if sodium levels in packaged and restaurant foods were halved.

For food manufacturers, the pressure isn’t going to let up. In fact, it’s going to continue to get stronger. Reducing the salt levels in packaged and restaurant foods will increase consumer choice. Anyone can add more salt at the table, but consumers can’t remove what was added during production.

Consumers Reducing Sodium

As the sodium-reduction trend continues to grow, so does consumer awareness and concern over the high levels of sodium in the processed foods they eat.

Consumers Cut Sodium

Since the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announcement in early February, many consumers have become more aware of the need to reduce sodium in their diets. According to a recent Mintel report, about half (52 percent) of American adults are currently watching their diet, and 15 percent of them are doing so due to their concerns about salt intake. It was also reported that 44 percent of consumers always or usually consult the Nutrition Facts Panel and/or ingredient list to look at sodium when considering foods.

The number of consumers consulting those labels will increase in 2012 as the new Facts Up Frontnutrient-based labeling system takes off. With this system, sodium content will become more visible to consumers, making it easier for them to make healthy decisions when purchasing food. It will also increase the pressure on food manufacturers to implement sodium reductions in their products.

America’s Best Bakery Contest from bake Magazine

bake Magazine

bake magazine recently held a contest to find America’s best bakery. The contest included six bakery finalists who were chosen by the bake editorial team.

Each bakery owner created a short video where they talked about what they felt made their bakery the best in America. For example, Dan Busken, from Busken Bakery, felt the transparency in management was something of value to share with voters. Rather than discuss what products the bakery offers, Busken shared how he keeps his employees informed by holding an annual company meeting. In another video, Dennis Meyer, from Das Meyer Fine Pastry Chalet, used his video to show how his bakery creates their macaroon sushi pastry. Meyer’s video was very different from Busken’s because it had more of a “baking show” feel.

This contest was a great tool to support the “best” bakeries across the country and provide them the chance to showcase what truly makes them the best. Even though the main goal for bake magazine was to find America’s best bakery, they also acknowledged the readers who voted by enrolling them into a drawing for a free iPad 2. The polls closed March 31, and the winner of the America’s Best Bakery Contest will be announced in the magazine’s May issue.

Bioenergy Ribose Landing Page Features Applications

Bioenergy Ribose, a bioactive ingredient that energizes functional foods and beverages, recently launched a landing page for food manufacturers and developers called The Sweet Taste of Innovation.
Bioenergy Ribose Landing Page

Food applications on the page draw you in. As you move your cursor towards a particular dish, a note card pops out from underneath the plate of goodies with information on the enhanced health benefit Bioenergy Ribose provides. When it comes to marketing a food ingredient, a best practice is to focus on applications to engage your audience and Bioenergy Ribose did just that on their landing page.

There are two options for customers to learn more about how the ingredient functions as an energy source. On one side of the page, there is a notebook titled “The Science of Ribose” linking directly to a downloadable PDF that goes into detail of how Bioenergy Ribose functions as an energy source. And if that’s too scientific and technical, the opposite side of the landing page provides a Post-it note that links you to a small screen with a simplified, easy to understand version of how it all works. Another Post-it note lets you request a sample.

The Bioenergy Ribose landing page is user-friendly and visitors to the site can easily find what they are looking for, whether it’s to request a sample or to learn more about how Bioenergy Ribose functions as an energy source.

 

Gluten-free Food Trends 2012

Gluten-free food continues to be a hot topic in the industry. Mintel, the independent provider of world-leading market intelligence, recently published their first “Gluten-free Foods” report.

glutenfree

The retail gluten-free food market has grown tremendously over the past couple of years with retail sales reaching an estimated $6.1 billion in 2011. According to Mintel, additional factors driving the sales of gluten-free food include the improved taste of products, consumer perception that it’s better for you than traditional food, trendiness, and interest in natural and organic food and beverages.

The Mintel research also showed that wheat allergies affect only a minority of people, but celiac disease is on the rise. Only 1 percent of consumers say they’ve been diagnosed with celiac disease and just 8 percent overall say they are gluten intolerant/sensitive. However, research leads Mintel to believe that many consumers may not realize they are gluten intolerant/sensitive or may be ignoring the signs and symptoms. So the 8 percent overall is probably closer to 15 percent.

As research shows, the gluten-free market isn’t going away; therefore, food companies have significant opportunities to further market their products and capitalize on providing the information, support and products gluten avoiders are searching for.

Ethnic Food Trends for 2012

Ethnic food trends have been a topic of discussion in the industry lately. According to a recent Mintel report, an authentic flavor is the most important factor for consumers when buying or eating ethnic foods. Ethnic foodies also placed importance on all-natural, premium/gourmet or artisanal and reduced fat characteristics in their purchasing decisions.

Ethnic Foods2

According to Mintel, a leading global supplier of consumer, product and media intelligence, ethnic food preparation and consumption have been on the rise over the past several years and will continue to grow. In 2011, ethnic food sales reached nearly $3 billion in sales due to an increasingly diverse population and more frequent home cooking.

When it comes to making ethnic fare at home, Mintel found that a majority of Americans cook Italian dishes. However, Italian cuisine has become so common in the U.S., it’s hardly considered ethnic anymore. Mexican and Chinese food are also common creations whipped up in Americans’ kitchens. There is even a small group of American’s cooking at home that feel one specific ethnicity of food isn’t enough, so they are going “fusion” by mixing elements from various culinary traditions.

Along with the common ethnic food offerings, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine have both seen robust growth in the past year. They are both expected to grow in popularity based on their healthy and convenient positioning.

In today’s market, Americans have more exposure to diverse cultures. So the bar is set high when it comes to what ethnic foods consumers will feel confident about incorporating into their home meal plans. Mintel stresses that marketers must focus on strong new products that will attract consumer attention and give an authentic dining experience that’s convenient and reasonably priced.

Greek Yogurt is the New Celebrity Ingredient

According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, Greek yogurt is becoming a refrigerator staple as consumers seek healthy, “authentic” foods, even though it’s often pricier. In fact, Greek yogurt now accounts for a quarter of the sales in the total yogurt market. In an article posted by the Los Angeles Times, Greek yogurt, overall, has had one of the fastest growth spurts the food and beverage industry has seen in years.

A recent social media post introducing Yasso’s Greek yogurt smoothies sparked a lot of discussion around Greek yogurt and its newfound popularity. Greek yogurt is on an accelerated growth spurt and many popular brands are modifying their products to keep up.

Ben&JerrysGreekYogurt

The increase in popularity behind Greek yogurt led to Ben & Jerry’s latest introduction of their new line of frozen treats. According to their recent press release, four new flavors contain real Greek Yogurt. The new flavors of yogurt, still regarded as indulgent desserts, reap the benefits of containing real Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt is made through a traditional straining process allowing more of the whey to drain out, leaving a thicker, smoother yogurt that’s high in protein and low in fat.

Expect to see more brands incorporating Greek yogurt into their health and wellness products. There always seems to be at least one “Celebrity Ingredient” in the market and Greek yogurt looks to be it for 2012.

National Starch New Ingredient Guide

The choices are endless for food manufacturers when it comes to finding ingredients for new products, improving existing formulations or when looking to save on costs through ingredient replacement or processing efficiencies. To help make these decisions easier, the National Starch Food Innovation/Corn Products International recently published the 2012 edition of its “How to Choose Food Starches” guide.

NS-HowtoGuide4

The guide cross-references a broad line of ingredients with applications across all prepared food and beverage categories. It’s arranged by food segments and divided into subsegments for ease of navigation. Whether the goal is to improve texture, increase shelf life, have a clean label status, enhance nutrition or optimize processing costs, this helpful, user-friendly booklet provides a range of solutions for customers’ formulation needs.

Not only is the guide easy to use, gaining access to it from National Starch Food Innovation’s website is simple. To download a free copy of the booklet, all that’s required is your name, company name and email address. They even give you the option to opt-in to their email list.

The tools and resources don’t stop there. If there are still questions as to which ingredient to choose,National Starch Food Innovation’s technical service team, sensory experts, culinologists, nutritionists and marketers provide hands-on support to help create an ingredient system that will deliver the best results.

National Starch Food Innovation/Corn Products International is doing a great job of educating customers and giving them the tools and resources to fully benefit from their products. Are you doing something similar for your customers? We’d love to hear about the support you offer your customers and the feedback you receive. Let us know by commenting below!

CDC Sodium Announcement Gets Super-Bowl-Sized Media Coverage

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) made a major announcement on February 7, 2012 covering the release of their new report on reducing sodium in American diets. The new report featured the top ten sources of sodium in processed food, with the surprising discovery that foods like bread and processed meats are the leading sources of sodium in consumer diets.

CDC

The announcement drew massive media coverage demonstrating once again that reducing sodium in our diets is a major concern for the American consumer. It’s been estimated that during the course of the seven to ten day news cycle, over 120 million Americans will see or hear a media story on the CDC announcement. That’s nearly 60 percent of adults over the age of 25 and exceeds the audience for the recent Super Bowl.

In a survey sponsored by Nu-Tek Salt, LLC, Universal Information Services estimated that 63.1 million adults saw or heard a feature story on the CDC announcement during the first 36 hours of the news cycle, when 50 percent of impressions are usually recorded. Based on that sampling, the survey estimates 126.2 million impressions total for the full news cycle.

The early coverage was dominated by television, with feature stories appearing on all of the major broadcast and cable networks. Leading the pack was a featured lead story from Brian Williams on the NBC Nightly News.

Media coverage of sodium-reduction efforts has been steadily increasing for several years now. With the Super-Bowl-sized coverage for the CDC sodium-reduction announcement, even more American consumers will be aware of the need to lower sodium in their diets. This could prove to be one of the tipping points for the sodium reduction and replacement ingredient market in food processing and manufacturing.

You’ve Got Mail! Using Email to Promote Traditional Marketing

King Arthur Baking SheetWhen it comes to promoting a traditional media tactic, for example, a monthly subscription newsletter, one of the best ways to engage an audience is to use a new media tactic, such as an email blast.

King Arthur® Flour recently sent an email blast encouraging readers to subscribe to their 24-page bimonthly newsletter, The Baking Sheet®. By purchasing a 1-year or 2-year subscription, all six of the 2011 issues can be purchased for only $5.

The email blast features application photography, a short description that highlights the contents of The Baking Sheet newsletter and a link to a webpage where readers can purchase a subscription.

To further entice readers to subscribe to the newsletter, the email also contains a link to a blog post containing step-by-step photos and instructions for recipes to make pottage, rieska bread and horseradish sauce. If you weren’t hungry before reading the blog post, you will be afterwards.

The email blast even contains social media links to share or repost the recipes and subscription deal.

King Arthur Flour has provided a great example of how to engage clients by encouraging a subscription to traditional marketing using a modern communication tactic. We’d love to hear if you still use traditional marketing tactics with your clients, how they’ve been working for your company and what you do to promote them. Leave us a comment below!

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