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Five Creative Trade Show Display Strategies From IFT18

I had the privilege of attending IFT’s Food Expo this year. As a first timer at the show, I was inspired by all the people, sights and activities taking place. It was a great opportunity to experience the many ways that food ingredient companies take advantage of prominent industry events to help tell their stories and engage with customers.

Below, I dive a little deeper into the top five booth features I found to be the most visually appealing and engaging at IFT18.

1. Packing a Powerful Punch

Having a small space doesn’t mean you can’t get the most out of your trade show graphics. While Bulk by CHO’s booth was small, it had about as much punch as a large booth. The backlit wall was easy to read and had a simple, clean message with shelves to display products – proof that smaller spaces can be just as impacting as larger ones!

Bulk by CHO Trade Show Booth at IFT18

2. Bringing Nature Indoors

I noticed that many companies included natural elements and materials in their displays to help promote messages centered around nature, sustainability and social responsibility. The variety of plants at Tastepoint by IFF certainly caught my attention. Additionally, Ardent Mills’ space included a wooden pergola element, which helped promote its new division, The Annex by Ardent Mills. I also saw companies like Silva International and Blue Marble Biomaterials use wood panels and other building materials to create unique booth designs.

3. Marketing Before the Show

Prior to IFT18, Ingredion sent a direct mail piece offering a free backpack to trade show attendees who stopped by its booth, so of course I had to pay the team a visit at the show. The backpack design, which matched the company’s clean and modern booth design, made an impression as I walked the show floor. Several people even stopped me to ask where I got my backpack! Giveaways like this are always great because they incentivize trade show attendees to stop by your booth and help market your brand.

Ingredion Trade Show Booth at IFT18

4. Engaging Through Interactive Components

Offering engaging activities at your booth can help grab attention and break the ice with visitors. For example, the Bunge Loders Croklaan booth included a chocolate bar taste test, which initiated a conversation between me and an employee working at the booth. Meanwhile, Land O’ Lakes Ingredients had a large interactive screen at the entrance of its booth that brought up various snack-centered flavor trends. DSM organized all its samples around different meals of the day, which made the sampling process less intimidating for such a large space. The booth staff also had small screens that reported various health stats based on skin pigmentation. (See photo of our team member, Jennifer Remsberg, trying it out at the event.)

Interactive booth displays at IFT18

5. Incorporating Handcrafted Looks

Many booth structures also incorporated graphics that had a handcrafted quality look and feel to them, making their spaces seem warm and approachable. For example, Kalsec used its space to create a craft brewery that drew visitors into a bar-like setting with on-tap drinks and snacks featuring various product offerings.

Kalsec Trade Show Booth at IFT18

Overall, I was impressed by the amount of eye-catching booths and interactive displays at IFT18. I highly recommend other food ingredient marketers attend the event in order to stay on top of the latest trends.

Which booth designs made an impression on you? Comment below to share your thoughts.

Tips for Following Up After a Food Industry Trade Show

80% of non-routine sales occur after at least five follow-ups.

Trade shows provide an opportunity for food ingredient companies to reach new prospects, connect with current customers and stay up to date on the latest trends and industry developments. Yet, there is a lot of work that goes into exhibiting at a trade show – and it’s not over the second the trade show floor closes.

To truly leverage your time and resources, it is important to follow up early and often. The following steps can help you maintain top of mind awareness with trade show attendees after the event.

  1. Follow up – Follow up with prospects right away while your brand and conversations are still top of mind. Reaching out to current/potential customers and media contacts in a timely manner can help separate your company from your competition, which in turn can increase your chances of finalizing a deal.
  2. Keep your brand top of mind – Most sales aren’t made until the fourth contact or later. While you don’t want to appear desperate, persistency can help set you apart from others in the industry and increase your chances of closing a sale. After the show, consider sending follow-up emails to discuss what you showcased at the show and any other topics that may be of interest to current and potential customers. This can help you stay visible while offering opportunities to request samples, schedule presentations/meetings or contact your staff directly.
  3. Prepare for your next trade show – As soon as you wrap things up, start thinking about your next event and how you can apply what you learned from the last conference to your next food industry trade show. Remember, choosing to exhibit at a food industry trade show requires a lot of time, energy and resources, so it’s important to begin preparing early in order to get a satisfactory return on your investments.

Trade show marketing is just one of many tactics your company can – and should – incorporate into its integrated marketing communications plan. By preparing in advance and engaging attendees at the show, as well as following up early and often after the event, you can make the most out of your trade show investments. For more information about developing a clear integrated strategy for trade show marketing, please contact us.

Making the Most of Your Investments at Food Industry Trade Shows

The goal of exhibiting at a food industry trade show is to maximize engagement with current and potential customers, but in order to do this, you must have a solid strategy in place. While most of your prep work should be done before the event, there is still work to be done once you arrive on the trade show floor.

The following tips can help you make the most of your time and resources.

  1. Arrive early – Show up a day in advance (or as soon as the show floor opens to exhibitors) to set up your trade show booth and materials. The day of the show, arrive as soon as the floor opens to exhibitors to make sure everything is in place and your staff is prepared.
  2. Be present and approachable – You don’t have a lot of time to make an impact on booth visitors, so make sure your booth design and sales pitch are engaging yet authentic. Focus on the valuable tools and resources you have to offer and how you can help current and potential customers. Additionally, greet all trade show attendees with a smile and welcome them to your booth. Inviting body language and other non-verbal gestures can go a long way.
  3. Identify what’s going on – Keep a copy of the trade show agenda on hand (whether that’s downloading and using the trade show app or having a hard copy of the program) so your team knows what’s happening at all times. This can help you gauge when your booth is likely to experience the most traffic and when things may be slow. If you’re not staffing a booth or have extra team members on hand, attend other trade show sessions and presentations to network and learn more about the latest industry developments.
  4. Befriend the media – It’s important to maintain positive relationships with editors and industry publications by making time for them at the show, as they can help you secure future placement and gain additional exposure. In addition to reaching out in advance via email or media pitch, consider scheduling a time to speak with each contact individually at the show.
  5. Engage in real-time – Pre-scheduling social media content can help save you valuable time at the show, but you will also want to create real-time engagement with attendees and anyone following along from home by sharing live posts with pictures or quotes from keynote speakers at the event. Interactive booth components can also help you increase awareness for your brand and products. For example, our client Ardent Mills recently hosted a #doughthrow (mock pizza-dough-tossing photobooth opportunity) at its 2018 International Pizza Expo booth. By encouraging trade show attendees to share photos interacting with certain elements of the exhibit, Ardent Mills was able to reach more individuals.
  6. Host events – Take advantage of opportunities to interact with customers, prospects and media contacts beyond the trade show floor by hosting events after expo hours. Invite attendees to join you for an offsite happy hour/reception at a local restaurant/bar or consider renting a room or hospitality suite for networking after the show floor closes in the evening. This is another opportunity to have customers/prospects sample foods made with your ingredients and showcase the tools and resources you offer.
  7. Promote thought leaders – Another way to get in front of attendees and to promote your brand is by presenting on a specific topic at the show. If you don’t have time to submit a proposal for an official presentation, consider hosting a mini presentation at your booth. Regardless of how formal it is, it is important to know your audience and tailor your messaging based on who is listening.
  8. Take notes – It can be difficult to remember every conversation you had at a trade show. Most trade shows today have badge scanners or lead generation tools that make it easy for you to track your interactions and exchange contact information. You can also take notes next to each person’s contact information for easier follow-up after the show. If the show doesn’t provide a badge scanner or you are walking the show floor and don’t have the scanner with you, be sure to get your customers’/prospects’ business cards. Once you have their cards, take a second to jot some notes on the back to help you remember the conversations and any follow-ups that need to take place once you’re back in the office.
  9. Stay late – Trade shows can be exhausting, but it’s important to make the most of every minute you have to engage with attendees. By skipping out early, you risk missing out on valuable conversations with current and potential customers and sharing the qualities that make your products or services attractive.

With the right strategies and tools in place, you can better allocate your time and resources for food industry trade shows. Download our trade show best practices report. For more information about developing a clear integrated strategy for trade show marketing, please contact us.

Stay tuned for tips on what to do after a trade show ends.

Tips for Preparing for a Food Industry Trade Show

Picture of KHI email for IFT17 trade show

For a B2B food ingredient brand, marketing at trade shows can be a great way to connect with current/potential customers and media contacts. Yet many companies struggle to generate new business, because they aren’t clear about their goals. To fully leverage your time and resources, it’s important to have a well-defined strategy in place. By preparing in advance, you will be able to make better use of your time and resources during the event.

Aside from selecting the best food industry trade shows for your brand and business, there are several preparations to consider prior to attending or exhibiting. The following steps can help set you on the path toward success and optimize your trade show ROI.

  1. Plan ahead – Begin identifying all the things you need to do several months to a year before the trade show. Review talking points and set up mock discussions to make sure your team is well versed on your company’s brand, goals and key differentiators. Additionally, determine if there are any materials or information you need to submit prior to the show, such as your company bio, logo, presentation proposals, etc.
  2. Set specific goals – Prepare a list of key customer contacts you’d like to touch base with at the trade show and what you’d like to discuss with each person. Additionally, identify the target prospects you’d like to connect with prior to the show, so your team is on the same page when you arrive.
  3. Consider advertising/sponsorship – Trade show advertising and sponsorship are a great way to get your brand in front of key prospects and customers. Consider working with an advertising agency or marketing communications firm that has experience in trade show advertising/sponsorship design to save you valuable time and money. If the agency is familiar with the B2B food ingredient industry, even better! They can help you tailor your messaging in a way that helps differentiate your brand.
  4. Engage with trade media – Sending a press release or media pitch as well as scheduling interviews to share details about your company’s latest products, technology and resources can be a great way to get your brand in front of important media, customers and prospects. Once those interviews are scheduled, establish a spokesperson and equip him/her with talking points to ensure he/she delivers a message that is consistent with your brand.
  5. Position your team as experts – Speaking engagements can make your company appear more valuable to current/potential customers and media contacts. Prior to the show, consider submitting a proposal on a topic you have experience in or feel passionate about in order to position your team as thought leaders.
  6. Utilize integrated marketing – Engage with trade show attendees early on by reaching out to them via email or social media to promote your booth number or information you’ll be sharing at the show. If you are planning to offer samples, be sure to include a note about that as well, as it can help draw more attendees to your booth. To get your brand in front of as many prospects as possible, use trade show hashtags and handles when posting on social media, and retweet trade show posts that may be of interest to your followers.
  7. Schedule appointments – With hundreds of exhibitors and trade show attendees, it can be difficult to make time for everyone. To give everyone the time they deserve, consider inviting key prospects to visit your booth at specified times or scheduling a meeting offsite to grab coffee or a bite to eat.
  8. Design an eye-catching booth – Keep your booth design clean and simple, yet visually appealing with your company’s logo visible on top. Don’t put anything at the bottom of your booth that could potentially be covered by tables, booth staff or trade show attendees. If you don’t have the ability to design the signage in-house, consider partnering with a team that specializes in booth design to ensure you get the best value. For example, we helped our client Corbion design an attention-grabbing booth for the 2018 International Production and Processing Expo. The display, which looked like an old school meat counter, included thought-provoking questions and key benefits to working with Corbion’s meat/poultry experts. The messaging and designs helped differentiate the booth from others at the show.
  9. Brand your presence – Carefully plan out your materials and messaging, so everything aligns. Everything from your booth design to your team’s outfits should look consistent to reinforce your brand.

The right messaging and designs can help set your booth – and brand – apart from others in the industry, which in turn can help optimize your trade show ROI. Partnering with an advertising agency or marketing communications firm that specializes in food ingredient marketing can also help you leverage your time and investments. For more information about developing a clear integrated strategy for trade show marketing, please contact us.

Stay tuned for more tips and tricks regarding what to do during and after a food industry trade show.

Top Five Tips for Becoming an Authentic Leader in the B2B Food Ingredient Industry

Key Takeaways from the 25th Annual ICAN Women’s Leadership Conference

Picture of 2018 ICAN Women's Leadership Conference logo

On Tuesday, our team had the pleasure of attending ICAN’s annual Women’s Leadership Conference. The powerful event, which has been held in Omaha for 25 years, brought together more than 2,700 men and women from across the United States to share tools and resources for becoming successful leaders in the workplace and in all aspects of life. This year’s theme was authenticity.

While the name implies that the event is geared toward women, many of the messages are applicable to all genders and industries, including the B2B food ingredient industry. Below, we compiled a list of the top five takeaways that we believe are relevant for leaders in the B2B food ingredient industry.

  1. Be real – The speakers at ICAN spun the theme of authenticity in many different ways, but the common message was that authentic leadership is what makes a person truly successful in business and in life. Successful B2B food ingredient companies have a stable mission, vision and set of core values. Their leaders understand themselves as well as their teams and business partners/buyers, and they have the ability to disclose that self-knowledge in an effective way that advances their business. Additionally, successful leaders in the B2B food ingredient industry have an open mind for new ideas and fresh perspectives that allow their companies to grow and prosper.
  2. Know yourself – In her opening keynote, Tasha Eurich, Ph.D., spoke about self-awareness as the meta-skill of the 21st century. To be a successful leader, she said it is important to understand how others perceive you and to actively seek feedback. Similarly, for food ingredient companies, it is important to understand how current and potential customers view your brand and your business. Actively seeking input from others can have a direct impact on your performance and success in the industry.
  3. Tell your story – The second keynote speaker, Kindra Hall (a self-acclaimed professional storyteller), explained how the most effective method for capturing attention and increasing revenue is great storytelling. Stories build bridges, and they are more memorable than stating simple facts. As a leader in the food ingredient industry, it is important to tell your company’s story. The key is to highlight the important elements of your brand that directly connect with your current and potential buyers.
  4. Build your team – Dave Logan, Ph.D., discussed tribal leadership and the importance of developing a strong team. Truly great leaders facilitate teams that don’t rely on the leader to function but still value leadership support. Successful leaders also recognize the individual strengths—and weaknesses—of each team member, and they build triads that bring individuals or groups together. This is especially important in the B2B food ingredient industry, as B2B relationships often involve a series of different buyers, sellers, influencers and decision makers. It is important to develop a strong relationship with each audience in order to help your food ingredient company succeed. Recognizing the individual strengths and weaknesses of various departments of your business, such as your R&D, sales and marketing, and customer service staff, can also help create a solid foundation for success. By offsetting weaknesses with specific strengths, you can better utilize team members and departments for greater efficiency.
  5. Encourage diversity – During the closing session, Brittany Packnett and Angela Hucles spoke about the importance of diversity. While Packnett focused on the importance of social change and empowering women in the workplace, Hucles emphasized the importance of recognizing different types of leaders, especially introverts. The common message between the two presentations was that differences—no matter the type—are essential for success. People from diverse backgrounds bring unique information, and their perspectives can often lead to new opportunities. Similarly, the changing demographic landscape of the United States is giving way to a wide variety of cuisine choices in the food and beverage industry. As a result, ethnic cuisine is expected to play a larger role in food and beverage applications over the next five years, as industry players continue to alter their products to accommodate new consumer preferences. By recognizing unique shifts in the B2C industry, leaders in the B2B food ingredient industry can better equip their customers with the tools and resources they need to meet ever-changing and diverse consumer demands, which in turn can help their companies succeed.

No matter what segment of the food ingredient industry your company specializes in, it is important to be real to yourself and to others. By understanding your company’s core values and mission, as well as the people and events that impact your business, you will be better equipped to lead your team to success.

Top Four Flavor Trends Shaping the Food and Beverage Industry in 2018

We wrap up our consumer trends blog series with a brief look at the most talked about food and beverage flavor trends for 2018.

Today’s consumers are increasingly seeking unique food and beverages that can be shared, are globally inspired and pack a flavorful punch. But there’s still something to be said for the power of comfort foods. Below, we discuss the top four flavor trends shaping the food and beverage industry and the ways in which food and beverage manufacturers can capitalize on these trends.

2018 Flavor Trends

Floral and Botanical Flavors

Today’s consumers are looking for products that are made with natural or non-artificial ingredients. As a result, many food and beverage manufacturers are adding botanical flavors to their applications. For example, rose water is becoming increasingly popular in products like cakes, ice cream and drinks due to its ability to add rich, floral notes. The botanical flavor can also add an unpleasant, perfume-like taste if used in excess, so it’s important for food and beverage manufacturers to use caution when incorporating the flavor into applications. Botanical extracts, which are derived from a variety of natural sources like fruits, leaves and flowers, can also bring sweet, fresh aromatics to applications. From topping dishes with whole flower petals to infusing drinks with botanicals like lavender and elderflower, floral and botanical flavors are great for a variety of applications.

Throwback Flavors

Nostalgia also plays an important role in consumer food and beverage preferences today. For example, blue raspberry and jackfruit are great throwback fantasy flavors that are becoming increasingly popular. The nostalgic banana flavor is also returning—but now with some twists. Banana dulce de leche, coffee-banana, caramelized banana, banana-maple, cinnamon-banana and banana-berry are just a few of the many banana-inspired flavor combinations used in popular food and beverage applications today. Even if a consumer has never lived through the time frames associated with these iconic flavors, he or she can still find enjoyment in being transported to the era through the nostalgic flavors, suggests Firmenich, a fragrance and flavor company. Because nostalgic flavors hold such a special place in the hearts of consumers, they work well for innovative food and beverage products.

Everything Flavors

In addition to throwback flavors, re-purposed flavors are also creating a lot of hype across the food and beverage industry. One in particular is the “everything bagel” flavor, which originally got its claim to fame through the baked goods industry. But the everything bagel seasoning isn’t just for bagels anymore. With the perfect mix of poppy seeds, toasted sesame seeds, dried garlic, diced onion and salt, the everything bagel flavor is now everywhere, according to Restaurant Hospitality. “It’s a great combination of flavors because it hits all the major tastes. And from an emotional point of view, it’s familiar to people,” said Snax Gastrobar Sous Chef Chris Ladley. As consumers increasingly demand comforting yet creative flavors, the everything bagel seasoning presents endless opportunities for food and beverage manufacturers to deliver.

Global Flavors

Ethnic cuisines have been popular on restaurant menus for a while, but today’s consumers are looking for ways to enjoy those tastes from the comfort of their homes. With the world at their fingertips—or at least their smartphones—it’s easy for today’s consumers to see what others are eating around the world and naturally want to try those products themselves. To meet these demands, many food and beverage manufacturers are experimenting with signature seasonings, BBQ sauces and marinades from various countries around the world, including Tanzania and Ethiopia, according to the 2018 McCormick Flavor Forecast. North African spices, such as cumin, coriander and cardamom, are also increasing in popularity. The bakery industry is also following suit, with artisan and other globally inspired grains popping up all over. These ethnic-inspired flavors are perfect for pushing everyday dishes to new heights.

Of course, these are just a few of the leading flavor trends. What types of flavor creations are you experimenting with in your applications? Are there other flavors you see on the horizon? Comment below to share your thoughts.

Top Four Grocery Trends Driving the Food and Beverage Industry in 2018

Grocery Trends

We continue our consumer trends blog series with a high-level look at the fundamental shifts that are taking place in grocery retail and how food and beverage manufacturers can capitalize on these changes.

Today’s consumers have a multitude of options to choose from when it comes to purchasing groceries. Most shoppers (76%) buy groceries more than once a week, often to get fresh food, including produce and deli-prepared meals. While most sales still take place in traditional brick-and-mortar stores, retailers now offer grocery delivery and online services through programs like Amazon Fresh and Blue Apron. As the industry continues to evolve, it is important for food and beverage manufacturers to adapt to the following trends if they wish to compete effectively and sell their products via grocery retailers.

Tech-Savvy Shoppers and Aging Populations

Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods for $13.7 billion—a deal that sent shock waves across the entire grocery industry—was arguably one of the most significant changes of 2017. Immediately following the acquisition, the electronic commerce and cloud computing company began making major changes at Whole Foods. Such changes include cutting costs, selling Amazon’s tech brands in stores and internal restructuring, according to an article by Business Insider.

In order to keep pace, it is important for food and beverage manufacturers to recognize their products’ place among these new innovations. By identifying ways to capitalize on the needs of tech-savvy generations and older populations who may have a harder time navigating store aisles, food and beverage manufacturers will be more likely to increase their reach and drive sales for their products. One way to do so is by selling their products online.

Home Delivery

As time-starved consumers and older generations increasingly seek out opportunities for more convenience, they are finding innovative ways to bring the grocery aisles to their doorsteps. In the United States, online grocery sales are expected to reach $41.7 billion by 2022, according to a 2017 report from report from Packaged Facts. This makes it easier for supermarket retailers to free up shelf space for more “exciting” products like fresh, exotic or artisan foods.

Of course, there are also barriers to online grocery shopping. For example, 69 percent of consumers say they are concerned about product freshness, while 62 percent express concern with overall quality. The longer a product stays fresh, the more likely it can be sold online, which places added pressure on food and beverage manufacturers as they seek to increase the shelf life of their products. Through natural sources, such as enzymes and vinegar-based solutions, food and beverage manufacturers can increase the shelf life of their products while meeting demands for natural, simplified ingredients.

Eating Out, At Home

In addition to buying groceries online, many Americans are eating out less and citing cost as the primary reason, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll. But Americans aren’t the only consumers staying home. In a 2016 survey by The Nielsen Company, nearly two-thirds of global respondents said they follow a diet that limits their consumption of certain foods, with higher rates in Africa and the Middle East (84%) and the Asia-Pacific region (72%). With an increased focus on health and wellness and an aging population, more educated and connected consumers around the world are adopting “back-to-basics” mindsets. Often times, this means eating at home in order to avoid artificial ingredients, hormones, antibiotics or genetically modified organisms because less than half of today’s consumers feel their needs are being met by current product offerings. Food and beverage manufacturers have an opportunity to better serve consumers by delivering products to grocery stores and other retailers that are free from unwanted ingredients.

Changing Lifestyles

While the recent shift in dining out is typically associated with economic recessions, economists say it signals a change in consumer lifestyles, particularly among aging millennials. As the nation’s largest living generation, millennials (individuals born between 1980 and the early 2000s) are an important audience for food and beverage manufacturers. In addition to seeking out more convenient food and beverage options that match their busy lifestyles, aging millennials are choosing to spend their money on home cooked meals rather than eating out. When they do dine out, millennials appear to be spending more per restaurant, treating the task as more of an experience rather than simply a means to consume. As millennials become more conservative with their money, food and beverage manufacturers have an opportunity to capitalize on the demand for products that bring indulgent experiences close to home by selling these items to grocery retailers.

Moving forward, it is important for food and beverage manufacturers to understand the fundamental shifts that are taking place in grocery retail and how today’s consumers are driving these changes. By recognizing the growing demand for more healthful products and indulgent experiences, and providing grocery retailers with products that help them deliver on these demands, food and beverage manufacturers will be able to compete more effectively in 2018.

Top Five Consumer Trends Shaping the Food Industry in 2018

Each year, we research food, ingredient and dining trends for the year ahead. In 2017, we focused on clean-label and natural ingredients as well as nonalcoholic beverages, protein-rich snacks and more. Below, we dive into the five biggest trends we believe consumers will look for in 2018.

  1. Transparency
    The natural and clean-label movement is not going anywhere. Today’s consumers are more informed and health conscious than any other generation, creating unique challenges for food companies as they aim to deliver high-quality products with natural and recognizable ingredients. In addition, other natural claims, such as organic, fresh, antibiotic-free, minimally processed and non-GMO, are being used more often in food product marketing, proving transparency to be an effective tactic in engaging with consumers.
  1. Convenience
    It is no surprise that today’s consumers are busier than ever. They want high-quality food and beverage products they can consume on the go. As a result, grocery stores are beginning to offer meal-kit options that provide quick and convenient solutions. In 2017, in-store meal kits surpassed more than $80 million in sales, and they are expected to reach more than $100 million by 2020, according to a recent report by Nielsen. In the coming year, it will be increasingly important for food production companies to provide consumers with convenient, high-quality food and beverage products.
  1. Innovation
    In addition to convenient dining options, consumers are increasingly focused on seeking out innovative meal options that are nutritious, tasty and “Instagram worthy.” Social and environmental issues are also top of mind for many of today’s consumers, especially as we prepare for a world population of 9 billion people. As a result, the food industry is seeking new, environmentally friendly food and beverage solutions. For example, the global market for dairy alternative drinks is expected to reach $16 billion in 2018, according to Innova Market Insights. By using science and innovative technology to advance certain recipes and ingredients, food production professionals can increase their chances of winning over health-conscious consumers.
  1. Guilt-Free Indulgence
    As more consumers seek natural and minimally processed products, the fermented foods craze shows no sign of slowing anytime soon. Now more than ever, food production professionals are repurposing their processes and applications to incorporate more fermentation and cold-brewing options, according to Innova Market Insights’ top five trends for 2018. From kombucha and kefir to kimchi and sauerkraut, gut-loving concoctions are sure to be a hit in the coming year — and the more innovative, the better.
  1. Culinary Heritage
    In its Top Six Food Trends for 2018, Campbell’s Culinary & Baking Institute predicts culinary heritage to be one of the most popular trends. With nearly 1 in 3 Americans consuming foods that contain multicultural flavors at least once a week, food production companies have an opportunity to capitalize on “the personal stories that define our food” by bringing culinary traditions to life.

As consumers’ eating and shopping habits continue to evolve, it is important for food production companies and retailers to ensure they are providing consumers with innovative, healthy and convenient products. Looking ahead, food production professionals should aim to use ingredients that fall under the categories mentioned above if they wish to build trust and gain buy-in from consumers in 2018.

Stay tuned for more insights for the year ahead.

Five Tips for Implementing a Successful B2B Social Media Strategy

B2B social media is an effective communication platform for food ingredient marketers. When implemented as part of an integrated marketing communications plan, B2B social media provides another platform to reach your target audience, which in turn helps build awareness and visibility for your brand. The key is ensuring your content reaches and resonates well with your target audience.

Consider these five tips to communicate and engage with your target audience more effectively through B2B social media.

  1. Know your target audience
    Understand who is responsible for making purchasing decisions for your current and prospective customers, and tailor your messaging to reach and resonate with them based on their unique values and behaviors. You have to look beyond purchasing and communicate with your customers enterprise-wide. Purchase decisions are influenced by a wide range of people throughout the organization, including the marketing team, C-suite executives, R&D and culinary experts.
  2. Distribute information across multiple channels
    Twitter and LinkedIn are effective platforms for B2B food ingredient marketing, but using multiple communication platforms and tactics to affirm your messaging as part of an integrated marketing communications plan only makes it more impactful.
  3. Make your B2B social media content mobile-friendly
    Make sure your B2B social media messages are concise and easily accessible on the go to ensure you are reaching your target audience on the platforms they use most.
  4. Encourage authentic lead generation
    Establishing trust and credibility with millennials—the newest B2B decision makers for food ingredient purchases—through online references and social media reviews/rankings from other B2B social media influencers is essential in growing your business and your brand. Take every opportunity to capitalize on positive feedback and information from social media influencers by repurposing or sharing the content online.
  5. Leverage analytics tools
    Review your social media analytics regularly to better understand what content is most engaging to your target audience. With this information, you can make adjustments as needed to help raise your brand awareness, generate traffic to your website and connect with B2B influencers and decision makers more easily.

With all of that being said, it’s important to remember that there is no magical formula for implementing a successful social media strategy, but the steps above can help point you in the right direction. With a clear understanding of the importance of B2B social media and the values that drive today’s B2B decision makers for food ingredient purchases, you will be one step closer to implementing a successful B2B social media strategy for your company.

For more insight on B2B social media and the impact it can play in food ingredient marketing communications, read part one and two of this three-part blog series:

Millennials: The New B2B Decision Makers in the Food Industry and How to Reach Them Online

As the largest generation in the U.S. labor force, millennials (generally defined as people born between 1980 and the early 2000s) hold a lot of power in the business world. With nearly 73 percent of millennials involved in purchasing decisions for their companies, they have become an important audience for B2B food ingredient marketing—and their coworkers value their insight. More than half of millennials said that people seek them out for their knowledge and opinions, compared with only 35 percent of boomers. By taking the time to observe and engage with this powerful demographic, you will be better equipped to retain current customers and gain new ones.

When it comes to marketing to millennial B2B decision makers, one of the best places to start is social media. After all, it’s where they spend most of their time, and it’s where they go to seek out new information. The following focus areas serve as valuable benchmarks to help you attract, retain and engage with this powerful and influential target audience.

Authenticity

Millennials are different than any other generation. They communicate, make decisions and buy in ways that are unique to their generation. Millennials are also very insightful. They can easily identify when advertisers are giving it to them straight and when they are not. Therefore, it is important to be authentic with your messaging if you want to engage with the new class of B2B decision makers. When possible, share testimonials, case studies, white papers and infographics through B2B social media to establish credibility and value. The more supporting resources and content you have to tell your brand story, the more likely this audience will be to value your brand.

Convenience

As the most tech-savvy generation in history, millennials are extremely active online. They frequently follow and seek out the opinions of social media influencers almost as much as—if not more than—they do their friends or family. To ensure your messaging reaches and resonates well with this demographic of buyers, consider implementing B2B social media strategies that focus on simple messaging with fresh, timely content that is easy to access. Additionally, adding visual content to your B2B social media communication can help you reach millennial decision makers and deliver relevant information in a convenient format.

Credibility

As mentioned, millennials—including those with decision-making power—are more likely to be influenced by their peers than advertisers or the media. In fact, 23 percent of older millennials said they are more likely not to purchase or do business with brands that their friends disapprove of, as opposed to only 12 percent of boomers. Millennials are also more likely to turn to social media to share their gratification (and negative feedback) about brands online. By capitalizing on the influence of millennials on social media, you can gain trust and buy-in from today’s B2B decision makers.

Values

Millennials like to connect their actions to social causes. As a result, food ingredient brands that share their sustainable practices, implement mission-driven strategies or publicly give back to their communities are more likely to attract millennial purchasers. In fact, 37 percent say they are willing to pay more for a brand that supports a cause they believe in. As a food ingredient marketer, you have an opportunity to publicize the do-good values of your company. For example, does your organization practice business sustainably and ethically? Consider blogging about it and sharing it on your B2B social media platforms. Has your team participated in some type of community service event recently? Don’t be afraid to post pictures on your company’s social media feeds, and encourage your employees to share the posts across their personal accounts for greater reach and brand recognition.

At the end of the day, millennials want relevant information they can digest quickly, and the easiest way for them to access this information is through B2B social media. By taking steps to ensure your messaging is authentic, convenient (i.e., accessible on the go), credible and purposeful, you will be more likely to attract, retain and engage with the newest generation of B2B decision makers for food ingredient purchases.

Hi Europe Offers Ingredient Experts and Insights

The biennial Health Ingredients Europe and Natural Ingredients Conference (HiE), produced by the Fi Global team from UBM, will be held in Frankfurt, Germany, from Nov. 29 through Dec. 1, 2016. One of the largest health and nutrition conferences and trade shows in the world, HiE provides a complete overview of the nutrition and wellness industries. International leaders in nutritional food and beverage innovation meet to network with each other and to share their latest healthy ingredient solutions.

As a key part of the event, the Hi Europe Modular Conference will address the biggest challenges and hottest trends in the food industry with over 18 highly focused module presentations from leading industry experts. I am very excited about this year’s conference, where I will be speaking on cutting-edge trends for the industry. Take a look at this short video interview for more information:

My presentation on “Mapping the Diverse Consumer Landscape and Defining the Key Generational Groups” will be on Tuesday, Nov. 29, during the Modular Conference presentations. My presentation on “Best Practices for Food Ingredient Marketers” will be on Wednesday, Nov. 30, at the Industry Insight Theatre on the Expo floor.

Attendees will receive a free copy of our recent research report on “The Next Generation of B2B Customers,” as well as a free copy of our newly updated review of “Best Practices in Food Ingredient Marketing Communications.” I hope you and your colleagues will be able to join me for these presentations during the conference.

You can find additional information about Hi Europe at http://www.figlobal.com/hieurope-conference/, or to register for the conference, visit http://www.figlobal.com/hieurope-conference/attend/register-today.

I look forward to seeing you there.

Best Practices for B2B Food Ingredient Marketers

One of the biggest challenges for food ingredient marketers is customer engagement—getting the attention of customers, capturing their interest in your products and services and converting that into sales. To help food ingredient marketers overcome that challenge, our team of experts continually researches the most successful B2B food ingredient marketing communications industry-wide to develop a set of best practices that have proven to be highly effective in generating awareness, creating engagement and building strong sales relationships with key audiences.

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We recently published a report that showcases these best practices in action with insights into how they help overcome the challenges of customer engagement. We are firm believers that there is no one silver bullet when it comes to utilizing these best practices. They are most effective when implemented within a strategic, integrated marketing communications plan—as it better positions you to engage with prospects and customers in the environments they’re in and on the communication platforms they’re using.

To download a copy of the report, click here.

Joining the Conversation—Telling the Food Science Story

For many years now, the food science community has struggled with how to tell the food science story in the age of increasingly skeptical consumers. With the growth of pseudoscience “experts” and opinion-driven advocates like the Food Babe, food scientists have often felt bewildered about how to bring a rational, science-based voice to the conversation. Even worse, they often feel left out of the conversation entirely and without the tools or skills that they need to join the conversation with the informed view that sound food science can offer.

The struggle to tell the food science story has been an ongoing theme throughout the food industry and a major topic of conversation among food trade associations, as well as at national and international food conferences. But at this year’s annual meeting of the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) in Chicago, the conversation took a major step forward as several keynote speakers and featured panel discussion sessions took the topic head-on and started to offer food scientists the strategies and the tactics they need to start using their storytelling skills to effectively deliver the food science message.

During the IFT Leadership Summit, one of the featured speakers was Trevor Butterworth, a co-founder of the non-profit, non-partisan Sense about Science organization. His presentation on “Effective Science Communication” provided practical tips and real-world examples of how food scientists can effectively engage with the mainstream media to tell their story. He emphasized transparency, authenticity and presenting science in simple, easy to understand stories. He also urged spokespeople to “know your audience” and engage with them in conversations instead of attacking them for their lack of scientific literacy. The Sense about Science group has even published “A Media Guide for Scientists” with practical advice on dealing with journalists before, during and after a media interview.

A featured panel discussion during the IFT16 scientific sessions focused on “Food Trends vs. Food Fads.” The IFT_07558_InsideImageindustry experts on the panel all agreed that the food-science community needs to do a better job of presenting the food-science story to consumers. The panel discussed the explosive growth in social media and the need for food scientists to participate in the “two-way conversation” regarding processed food and functional ingredients necessary in delivering a safe, nutritious and abundant food supply, especially in the area of clean labels and simple ingredients. Food Business News reported on the panel in a feature story on “The complicated reality of simple ingredients.”

Also at IFT16, a keynote address from Bev Postma, an international food policy specialist, drew a standing room only crowd.  Titled “Taming Dragons in the Age of Pseudoscience,” Ms. Postma’s presentation focused on how to engage the pseudoscientists and the opinion-driven advocates in meaningful conversations to help tell the food-science story. She offered several direct ideas to food scientists to help build an emotional connection during those conversations including:
1.    Enter every conversation assuming there is something to learn.
2.    Express empathy and genuinely seek to understand the other side’s positions.
3.    Listen with the intent of building mutual understanding.

As Ms. Postma pointed out, once an emotional connection is made, scientists can steer the conversation to the many ways that science and technology can benefit consumers and their food supply.

By far the most important new development at IFT16 was the increased willingness of the food-science community to join in the ongoing conversation and become more proactive in telling the food-science story. Expect to see more activity and media coverage as more food scientists and their spokespeople get involved in talking about all of the important and necessary benefits that food science brings to our rapidly growing world.

B-to-B Marketers Need to Tell Brand Stories

FoodNavigator Feature Says: “Ingredient Suppliers have brand story to tell too.”

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Mark Hughes, president of Anderson Partners Food Ingredient Marketing, recently had an extended conversation with FoodNavigators’ Maggie Hennessy on the need for food ingredient suppliers and marketers to tell their brand stories as part of their marketing communications plans. They talked about how the best ingredient marketers create premium positions for their products that differentiate them from their competitors and create value perceptions that let them break through the clutter of other commodity ingredient products. Maggie wrote a feature on the conversation for FoodNavigator that can be found here.

Food ingredient marketers can use the same branding techniques as consumer food products in telling their stories to their B-to-B customer and prospect audiences. By focusing on the best practices of other successful ingredient companies, food ingredient marketers can build authentic brand stories that resonate and engage their audiences. Content marketing strategies and B-to-B social media platforms can help spread the word and build an even wider audience. All of the principles of good branding and the branding strategies and tactics that apply to consumer products can be successfully deployed to support the ingredient product brand as well.

The most successful food ingredient companies we see are those that execute fully integrated marketing plans to tell their stories and create premium positions for their brands. You can see examples of these brands and case histories on the Best Practices section of our website. Highlights include best practices like featuring ingredient applications, branding product sample packaging, content marketing tactics and trade show strategies. We also put together a Food Ingredient Marketing Best Practices Report designed to help you develop more successful food ingredient marketing communication programs.

If you have brand stories you are telling about your food ingredient products, we would love to hear about them in the comments.

 

Branding Your R&D Capabilities

Recently, we wrote about the impact that the clean-label movement is making throughout the food ingredient industry and how that impact influenced a lot of the messaging we saw at IFT this year. As the food industry continues to ride the wave of reformulations and better-for-you product rollouts, a flurry of action is taking place within one of the most important parts of many food ingredient companies—the R&D division—whose talents and innovative thinking make ingredients come to life in customer applications.

Companies that promote the resources and capabilities of its R&D is nothing new in food ingredients. However, we’re seeing more and more companies going beyond simply giving this team of experts a brief write-up and taking the extra step to fully brand this part of its company.

Here are some of the more memorable ways companies are creating a brand around its R&D—tactics that include memorable monikers, logo treatments, dedicated websites and unique characters:

Anyone who’s familiar with TIC Gums has seen the Gum Guru who represents the expertise and accessibility of the company’s team of food scientists. The frequent and consistent use of this character through all of the company’s branding has made the Gum Guru not just the symbol of its R&D but the symbol of the entire company, as demonstrated by its official tagline—We’re your Gum Guru. Its blog, video library and trade show mascot are just a few of the many ways TIC Gums has put the Gum Guru character in action to define the brand of the company.

Bungebiic.com is a website devoted to the Bunge Ingredient Innovation Center, and you’ll see how it’s designated its innovation teams “the oil experts” and “the milling experts,” along with accompanying logos. It’s also named its mobile food truck MOE for “mobile oil experts” and has even given the truck its own twitter feed: twitter.com/bungemoe.

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Naturex has a network of seven regional application laboratories around the world to support clients in its transition to applications made with natural ingredients. In a smart branding move, it’s named this network SPRINGlab for Sharing Product Ingenuity.

Chef’s Corner is a robust area of the Red Arrow website featuring several videos of its corporate chefs sharing tips and techniques on enhancing the flavor of various products, as well as a library of recipes organized by product category, food source and cooking method.

As you can see, food ingredient companies know that selling the capabilities and knowledge of a team tasked with making the R&D process a positive experience for food manufacturers is just as important as selling products. Branding these teams is a great way to bring personality to people who are key to a successful customer relationship.

Guest Correspondent Mark Crowell Shares How to Hire the Right Consultant

This week we feature guest blogger Mark Crowell, founder and principal culinologist at CuliNex, sharing his thoughts on the kinds of questions you need to ask yourself in order to hire a consultant who’s a good fit for your needs. CuliNex is one of the food industry’s premier consulting firms providing product development and strategic business services focused on clean label food products.

Choosing the right product development consultant to help make your product development dreams come true is a daunting task and can feel like a risky gamble. Because they are usually providing a service, there’s no physical product to evaluate, so you’re largely making your decision based on your research and what the consultant tells you. Selecting one that is a good fit for your needs can literally make the difference between the success and failure of your project.

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So how do you remove some of the risk and tilt the odds in your favor? Not surprisingly, doing your homework is a big part of it. The better you understand the consultant’s capabilities and your own needs, the easier it will be to suss out if the fit is a good one. Here are some of the most important questions to ask and the kind of answers you should be ready to provide:

On the consultant side of things

  • Does your consultant specialize in the work you need accomplished or is it just a sideline for them? What is their track record with projects of your type? Do they have case studies, testimonials, and references they can provide you?
  • What size companies do they prefer to work with? If you are entrepreneurial and scrappy, and they work with Fortune 500 companies, that could be an issue.
  • What is their operating philosophy? Do they only do projects from start to finish or do they offer their service a la carte?
  • Do they want a long-term relationship or are they just interested in a one-time project?
  • Can they relate to and understand your company and your customers?
  • Do they have the level of business sophistication that you require?
  • Do they get what you are trying to accomplish? That’s going to make a big difference in how quickly they can get up to speed with your project.
  • How do they charge for their services? What happens if the project scope changes or the project is delayed?

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On your side

  • You will want to make sure your consultant understands your company and your project (and you, if you are going to be the point of contact).
  • Do you have a good project definition? Have you done your homework on the project’s business justification? How well have you defined the product opportunity? How does it fit with your brand and overall strategy? What kind of value is it going to add if successful? (This should lead you to some conclusions regarding what a reasonable R&D budget will be).
  • Have you done any consumer research on the intended target market?
  • Which services are you going to need from the consultant? Will the consultant be working as part of a cross-functional team or working on his or her own, independent of others? What roles and responsibilities will other people in your company have (e.g. approver, champion, contract administrator, accounting, market research, etc.)?
  • What is your gut sense about them? Do they inspire confidence? Are they trustworthy?
  • Are they easy to understand and communicate with? Are they organized? Do they seem to have a system? Are they efficient?

By doing your homework and ensuring a good fit between your consultant, your project, and your company, you can go a long way toward turning a crap shoot into a long lasting, mutually beneficial, strategic relationship.

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B2B Social Media for Food Ingredient Marketers Part 3

In parts 1 and 2 of our series, B2B Social Media for Food Ingredient Marketers, we looked at the growth of B2B social media, the importance of utilizing platforms that your audience is using and engaging with those individuals enterprise-wide. To wrap up our series, we’ll look at how to integrate B2B social media into your overall marketing communications plan.

It’s important to look at B2B social media as an additional platform to communicate and connect with your audience. We see food ingredient companies having the most success when they use social media in conjunction with other content marketing platforms. In the integrated content marketing and B2B social media model below, we look at the website as being the hub for content. A best practice we see in the industry is food ingredient marketers utilizing a blog on their website as a source for original content. A blog is a great platform to further engage your target audience by sharing insights, trends and more detailed information around the products and services you offer that would be helpful to new product development and reformulations. What really helps drive your target audience to your products and services, knowledge and expertise is how and where you share that content to push it beyond your website.

Integrated Content Marketing and B2B Social Media Model

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Email marketing is a tactic that provides you a platform to communicate your message and share your content. Combining email marketing with social media increases your message reach and amplifies exposure. As we mentioned in part two of our series, professionals enterprise-wide from your customer audience are engaged in social media beyond personal use. They use it to gather information to help guide them on their purchasing decisions and product development.

We see a lot of companies having great success with this approach. Tyson Food Service is a great example. Tyson Food Service has a website and blog where they share relevant content to their audience. They use email marketing and social media channels such as LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube to further communicate their message, broaden visibility to their brand and engage with their audience.

When you incorporate B2B social media into an integrated content marketing model, similar to how Tyson Food Service has done, you create a feedback loop with your target audience allowing you to engage in discussion with individuals, learn more about what’s important to them and increase your marketplace success.

We would like to hear how you are doing with B2B social media. Write us directly or comment here with your own success stories.

B2B Social Media for Food Ingredient Marketers Part 2

Part one of our series on B2B social media for food ingredient marketers highlighted how social media use among food ingredient companies has skyrocketed in the last five years. In part two of the series, we will explore the food ingredient industry’s use of B2B social media and the key audiences to connect with online.

With the sheer number of individuals using social media, and the fact that it is used for professional and personal engagements, it can be hard to identify who’s out there. When it comes to B2B food industry social media use, there are many professionals using LinkedIn and Twitter as their primary social media platforms:

  • Your competition
  • Your customers
  • Your customers’ consumers
  • Trade media publishers and editors
  • Industry associations

When it comes to selling your ingredients, there are a number of individuals from your customer companies who have an influence on what ingredients are included in their products. You’ve got to look beyond purchasing and communicate and engage with your customers and target audience enterprise-wide. Engaging with individuals enterprise-wide means you have to market your product in such a way that is relevant to each audience.

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  • C-Suite Executives – may not be directly involved in the purchasing of ingredients, but are overarching influencers of what ingredients are incorporated into their products.
  • Purchasing – influenced by cost, supply chain and food safety.
  • Marketing Executives – look at the benefits and advantages of using ingredients in their products to help them market and sell their finished goods.
  • Research Chefs – are interested in food trends, culinary arts and the science of food.
  • Innovation Experts – focused on trends and what consumers are looking for as well as what new technologies are available to enhance their products or develop new applications.
  • Food Scientists – look for information regarding food safety, quality, developing new formulations and applications.

Most of these individuals are active on social media every day. They participate on Twitter as well as on LinkedIn by sharing news articles, food industry trends and information about their company’s latest innovations. Most of these individuals engage in discussion by using relevant hashtags in their Tweets and also by commenting on LinkedIn Pulse Posts and LinkedIn group discussions that are relevant to their business. They gather information from social media to help guide them on their purchasing decisions and product development. That’s why it’s important for food ingredient marketers to use B2B social media—it’s where their audience is. Using social media as another communication platform keeps your message and brand top of mind.

In part three of our series on B2B social media for food ingredient marketers, we will share the steps food ingredient marketers can take to launch a social media plan as part of an integrated marketing plan. Until then, we would love to hear how your company is using social media to target and engage with individual influencers.

B2B Social Media for Food Ingredient Marketers Part 1

Social media has come a long way in the food industry. A communication platform that was once used primarily for personal use is now a professional engagement tool for B2B food ingredient marketers. As more B2C food manufacturers adopt social media into a marketing channel for their products, it provides an opportunity for B2B food ingredient companies to engage with their target audience in new ways.

In our three-part series on the social media effect on B2B marketing, we will first explore the growth of B2B social media use in the food industry and how social media is influencing B2B food ingredient marketing. In part two of our series, we’ll look at who is utilizing social media in the B2B food ingredient space and how they’re utilizing the various platforms. To wrap up the series we will show you an integrated marketing model your company can use to launch and maintain a successful social media presence.

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In the last five years, the use of social media in B2B food ingredient marketing has grown significantly. In 2014, the top two platforms used by B2B food ingredient marketers were LinkedIn and Twitter. We will continue to see these as the top two platforms in 2015, however, Facebook, YouTube and Google+ will also show some significant growth and provide additional platforms B2B food ingredient marketers can use to extend their brand visibility and engage with their target audience.

The rapid growth of B2B food ingredient social media use has changed the way B2B decision makers make a purchase. Because of all the information and resources food ingredient companies are routinely sharing on social media, 74% of decision makers use LinkedIn when making a purchase decision and 42% use Twitter. In addition to B2B social media influencing decision makers, 81% turn to blogs for assistance with their purchasing decisions.

As a communication platform that is ongoing—24 hours a day, 7 days a week—social media has become a virtual trade show for the B2B food industry. Establishing social media channels as part of your B2B food ingredient marketing communications plan extends the visibility of your brand and messaging, and provides another platform to engage with your target audience.

In part two of our B2B social media for food ingredient marketers series, we will discuss who the key influencers are that food ingredient companies should be targeting on social media and how to engage with them on the various platforms. Until then, we would love to hear your thoughts on the growth of B2B social media in food ingredient marketing in the comments below.

B-to-B Marketers Need to Tell Brand Stories

FoodNavigator Feature Says: “Ingredient Suppliers have brand story to tell too.”

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Mark Hughes, president of Anderson Partners Food Ingredient Marketing, recently had an extended conversation with FoodNavigators’ Maggie Hennessy on the need for food ingredient suppliers and marketers to tell their brand stories as part of their marketing communications plans. They talked about how the best ingredient marketers create premium positions for their products that differentiate them from their competitors and create value perceptions that let them break through the clutter of other commodity ingredient products. Maggie wrote a feature on the conversation for FoodNavigator that can be found here.

Food ingredient marketers can use the same branding techniques as consumer food products in telling their stories to their B-to-B customer and prospect audiences. By focusing on the best practices of other successful ingredient companies, food ingredient marketers can build authentic brand stories that resonate and engage their audiences. Content marketing strategies and B-to-B social media platforms can help spread the word and build an even wider audience. All of the principles of good branding and the branding strategies and tactics that apply to consumer products can be successfully deployed to support the ingredient product brand as well.

The most successful food ingredient companies we see are those that execute fully integrated marketing plans to tell their stories and create premium positions for their brands. You can see examples of these brands and case histories on the Best Practices section of our website. Highlights include best practices like featuring ingredient applications, branding product sample packaging, content marketing tactics and trade show strategies. We also put together a Food Ingredient Marketing Best Practices Report designed to help you develop more successful food ingredient marketing communication programs.

If you have brand stories you are telling about your food ingredient products, we would love to hear about them in the comments.

 

New Website Provides Free Resources for Food Ingredient Marketers

A recently launched website designed around the needs of food ingredient marketing professionals, apfoodingredients.com, aims to help food ingredient companies overcome the challenges of customer engagement. The site provides examples of successful marketing programs that utilize industry best practices—giving visitors strategies and tactics they can utilize within their own marketing plans. It also features a blog devoted to the food ingredient industry, indepth, as well as industry news from a variety of prominent food ingredient publications.

APFIMNewWebsitePressReleaseDeveloped by Anderson Partners Food Ingredient Marketing (APFIM), the site lets marketing professionals gain insights on a variety of topics including: marketing campaigns, trends, industry events and best practices in food ingredient marketing. A portfolio shows best practice examples that have been pivotal in successful marketing programs. Visitors can also search the site for articles and resources they need to help them identify opportunities to increase brand awareness and drive sales.

Mark Hughes, president of APFIM, stated, “With the launch of this new website, our audience can access resources to help them develop effective marketing campaigns aimed at enterprise-wide customer engagement. Having worked with some of the industry’s largest food ingredient companies, we know what matters most to the different B-to-B audiences and how companies can adapt their marketing communication models in an ever-evolving market landscape.”

Best Practice: Branded Sample Packaging from Land O’Lakes Ingredients

Over the years, we’ve received numerous product samples from food ingredient companies and routinely, they arrive in plain baggies or boxes with simple product labels. We feel these particular sample packages—ones that land in the hands of customers—are missed opportunities for brand reinforcement and targeted sales messaging. As an industry best practice, branding product sample packaging will make a lasting impression among the customers and prospects who receive your samples.

A great example of this industry best practice is one sent out by LOL-IMG_9871Land O’Lakes Ingredients. For the introduction of their Green Chile Queso dairy seasoning, Land O’Lakes Ingredients mailed a sample package that consisted of a branded box with an engaging call-to-action message that said “Check inside for another bright idea from Land O’Lakes Ingredients.”

Along with the branding on the outside of the box, the inside of the lid contained a strong marketing message and also featured a branded trifold brochure that defined the ingredient product and sample application within the package. The brochure also had a call-to-action that provided customers and prospects the contact information to learn more and/or order the Green Chile Queso dairy seasoning.

In addition to the branded box and collateral, each of the samples contained a branded label that clearly detailed the contents of the container. The Green Chile Queso tortilla chips application sample had a simple white label with the Land O’Lakes Ingredients logo, while the Green Chile Queso dairy seasoning sample had a branded label that matched the look and feel of the brochure and box it was shipped in.

All in all, Land O’Lakes Ingredients’ Green Chile Queso sample package provides another great example of following the industry best practice of branding sample packaging—using it as a tool to communicate with customers to reinforce the brand and deliver a strong targeted message.

Ingredient Suppliers Have a Brand Story to Tell, Too

Our industry expert, Mark Hughes, recently spoke to Maggie Hennessy from FoodNavigator-USA and provided his insights for an article about industry best practices in food ingredient marketing. The article, Anderson Partners: Ingredient Suppliers Have a Brand Story to Tell, Too, presents effective branding and marketing opportunities for food ingredient companies to adapt into their marketing communication platforms that will help them demonstrate the value of their ingredients in their customers finished products.

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From industry best practices such as branded sample packaging, featuring ingredient applications, growing an internet footprint and enterprise-wide communications, the article highlights the importance of delivering your brand story and maintaining visibility in as many venues as possible to reach your audience and increase marketplace success.

Mark Hughes will be speaking more to this topic in a workshop titled, Best Practices in Food Ingredient Marketing Communications in London at the Fi Global Summit on Sept. 23.

Best Practice: Bioenergy Ribose Landing Page Features Ingredient Applications

In a recent blog post, we shared an example of an industry best practice in food ingredient marketing—branded sample packaging. Another industry best practice we see helping food ingredient companies reach their customers enterprise-wide is featuring ingredient applications.

Bioenergy Ribose - Sweet Innovation Landing PageBioenergy Life Science (Bioenergy) launched a landing page called The Sweet Taste of Innovation for its ingredient, Bioenergy Ribose—a bioactive ingredient that energizes functional foods and beverages. Like most ingredients in the industry, Bioenergy Ribose on its own is a white powder. Rather than show its white powder ingredient to customers, Bioenergy features an array of food applications in confectionary, beverage and bakery that incorporate Bioenergy Ribose on its landing page—presenting customers the value the ingredient can bring to their products. In addition to visually showing the applications, the landing page engages customers as they navigate around the landing page—by simply moving their cursor over a particular application, a pop-up appears providing customers with additional information on the enhanced health benefits Bioenergy Ribose provides.

As customers scroll through the landing page, they can see additional applications and also learn about the advantages of incorporating Bioenergy Ribose and the science behind the ingredient. The landing page also engages customers through a “request a sample” form and gives them the opportunity to interact with the experts at Bioenergy Life Science through links to their social media platforms.

By incorporating the industry’s best practice of featuring ingredient applications, Bioenergy Life Science is able to visually present the value Bioenergy Ribose can bring as an ingredient to its customers’ products.

Fi Global Summit Workshop: Best Practices in Food Ingredient Marketing Communications

From Sept. 23-25, thought leaders from the food and beverage industry across the globe will be brought together at the Fi Global Summit to inspire new ideas around ingredients, innovation and trends.

In his workshop titled Best Practices in Food Ingredient Marketing Communications, Mark Hughes, president of Anderson Partners Food Ingredient Marketing, will share valuable insights about the ever-evolving market landscape for food ingredient companies, and how companies can effectively utilize newer communication platforms for successful business-to-business marketing plans.

During the workshop, attendees will gain real-time knowledge to increase marketplace success in key categories including bakery, beverage, dairy, retail-own brands and confectionary, as well as target audiences within those categories including CEOs, marketing, R&D and purchasing.

Keeping Customers EngagedThe workshop will include specific case histories from leading global companies on successful strategies and tactics. Examples will cover engaging with customers through enterprise-wide communications; successful strategies and tactics to increase brand awareness and drive sales; and incorporating new marketing communication models to execute a fully integrated business-to-business marketing plan.

To learn more about the Fi Global Summit and to view a complete conference program, click here.

Best Practice: Chiquita Fruit Solutions’ Branded Sample Packaging

To make a lasting impression among the customers and prospects who receive samples, it’s an industry best practice to brand your product sample packaging. Chiquita Fruit Solutions made an impact with its branded sample packaging that simply stated “Open Your Imagination.”

Chiquita Sample PackaingChiquita Fruit Solutions created a unique sample package for its 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 its 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 its brand and deliver a targeted message to its customers—and hopefully open some imaginations.

Ardent Mills Mobile Innovation Center: Driving Grain Innovation to Customers

Ardent Mills IFT Booth

As mentioned in our IFT ҅14 Round Up blog post, Ardent Mills unveiled their newly formed company that combines the operations of ConAgra Mills and Horizon Milling and introduced their new customer engagement vehicle, the Mobile Innovation Center (MIC).

At 57-feet-long, the MIC is a state-of-the-art culinary center with a multipurpose platform designed to bring on-site culinary creativity, hands-on education and interactive R&D support right to customers’ front doors. A converted NASCAR truck featuring two levels with plenty of storage, the MIC has the flexibility to change out equipment to fit the needs of customers at their locations or at community events that it travels to. The Mobile Innovation Center carries a wide variety of ingredient products, a full suite of culinary and commercial baking equipment and a multipurpose meeting space with audiovisual capabilities to aid in education and ideation when onsite.

Ardent Mills Rig and Trailer BackWith the Mobile Innovation Center, Ardent Mills has a great tool to further engage with customers, helping them turn their next great idea into a reality—right at their doorstep. The Mobile Innovation Center will be driving grain innovation across North America when it goes on the road beginning in the fall of 2014.

Carmi Flavors: Best Practices for Exporting US Food & Beverage Products Overseas

As mentioned in a previous blog post, Carmi Flavors does a great job of content marketing through their targeted email newsletters. We’ve recently partnered with them on sharing content. Featured below is an article that was written by Lindsey Radek from Carmi Flavors about best practices for exporting US food & beverage products overseas.

Best Practices for Exporting US Food & Beverage Products Overseas
Author: Lindsey Radek, Carmi Flavors

The US-China Business Council’s (USCBC) annual report on US State Exports to China shows that the world’s second-largest economy continues to be an important market for the economic health of American companies and farmers. In 2013, US exports to China reached $120 billion, making it the third-largest export market for US goods behind Canada and Mexico.

These numbers show the growing potential for US food and beverage companies looking to expand their brand beyond American soil. We recently sat down with Peter Guyer, president of Athena Marketing International (AMI), a leading consulting firm in global food and beverage exportation, and picked his brain on the best way to take advantage of the growing international food and beverage markets.

AMI works in more than 130 countries, importing US food & beverage products, specifically Europe, Asia and South America. Guyer added AMI has seen a recent increase in demand in the Middle East and Africa.

Guyer’s Top Tips for Successfully Exporting your Product:

  1. Comply with packaging regulations: Research the country’s packaging requirements that you are targeting.
  2. Write ingredients in the appropriate foreign language.
  3. Comply with import regulations: Make sure there are no ingredients that are prohibited—a lot of preservatives used in the US are prohibited in foreign countries. For more information, read the recently revised country requirements from the USDA.
  4. Best selling products include mass market items: potato chips, snack foods and meat products—products that are well-known in foreign countries.
  5. Products that are novel, innovative and new do well: The markets are smaller, therefore sales are lower but the growth rate is high.
  6. Europe is hot: They are just getting out of a lengthy recession and their buying power is coming back to where it was five years ago.
  7. Attend/Exhibit major international trade shows: Particularly in Europe—ANUGA Cologne and SIAL Paris. Guyer said Gulfood in the Middle East is a trade show you can’t miss. And, Asia has many major trade shows, but they are more segmented by categories within food and beverage.

More From AMI

 

Carmi Flavors Uses Channel-specific Email Marketing to Target Customers and Prospects

We are always on the lookout for good content-marketing campaigns. One of the platforms we look to is email. Email marketing is considered a best practice to use for generating sales leads. Since most people, on average, receive over a hundred emails a day, email marketing can have its challenges. But, those challenges can easily be overcome with the right message, creative visuals and relevant links to sources of information for customers and prospects.

Carmi Flavors E-newslettersCarmi Flavors uses targeted email marketing, broken out by channels like Beverage, Bakery, Pizza and Restaurant, to reach its customers and prospects. We recently received an e-newsletter from Carmi Flavors called Beverage Exchange. The e-newsletter focused on the marketplace and industry news topics that would be of interest to its beverage manufacturer customers and prospects. The e-newsletter had a table of contents, with each headline linking to the relevant article or heading within the e-newsletter, allowing readers to easily navigate the content based on their interest. In addition to interactive and engaging content, Carmi Flavors also incorporated a beverage application photo—another best practice in the food ingredient industry.

Aside from distributing the e-newsletter, Carmi Flavors posts a link to the web version of the e-newsletter on its website, along with the other channel-specific e-newsletters it distributes.

By using targeted email marketing campaigns, Carmi Flavors can showcase its knowledge of each channel and provide relevant information to the specific food manufacturers its sales teams are targeting. Many sales forces find it difficult to penetrate R&D, product development and marketing departments on their own. With the use of email marketing, sales teams are provided a detailed tracking report that shows them who has opened and clicked on links within the email—what we would consider a follow-up list of qualified leads.

Carmi Flavors provides us a great example of the best practice of using email marketing to target customers and prospects to generate qualified sales leads. To learn more about this best practice as well as other industry best practices, click here to request a copy of our Best Practice Research Report for food ingredient marketers, or if email marketing is something you’d like more information on and want help incorporating it into your marketing communications, let us know.

Land O’Lakes Green Chile Queso Sample Packaging Has Some Kick

Over the years, we’ve received numerous product samples from food ingredient companies and routinely, they arrive in plain baggies or boxes with simple product labels. We feel these particular sample packages—ones that land in the hands of customers—are missed opportunities for brand reinforcement and targeted sales messaging. As an industry best practice, branding product sample packaging will make a lasting impression among the customers and prospects who receive your samples.

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A great example of this industry best practice is one we recently received from Land O’Lakes Ingredients. For the introduction of their new Green Chile Queso dairy seasoning, Land O’Lakes Ingredients mailed out a sample package that consisted of a branded box with an engaging call-to-action message that said “Check inside for another bright idea from Land O’Lakes Ingredients.”

Along with the branding on the outside of the box, the inside of the lid contained a strong marketing message and also featured a branded trifold brochure that defined the ingredient product and sample application within the package. The brochure also had a call-to-action that provided customers and prospects the contact information to learn more and/or order the Green Chile Queso dairy seasoning.

In addition to the branded box and collateral, each of the samples contained a branded label that clearly detailed the contents of the container. The Green Chile Queso tortilla chips application sample had a simple white label with the Land O’Lakes Ingredients logo, while the Green Chile Queso dairy seasoning sample had a branded label that matched the look and feel of the brochure and box it was shipped in.

All in all, Land O’Lakes Ingredients’ Green Chile Queso sample package is a great example of turning a product sample package into a customer communication tool that reinforces the brand and delivers a strong targeted message.

Visit our website to learn more about the industry best practice of branding your product sample packaging. To get a detailed analysis of marketing communications in the food ingredients industry, click here to request a copy of our Best Practice Research Report for food ingredient marketers.

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.

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

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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.

 

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.

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.

 

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!

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!

ADM Uses Email Marketing to Sell B2B Services

ADM email

ADM, a large agricultural processor, serves as a link between farmers and consumers. The company works to process crops into food ingredients and other products.

Recently, we received an email blast promoting their ADM Investor Services. Targeting the food ingredient industry, ADM promoted their global risk management services.

This email blast informs readers of ADM’s hedging strategies that help producers and users protect themselves from price risk. Offered within the email, is a downloadable white paper that covers the strategy of managing price risk through hedging commodities.

Through the use of email marketing, ADM sells their service while positioning themselves as a big food ingredient player in the market who provides high level services for their customers.

Use Multiple Publishing Platforms to Communicate Your Message

MalaysiavirgoOur food ingredient team has previously blogged about email blasts being sent from the Sosland Publishing platform. We’d also like to showcase this Malaysia Palm Oil Solution Center email blast sent by the VIRGO Publishing platform. This e-mail, sponsored by The Malaysian Palm Oil Council, promotes a landing page (designed by VIRGO) and contains facts, links, slideshows and videos on this important vegetable oil.

While there are various food ingredient publishers out there, it’s important to remember them all when communicating your message. Using different publisher platforms when it comes time to blast your email, often means distributing your information to different and additional audiences. Reaching your readers by utilizing different e-mail lists can mean extended reach for your company. It’s just as important as utilizing different marketing tactics in order to get your message heard!

Trade Show Best Practices: A Guide for Food Ingredient Companies

Food Industry Trade Show

By planning ahead and utilizing the right strategies, you can better allocate your time and resources for food industry trade shows. Learn more >>

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Industry News – Anderson Partners Food Ingredient Marketing

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