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Sad News: Mark Hughes Announcement

To Our Valued Clients, Friends and Business Partners:

It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of Anderson Partners’ CEO Mark Hughes. Mark passed away on Wednesday, September 13th, after being diagnosed with leukemia in December 2016. Mark handled his illness with grace and humility and focused on the joy found in his family, his work and his friends. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Mark have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor. He has been an integral part of Anderson Partners since 1997, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of our firm.

During his more than 30-year career, Mark became a leading expert in global food ingredient marketing and a recognized thought leader in new communication models like content marketing and B2B social media. He worked on iconic branding initiatives like “Pork. The Other White Meat” and “The Milk Mustache” campaign, as well as successful product launches and marketing for Kraft Heinz Ingredients, Corbion, Ardent Mills, Chiquita Brands International, ConAgra Brands and Land O’Lakes Ingredients. Additionally, he was a frequent speaker at industry events and an active member of the Research Chefs Association and the Institute of Food Technologists. Mark came to be a trusted advisor and confidant to many, and he highly valued the numerous friendships he made throughout the course of his career.

Mark is survived by his wife, Susan, and daughters, Elizabeth and Abigail. On behalf of the entire team at Anderson Partners, I pass along our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones. No words can adequately express our sadness of Mark’s death or our gratitude for the opportunity to work with him. We will continue to hold true to the values that Mark embodied and serve our clients with the same passion and vision that Mark displayed every day.

Memorials may be made in Mark’s memory to: the American Red Cross and University of Nebraska Medicine Foundation (leukemia research).

Sincerely,

Deb Murray
President
Anderson Partners
(800) 551-9737
dmurray@andersonpartners.com
www.andersonpartners.com

Kraft Food Ingredients Hires Anderson Partners Food Ingredient Marketing for B-to-B Marketing Communications Partnership

Kraft Food Ingredients has announced the hiring of Anderson Partners Food Ingredient Marketing as their official agency of record to manage their business-to-business marketing communications efforts.

Kraft Food Ingredients specializes in developing and providing cheese, dairy, confectionery, condiments and sauces for a variety of applications. Kraft Food Ingredients is a part of The Kraft Heinz Company.

Andrew Scribner, vice president and general manager of Kraft Food Ingredients, stated, “Anderson Partners’ marketing experience in food ingredients and their involvement in the industry will be an asset to the Kraft Food Ingredients team. We’re eager to tell the Kraft Food Ingredients story, particularly how we deliver on quality, safety, innovation and service. Working with Anderson Partners will help us communicate the value of today’s Kraft Food Ingredients to our customers and how we can help them make their products more successful in today’s marketplace.”

Mark Hughes, CEO of Anderson Partners, said, “Our team is excited for the opportunity to work with such a well-loved, iconic brand. Kraft Food Ingredients has such a powerful story to share, and we look forward to collaborating with them to communicate it to their customers. This is a new era for Kraft Food Ingredients, and we’re eager to be a part of it and to use our B-to-B marketing expertise to help them accomplish their marketing goals.”

ABOUT KRAFT FOOD INGREDIENTS

Kraft Food Ingredients is a trusted, customer-driven partner to food manufacturers looking for the finest ingredient solutions, including cheese, dairy, confectionery, condiments and sauces. Headquartered in Glenview, Illinois, and built on a renowned history of success and a foundation of quality, Kraft Food Ingredients is the B-to-B ingredient division of The Kraft Heinz Company—the fifth largest food and beverage company in the world. With the unequaled resources of a global leader, including employees in 40 countries, Kraft Food Ingredients helps customers make an impact in today’s marketplace through proven performance, iconic brand solutions, innovative technologies and world-class service.

For more information on Kraft Food Ingredients, visit www.kraftfoodingredients.com.

A Chat With Mark Hughes

Recently our CEO, Mark Hughes, was interviewed for the IFT Student Association blog, Science Meets Food. Mark participated as part of the blog’s “A Chat With…” series, which provides students with information on different careers available in the food industry. Check out the article on Science Meets Food or read through the interview below to learn more about Mark and why he loves being an active voice in the food industry.

A Chat With…Mark Hughes, Marketing & Management Division

Name: Mark Hughes

Job title: CEO

Company: Anderson Partners Food Ingredient Marketing (APFIM), a full-service, B-to-B marketing communications firm specializing in the global food ingredient industry and the unique marketing needs of food ingredient companies.

IFT Division(s) to which you belong:

I am on the leadership committee of the Marketing and Management (M&M) Division, and I am also on the Annual Meeting Scientific Program Advisory Panel (AMSPAP) as an advisor representing the M&M Division.

What is your favorite perk of your current job?

One of the best parts of my role at APFIM is that I get to travel the world, meet some remarkable and interesting people, and gain a greater knowledge of global industry trends and advances. I’ve been fortunate to be invited to speak at international food industry conferences including the Food Ingredients Global Summit in London and the Fi Europe Conference in Paris. In 2016, I was a featured speaker and panelist at the annual meetings of the RCA, IFT and IBIE, as well as at the Hi Europe Conference in Frankfurt, Germany. While in Frankfurt, I had the opportunity to share my knowledge on best practices for food ingredient marketers and how to work with the next generation of B2B ingredient customers.

What’s the most fun experience you’ve had on the job so far?

The Division Networking Reception at the annual IFT meeting is always great. The M&M Division leadership group is always there, and it’s a perfect time to meet new people and recruit new members for the division. But most of all, it’s a lot of fun, and I walk away from the event each year feeling like I just built friendships with some of the coolest people in the world.

 

What do you wish people knew about your current job?

As a participating member of the marketing and food science community, I wish that more people knew about the role food science plays in addressing important global issues like food security and population growth in developing countries. If there’s a trend I’d like to see more of, it would be the industry working together to communicate the food science story to consumers. Demand for transparency has given rise to technologies that enable consumers to learn about the ingredients in the packaged food they buy. But we need to take a global view beyond what 50 million well-off people in North America want. There are still billions of people in underdeveloped parts of the world who we need to consider, people who get up in the morning and simply wonder if there will be food to eat that day. Food science can make a huge impact on the lives of these people. 

Why did you join an IFT Division?  

I always say I want to be a participant in the industry; I don’t just want to be a spectator. And being involved in the divisions lets me work with a group of really smart people who share the same feeling. It connects me with people who recognize that the work we’re doing in this industry not only affects us but also affects the wellbeing of people all over the world.          

What is the best career advice you have gotten?

Love the work you do and work on what you have a real passion for.

What is your favorite food?

Anything Northern Italian

What’s your favorite recipe?

Beef ragout on bucatini pasta

You can connect with Mark in IFT’s online community, IFT Connect, on LinkedIn, Twitter, or email him at mhughes@andersonpartners.com. Anderson Partners Food Ingredient Marketing can also be found on Twitter.

Clean Label Ideas for Bakers

At the IBIE conference last October, I was privileged to be part of an expert panel discussion on “Clean Label – Consumer Expectations and Baking Challenges.”  Along with Abigail Ceule from Corbion and Matthew Patrick from Delavau Foods, we discussed the latest clean-label trends in communications, applications, and formulation and cutting-edge consumer research from Corbion.  You can learn more about the information shared during the panel discussion here.

Afterwards, I was contacted by Monica Ginsburg and the great team from Imagination Publishing in Chicago to talk more about clean-label trends in Bakery and how retail bakers can take advantage of these trends with their regular customers.  We talked indepth about what consumers are looking for when they shop for fresh and processed baked goods and how retail bakers can use these insights to help build customer loyalty and sales of “on-trend” products.

Monica and the Imagination team turned our conversation into a great piece on how bakers can successfully use these clean-label trends. Their article on appealing to health resolutions in bakery is now featured on the Dawn Foods website here.

There are some great “tips and tricks” included, so we wanted to share the entire article with the readers of our blog:

 

Capitalize on Health-Minded Resolutions
By: Monica Ginsburg

Ringing in the New Year can also mean focusing on new opportunities for your bakery. Instead of ceding ground to annual resolutions to “lose weight” or “eat healthy,” it’s time to cash in on a growing demographic: consumers who view their meals, snacks and treats holistically—focusing on living healthier and well-balanced lives overall, rather than dieting.

Once carb-cutters and sugar avoiders, today’s shoppers are more educated about what health really means: balance. In fact, going into 2016, the most popular resolutions among consumers were “enjoy life to the fullest” and “live a healthier lifestyle,” according to research by GOBankingRates.

These consumers are seeking out foods made with natural, recognizable ingredients and local produce, as well as labels that reflect high amounts of protein, fiber and good fats. That’s not to say they’re avoiding all indulgence. In fact, a major part of maintaining a balanced lifestyle overall is recognizing opportunities for treats and portioning in a guilt-free way. And that shift in consumers’ perception of health is influencing their purchasing behaviors.

“Consumers are looking for ‘better food’ but what that means is different for everyone,” says Ed Doyle, president of RealFood Consulting in Cambridge, Massachusetts. “Generally they’re looking to upgrade to wholesome, quality ingredients, and they want to understand what’s in the foods they buy.”

Here are six tips for attracting balance-minded consumers in the New Year.

Be Smart About Labels

After the holidays, consumers are inclined to scour ingredient lists and health claims. According to Innova Market Insights, roughly three-quarters of U.S. consumers “strongly agree” it’s important for food labels to contain mostly recognizable ingredients. In addition, 91 percent view foods with recognizable ingredients as healthier.

However, consumers weigh labels differently depending on the items they’re purchasing. Claims such as “all natural,” “preservative-free” and “no artificial ingredients” draw customers to all bakery products.

Maximize Signage

Similarly to certain health claims, words like organic, authentic, artisan, local, natural, whole grain, ancient grain and wholesome resonate with health-minded consumers, says Mark Hughes, president of Anderson Partners Food Ingredient Marketing in Omaha, Nebraska. But cramming all those words on one label diminishes the impact each of them could have on a shopper’s buying decision.

Signs and menu boards are the perfect places to highlight natural products or locally sourced ingredients. Group baked goods by features, and use descriptive language like crunchy, hearty, nutty, flaky, rich and sweet to increase appeal.

Step Up the Grains

Touted for their health properties and taste, whole grains are growing in popularity—and fast. For nearly two-thirds of Americans, at least half of their grain consumption comes from whole grains.

“These products represent a small volume of the total bakery business, but it’s where significant growth is happening,” says Hughes.

Everyday staples like bread, muffins and bagels are key areas of opportunity for experimenting with whole grain offerings. Adding “new” grains including sorghum, millet, amaranth and spelt, along with multigrain loaf combinations like wheat berry, oats, rye and millet to existing formulas, can boost flavor profiles and natural appeal.

In addition, bakeries can experiment with grains in pastries, such as fruit pies and crumbles made with whole wheat or quinoa crusts and toppings. They can also swap portions of white flour for whole wheat flour in croissants, scones and danishes.

Support Portion Control

After a season of festive meals, many consumers want to minimize their intake of sweets. That doesn’t mean they’re avoiding indulgence entirely. Mini portions of cookies and brownies and single slices of cake can provide consumers a guilt-free treat that balances out a healthy diet and contributes to their overall well-being.

Consider packaging and marketing these smaller portions of sweets as accessible everyday luxuries that deliver on flavor and quality.

Display Like a Gourmet Shop

Whether a shopper has a taste for nutrient-rich bread or a sweet pick-me-up, presentation will influence his or her perception of product quality. In fact, 93 percent of consumers say visual appearance is the most important factor influencing their purchases.

In addition to clear packaging, consider using brown paper labels that evoke authentic or artisanal foods. Island displays or wooden bins and wicker baskets in place of traditional steel and plastic shelves add a special touch, while display cases decorated with colorful paper or flowers can improve the appearance of cakes. Look to specialty bakeries, restaurants and gourmet shops for inspiration.

Help Staff Spread the Word

Train bakery team members to speak knowledgably about product offerings, whether they’re explaining the difference in taste and texture of certain grains or helping a customer choose between two types of chocolate cake. Make sure staffers have sampled new products so they can effectively convey flavor and freshness to customers. “It’s a real opportunity to talk to and listen to customers,” says Hughes. “You can see what consumers respond to and that can help drive product mix.”

What other clean label ideas have you seen working in your Bakery?  Feel free to share them with us in the comments section that follows.

Corbion Hires Anderson Partners for B-to-B Marketing Communications Partnership

Corbion has announced the hiring of Anderson Partners Food Ingredient Marketing as their official Agency of Record to help lead their global business-to-business marketing and advertising communications efforts.

Corbion is a leading food ingredients and biobased chemicals company headquartered in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The company is comprised of two lines of business: biobased ingredients and biobased innovations, and these business units are supported company-wide by globally managed R&D, operations and business support functions.

Jennifer Lindsey, senior director of global marketing at Corbion, stated, “We are partnering with Anderson Partners because their level of B-to-B marketing experience in the world of food ingredients and their knowledge of communicating to global audiences will be a tremendous asset to Corbion. We look forward to working with their team to help us accomplish our marketing communications goals as we continue to deliver innovative solutions to our customers.”

Mark Hughes, CEO of Anderson Partners, said, “We appreciate the opportunity to partner with Corbion in their marketing communications efforts and to expanding the relationship we already have with their team. We’re excited to use our B-to-B marketing experience to help Corbion engage with their customers, promote their products as well as their technical services and help them grow their business.”

ABOUT CORBION

Corbion is the global market leader in lactic acid, lactic acid derivatives and lactides, and a leading company in emulsifiers, functional enzyme blends, minerals and vitamins. The company delivers high- performance biobased products made from renewable resources and applied in global markets such as bakery, meat, pharmaceuticals and medical devices, home and personal care, packaging, automotive, coatings and adhesives. Their products have a differentiating functionality in all kinds of consumer products worldwide. In 2015, Corbion generated annual sales of €918.3 million and had a workforce of 1,673 FTE. Corbion is listed on Euronext Amsterdam. http://www.corbion.com/

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.

Clean Label Remains in the Spotlight

At last year’s IFT trade show, it was clear that clean label was no longer a trend—it was the rule. At the IFT16 Annual Meeting and Expo in Chicago, clean label seemed to be the star of the show and it was evident by the number of ingredient companies offering “simple,” “natural,” “safer” and “cleaner” ingredients.

One of the ingredient companies showcasing its clean-label capabilities was Corbion. The theme of the Corbion booth was “Make it with Corbion.” To “Make it Cleaner,” Corbion showcased a variety of products like its ENSEMBLE™ non-PHO emulsifiers, its clean-label product line of dough conditioners, Pristine®, and its natural solutions for uncured meats, Verdad® Avanta™. Corbion invited attendees each day to listen in on a “Tech Talk” where an expert from their team highlighted a different product and capability to help manufacturers make healthier, safer, fresher and tastier food and beverage applications. In addition to its “Tech Talks,” Corbion also sampled a variety of applications—from non-PHO ice cream to sausages in buns. Based on what I sampled at the booth—Corbion was definitely making those applications tastier, too!

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Another ingredient company that featured ingredients around the clean-label “rule” was Land O’Lakes Ingredients. Featured at the Land O’Lakes Ingredients booth was a new dairy seasoning for snack food manufacturers, Thai Chili Ranch, which was a savory blend of rich, flavorful ranch with the tangy sweet taste of Thai chili. To help snack food manufacturers meet the clean-label demand, Thai Chili Ranch is formulated without artificial flavors, PHOs or FD&C colors. In addition to featuring clean-label ingredients, Land O’Lakes Ingredients also hosted a daily presentation at its booth, The Colors We Eat. During the presentation, the Land O’Lakes Ingredients R&D team discussed the challenges facing the dairy powders industry in the move away from artificial colors to more naturally sourced options.

LOLPresentation_0216_1500px

There were several other companies on the trade show floor using clean label as the theme for their booths:

  • Kerry displayed messaging on its booth stating, “We make products that people enjoy and feel better about” and used a whole wall of its booth to highlight its clean-label capabilities.
  • Without using the term “clean label,” Cargill positioned itself at IFT16 as “Improving nutritional profiles to meet consumer demand.”
  • Another company meeting the clean-label demand without using the term “clean label” was Kalsec—promoting its Natural Spice and Herb Flavor Extracts, Colors and Antioxidants.

KerryCargillKalsec

As more ingredient companies offer clean-label solutions to food and beverage manufacturers and consumer demand is being met, it will be interesting to see what the next trend/consumer demand will be that will become a “rule.”

Customer Engagement at IFT16

Food ingredient marketers know what it takes to have a successful trade show exhibit. Strong branding, the right messaging, customer engagement tactics, a well-designed booth space and a knowledgeable team are all essential to make a company’s trade show presence a successful one. And the best gauge of how well all these pieces are working together is by witnessing them “in action” at a trade show; seeing how engaged attendees are with a company’s booth space and team.

At the IFT16 Expo in Chicago, I walked the floor and observed the world’s top food ingredient companies and their trade show teams in action. I saw how industry trends are affecting the design of the booths and their graphics, as companies strive to show how their products align with the demands of a new generation of consumers. I also saw some very effective strategies to help exhibitors increase engagement with customers and attendees.

White Space, Bright Colors
The combination of vibrant colors and simple imagery on clean, white backgrounds was something I saw everywhere. This graphic style was clearly influenced by the clean-label movement as companies continue to move toward simpler and better-for-you ingredients. It gave many of the booth designs a clean, modern look and was the perfect graphic solution to convey the purity and transparency consumers are seeking. These shots show just how much this look permeated through many of the designs this year.

WhiteSpacesBrightColors2

Natural Colors
Likewise, the ongoing movement toward more natural color sources had an impact on the messaging and tactics of several of the booths this year. Land O’Lakes Ingredients sampled cheese powders made without FD&C colors and featured a daily presentation about the history of coloring foods. I also saw several color houses creatively communicating the natural sources of their products through their messaging and graphics. GNT and DDW both had great examples of this with creative expressions that made me take a second look.

NaturalColorsImagery_0315

Open Spaces
The last few years, there’s been a substantial move toward more open trade show spaces and floor plans, with companies utilizing all sides of their area for customer engagement. Without “big walls” blocking off entire sides of a booth, a trade show team can have its people on all sides to initiate customer engagement or offer product samples. Corbion did a great job of this with an open floor plan that clearly defined their area and allowed attendees to easily scan across it to absorb everything that was going on. Its team was positioned throughout the space to engage with customers from all sides, and it generated a lot of attention.

Corbion_0188

Going Outside the Box for Engagement
Something that made an impression on me was how aggressively some companies went to initiate customer engagement. Kerry and Mintel were among the exhibitors that not only had several team members working within their booths, but also had additional members stationed in the aisles nearby to approach curious attendees and make the first move. It was an effective way of removing those invisible boundaries that always seem to separate the attendees from the exhibitors and help start the conversation with customers.

Hats off to IFT for another impressive expo and to all the volunteers who, year after year, make this event so successful and so beneficial to professionals and students throughout the food ingredient industry.

What kind of overall impressions did you get from IFT16?

An Active Voice in Food Ingredients

The Institute of Food Technologists’ (IFT) Annual Meeting and Food Expo is quickly approaching and this year’s event looks to provide a lot of opportunity for those in attendance as more than 1,000 exhibitors and 23,000 professionals from all over the world gather in Chicago. One of the largest food ingredient trade shows of the year, IFT gathers the most prominent names in the industry in one place and offers more than 100 breakout sessions that address and discuss the challenges impacting today’s ever-changing environment.

In the video below, Anderson Partners Food Ingredient Marketing president, Mark Hughes, discusses our involvement in trade associations like IFT, how our involvement keeps us informed of everything affecting the food ingredient industry and how that knowledge impacts the work we deliver to our clients.


Attending IFT this year and want to learn how we can help your company’s marketing communication goals? Click here to schedule a meeting with our team at the show.

How to Communicate the Food Science Message

One of the hottest topics at IFT15 in Chicago last July was the serious concern throughout the food industry around how to communicate the food science message to an increasingly skeptical consumer audience. In the age of the Food Babe and other opinion-driven food advocates, the food science message is increasingly lost inside the clutter of fear mongering and unfounded opinions that seem to surround otherwise healthy food ingredients and the food science that helps feed a hungry planet.

We have written about this subject often in recent months. Our infographic series on “Food Science vs The Food Babe – Who Controls the Story?” received a lot of attention and comment from the food science community. Food ingredient manufacturers want to know how to defend its products from attack and how to use sound food science to communicate the value of its products.

One of the most interesting sessions at IFT15 was the well-attended “Communicating Food Science to the Masses” panel discussion. Experienced food communication professionals joined in with accomplished food science academics from leading universities to discuss the current environment and how food manufacturers can help effectively communicate the food science message. Kim Essex, the director of the food and ag practice at Ketchum, a public relations firm, talked about the rise of “food evangelists” and their opinion-driven advocacy that regularly attacks processed foods and ingredients through social media. She addressed the need to engage with these advocates, understand their concerns and join the dialogue with them on the same social media platforms they regularly use.

We think that directly engaging with these “evangelists” is an important first step for food ingredient companies that want to successfully communicate the food science message. The top communication strategies we see being employed could be summarized in five key areas:commun.inside

  1. Speak Up – Don’t be silent, engage with the food activists on their own terms
  2. Be Swift – Responding quickly to negative claims is essential
  3. Have a Strategy – Use the same media channels as the activists to reach their audiences
  4. Use Science – Use facts and objective information to set the record straight
  5. Make it Simple – Make your scientific evidence clear and concise

As the clean-label movement continues its momentum, communicating the food science message will be essential as food companies re-evaluate its product labels and the need to justify the inclusion of certain functional ingredients that are essential to the quality of an application. In fact, I will be speaking at Fi Europe in Paris in December as part of a panel discussion on the topic: Improving the reputation of the food industry: How can consumer engagement help?

Have you seen any examples from food companies or food ingredient companies supporting the food science message?

SNAXPO 2016: Cleaner-label Solutions for Snack Food Manufacturers

SNAXPO 2016 brought 1,500 attendees from around the world to Houston, Tex. on March 19-22 for the annual snack food industry trade show. This year’s conference provided snack food manufacturers the opportunity to explore new and innovative equipment, ingredients, products and services to help them keep up with the consumer trends in the snack market.

In his State of Snacking presentation, Jared Koerten from Euromonitor pointed out that snacking continues to outpace traditional meals in the marketplace as consumers are looking for convenient, on-the-go options that best fit their busy lifestyles. Koerten also mentioned that Euromonitor expects to see continued growth, specifically for savory snacks in the U.S. market.

With the continued growth in snacks, the trade show floor provided a great opportunity for snack food manufacturers to explore new flavors and innovations being offered to help them meet the demands of consumers. The team at McCormick Custom Flavor Solutions presented the 2016 McCormick Flavor Forecast in an education session during the show to highlight on trend flavors, which included flavors that are influenced by Malaysian and Philippine cuisine—specifically ones with heat and tang. In addition, McCormick stated that nutrition persists in the Flavor Forecast in the form of two trends—blends with benefits and alternative pulse proteins.

In addition to the presentations and education sessions, there were a variety of exhibitors that Land O'Lakes Ingredients - Booth Front 3showcased ingredients to meet the demands of consumers—specifically around cleaner labels. Land O’Lakes Ingredients’ team of experts gave a presentation at their booth, The Colors We Eat, which described how FD&C colors have evolved over time and where we are in today’s environment with the consumer demand for natural colors in the foods they eat. In addition to their presentation, Land O’Lakes Ingredients had a taste challenge and invited attendees to sample cheese puffs. One was made with cheese powder that had been formulated with FD&C colors and the other contained a cheese powder made with no FD&C colors. During the challenge, Land O’Lakes Ingredients captured attendee feedback and the results were surprising—attendees had a hard time telling the difference between the two products and actually preferred the taste of the cheese puff formulated without the use of FD&C colors.

Across the trade show floor, DairiConcepts also presented cleaner-label snack seasonings that included product offerings for organic, rBST-Free, non-GMO, gluten-free, reduced sodium and natural colors and flavors. Georgia Pecans showcased how pecans can be used beyond the pie in snack foods as a gluten-free, protein-rich option with their samples of pecan grahams, pecan meat-substitute spring rolls and pecan-coated chicken—which I must say, were all delicious!

Georgia Pecans Booth 4

Overall, SNAXPO 2016 was a great show. It will be interesting to see what next year’s SNAXPO in Georgia will bring—what new trends will be uncovered and what new and exciting innovations and flavors will be available for snack food manufacturers. Who knows, maybe the Fuch’s blimp that stirred up the trade show floor last year will make an appearance again in 2017. Feel free to comment below on what innovations, trends or flavors caught your attention at this year’s SNAXPO and what you’d like to see at next year’s show.

Favorite Chefs on the Internet

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

ChefTwitterLarge

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

Mario Batali

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

Robert Danhi

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

Jacques Pepin

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

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

2016 Food & Beverage Industry Trade Show Map

With the start of a new year, comes another round of trade shows and conferences for the food and beverage industry. As a handy reference tool, we’ve created a map that plots out the locations as well as a calendar with quick facts of several of 2016’s most prominent events. Our team will be attending several of these trade shows throughout the year—sharing trends and insights on our blog that we’re seeing from the companies exhibiting and sponsoring events. Let us know which trade shows you’re attending this year and maybe we’ll see you there!

2016 U.S. Food and Beverage Industry Calendar of Major Trade Show Events

Industry Expert and Thought Leader, Mark Hughes, to Speak at Fi Europe

From Dec. 1-3, the world’s leading food and beverage buyers, R&D, business development and marketing specialists will gather in Paris at the biannual Food Ingredients (Fi) Europe Conference to share the latest developments, key trends and challenges affecting the food and beverage industry.

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Conference attendees will have the opportunity to gain insights through specific conference modules—breakout sessions featuring speakers across a variety of industry areas—where they will hear from leading experts on a variety of issues affecting the food industry. Day two of the conference will feature a presentation and panel discussion focusing on the topic of customer and consumer engagement. Industry expert and thought leader, Mark Hughes, president of Anderson Partners Food Ingredient Marketing, will lead off the session by explaining the importance of developing an integrated marketing strategy for B2B ingredient companies. Hughes will also be a part of a panel discussion on ways to improve the reputation of the food industry from both the B2B and B2C perspectives.

You can learn more about Fi Europe and view the complete program of events here. To register for this year’s conference, click here.

Clean Label No Longer Trending—It’s the Rule

At the IFT15 Expo in Chicago, Innova Market Insights said it best, clean label is no longer a trend—it’s the rule. As stated in our “The Simple Trend in Food Ingredients” blog post, 62% of consumers seek foods that are minimally processed and 53% prefer foods and beverages that contain a short list of ingredients. With a high consumer demand for cleaner labels, the food industry is left to respond with product reformulations, new product developments and new communication strategies to keep up with the marketplace.

From natural and organic to no artificial additives and no partially hydrogenated oils, food ingredient companies on the IFT15 expo floor were marketing solutions to help food manufacturers “follow the rule” and clean up the labels on its products. Companies like Naturex and Kalsec used simple statements on their booths—“From Nature to You” and “Cleaner Labels. Clear.”—to grab the attention of and engage food manufacturers who were in attendance at the show.

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Land O’Lakes Ingredients was another company that showcased how its ingredients provided a solution and opportunity for product developers to clean up their labels. At IFT15, Land O’Lakes Ingredients launched a new cheese powder, 3-Pepper CheddarChromaTM. At the booth, Land O’Lakes Ingredients used a display card next to the application sample to highlight how 3-Pepper CheddarChroma cheese powder contains no artificial flavoring, no FD&C colors and no added MSG—giving snack food manufacturers a quick snapshot of how Land O’Lakes Ingredients can help them clean up the labels on new product developments and reformulations.

With a consumer demand that shows no signs of going away, the food industry will have to continue to work together to overcome the challenges, and evolve and adapt to the rule—because let’s be honest—being a “rule breaker” in this industry won’t always lead to success in the marketplace.

How to Communicate the Food Science Message

One of the hottest topics at IFT15 in Chicago in early July was the serious concern throughout the food industry around how to communicate the food science message to an increasingly skeptical consumer audience. In the age of the Food Babe and other opinion-driven food advocates, the food science message is increasingly lost inside the clutter of fear mongering and unfounded opinions that seem to surround otherwise healthy food ingredients and the food science that helps feed a hungry planet.

We have written about this subject often in recent months. Our infographic series on “Food Science vs The Food Babe – Who Controls the Story?” received a lot of attention and comment from the food science community. Food ingredient manufacturers want to know how to defend its products from attack and how to use sound food science to communicate the value of its products.

One of the most interesting sessions at IFT15 was the well-attended “Communicating Food Science to the Masses” panel discussion. Experienced food communication professionals joined in with accomplished food science academics from leading universities to discuss the current environment and how food manufacturers can help effectively communicate the food science message. Kim Essex, the director of the food and ag practice at Ketchum, a public relations firm, talked about the rise of “food evangelists” and their opinion-driven advocacy that regularly attacks processed foods and ingredients through social media. She addressed the need to engage with these advocates, understand their concerns and join the dialogue with them on the same social media platforms they regularly use.

We think that directly engaging with these “evangelists” is an important first step for food ingredient companies that want to successfully communicate the food science message. The top communication strategies we see being employed could be summarized in five key areas:commun.inside

  1. Speak Up – Don’t be silent, engage with the food activists on their own terms
  2. Be Swift – Responding quickly to negative claims is essential
  3. Have a Strategy – Use the same media channels as the activists to reach their audiences
  4. Use Science – Use facts and objective information to set the record straight
  5. Make it Simple – Make your scientific evidence clear and concise

As the clean-label movement continues its momentum, communicating the food science message will be essential as food companies re-evaluate its product labels and the need to justify the inclusion of certain functional ingredients that are essential to the quality of an application. In fact, I will be speaking at Fi Europe in Paris in December as part of a panel discussion on the topic: Improving the reputation of the food industry: How can consumer engagement help?

Have you seen any examples from food companies or food ingredient companies supporting the food science message?

Innovative Booth Spaces Lead the Way at IFT15

As creative director at Anderson Partners Food Ingredient Marketing, designing and developing booth spaces for major trade shows are some of the most exciting and high-profile projects we work on throughout the year. These are important events for our clients, and as ambassadors for their brand we always strive to create a space that not only is the strongest extension of their brand, but also makes for an engaging and impactful experience for trade show attendees.

Once a trade show booth design is complete, the only way to properly experience it “in action” is by attending one of these shows to see for yourself how visitors react to and engage with it.

As an IFT15 attendee, I had the opportunity to see how the most prominent companies in the food ingredient industry were vying for the attention of over 23,000 attendees, and I walked away with a ton of inspiration and insights for future projects. I was able to experience firsthand some of the most highly sophisticated trade show exhibits in the industry, all gathered together, and see what was working best in capturing the attention of attendees and creating a space that allowed sales teams to best engage with customers.

Here are some things that stood out for me on the expo floor at IFT15:

Emergence of infographics

In the world of B2B social media, infographics are one of the most effective ways to engage with visitors to share relevant content. This tactic also seemed to work very well on the trade show floor. Exhibitors like Mintel, Ingredion and Innova Market Insights (Innova) used prominent space on their booths to feature valuable content to attendees through giant infographics. And every time I walked by the Innova display, I saw attendees studying these infographics or grabbing photos of them with their phones.

Innova Booth IFT

The “wholesome” look

With clean and clear label dominating industry news today, I saw a lot of trade show imagery styled to convey a sense of what I call “wholesomeness.” Design cues like: white space, close-up shots of raw ingredients, vibrant colors and hand-drawn typefaces all had the effect of portraying an industry committed to addressing the needs of customers facing the ongoing challenge of consumer demand for clean and clear label.

Kitchens on wheels

When product sampling is a vital aspect of your trade show appearance, do it right. Companies like Ardent Mills, Bunge and David Michael and Co. all made quite a presence at IFT with branded mobile kitchens being an essential part of their space. It’s a great vehicle—pun intended—to extend a brand’s presence and engage customers beyond the trade show floor. When the show ends, these kitchens on wheels can then be driven anywhere so R&D can work side-by-side with a customer’s product development team.

David Michael IFT

Transparency/Openness

Innovations in printing and production capabilities have led to some very unique materials being used for trade show spaces. I found it particularly interesting that many exhibitors, including Mercer Foods, were utilizing semi-translucent materials for prominent branding, making their space seem larger and less confined. Other exhibitors were taking a less-is-more approach by limiting the amount of hardware and giving plenty of walking area for visitors entering the booth space.

Mercer Foods IFT

It was great to experience all of the action at IFT15. Walking the expo floor, you fully realize how much time, effort, planning and teamwork—both by the exhibitors and IFT—goes into this event to make it a success each year.

What from the IFT15 trade show floor made an impression on you?

SNAXPO 2015 Delivered a Variety of Solutions for Snack Food Manufacturers

Snack food manufacturers and exhibitors from virtually every area of the snacking industry convened in Florida, March 29-31, at the 2015 SNAXPO conference. The conference was a great opportunity for snack food manufacturers to explore new and innovative equipment, ingredients, products and services to help them grow their business and keep up with the seismic shift in the snack market.

The State-of-the-Industry address from Jared Koerten, senior analyst at Euromonitor International, showed the growth in savory snacks, which represents the third-fastest growing category in the snack industry. Much of the growth comes from consumer demand for portable food and snacks as meal replacements. In addition, consumers are also interested in better-for-you snacks as meal replacements, and with their ever-changing palates, it’s becoming a challenge for the snack market to push the boundaries of flavors and ingredients.

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At SNAXPO, snack food manufacturers were presented a variety of flavors and ingredients to incorporate into their snack food innovations that delivered various benefits to help meet consumer demand. For example, at the Land O’Lakes Ingredients’ booth, it featured the newest addition to its product portfolio, CheddarChromaTM cheese powder. With the consumer demand for cleaner labels and better-for-you snacks on the rise, this vibrant orange cheese powder raised a few eyebrows with its list of benefits—formulated without the use of FD&C colors, no artificial flavors and no added MSG.

McCormick Flavor Cell

On the other side of the trade show floor, McCormick Custom Flavor Solutions (McCormick) featured its unique and innovative flavor technology, FlavorCellTM. This unique technology delivers a superior flavor experience for snack food manufacturers to give to its consumers. Now, I must admit upfront, I’m a big fan of snacks—more savory than sweet. But after sampling McCormick Custom Flavor Solutions’ Raspberry Pomegranate Chocolate Chunk Cookie, which was formulated using the FlavorCell technology, I was ready to ditch the savory snacks and eat more cookies. Don’t worry, I didn’t. But the flavor impact of the raspberry, pomegranate and chocolate made it very tempting.

Kraft Food Ingredients Sample

Symrise

To help snack food manufacturers meet the demands of the changing palates of consumers, there was also a wide variety of flavors being sampled from companies like Kraft Food Ingredients, Chesapeake Spice and Symrise, who presented a menu of flavors on the side of the Symrise SnackFusion Flavor Truck.

Fuchs Blimp

But this wouldn’t be a true 2015 SNAXPO recap without mentioning Fuchs innovative way of marketing its brand beyond its booth with the blimp it flew around the trade show floor. The blimp, with its operator following behind below, buzzed around the trade show floor advertising Fuchs booth number, logo and tagline. While it was definitely a creative way to drive traffic to the booth, it did cause quite an uproar among other exhibitors—perhaps because they didn’t think of it first.

I’m definitely looking forward to next year’s SNAXPO and seeing what new ingredient products will surface and how the snack food industry will evolve to keep up with consumer demands. And, there’s a part of me that will be interested in seeing the newest gadget or airborne marketing communication platform used on the trade show floor. Feel free to leave a comment below on what you enjoyed at this year’s SNAXPO and what you look forward to seeing at next year’s show.

Product Innovation Leads the Way for Research Chefs

The Research Chefs Association’s (RCA) 2015 Annual Conference and Culinology Expo in New Orleans was once again the year’s best event for many of the leading product innovators in the food industry. From March 24-27, top celebrity chefs, research and development chefs, and culinologists from leading food manufacturers gathered for four days of unparalled food and fun as only New Orleans can provide.

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The conference got off to a great start with the opening reception at Generations Hall in the Warehouse District. The event was sponsored by Ardent Mills, Red Arrow and Symrise. Ardent Mills brought in a live New Orleans jazz band along with their ever popular Mobile Innovation Center (MIC). The MIC shut down the street in front of Generations Hall and served a variety of new food samples including Sweet & Savory Grits, Bayou Dirty Rice and Peach Cobbler made with Ultragrain® white whole wheat flour. Attendees raved about the food as they rocked out to the rhythms of the jazz band.

The theme of new product innovation continued throughout the conference. In the opening keynote address, New Orleans celebrity Chef John Besh talked about the important role that innovating new dishes from traditional southern cuisines has played in keeping his restaurants popular leaders in the region. He also spoke about the work his Besh Foundation is doing with the local “Chefs Move” program.

Many of the seminars and breakout sessions also featured presentations on new product innovation for the chefs and product developers at the conference. One of the best attended sessions was titled, “From Unarticulated Consumer Needs to Products that Rock” and was presented by Mark Crowell from Culinex and Michelle Berry from Centric Brand Anthropology. The session focused on the need to align new products with a consistent brand experience and brand positioning that connects with consumers in an authentic way.

Overall, this year’s conference was one of the RCA’s best in several years. The focus on new product innovation and the roles played by research chefs and culinologists will continue to be a major trend in the food ingredient industry for many years to come.

Snack Food Industry Coming Together for SNAXPO 2015 in Orlando

From March 28-31, SNAXPO, the world’s largest, most comprehensive trade show devoted exclusively to the international snack food industry, will be taking place in Orlando. This year’s event will feature speakers and educational sessions designed to give snack food professionals a competitive advantage in the rapidly changing marketplace they are faced with today. In addition, attendees will have the opportunity to meet with companies like Land O’Lakes Ingredients, Carmi Flavors and Ingredion to discover some of the latest innovations, products and services being offered.

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I will be attending this year’s event and I’m looking forward to seeing what trends are taking shape in the snack food industry and learning more about the hot-button issues affecting the marketplace. If you’re heading to SNAXPO, what are you looking forward to? If you aren’t able to attend this year’s event, be sure to check back after SNAXPO for my roundup report of the show.

Research Chefs Get Ready for Culinology® Expo in New Orleans

Excitement is building for the Annual Conference and Culinology® Expo of the Research Chefs Association. This year’s meeting is being held March 24-27 in New Orleans. As usual, celebrity chefs will be the main attraction as culinologists and research chefs from major foodservice and food manufacturing companies gather to discuss the latest trends, and share new and innovative ideas. The keynote speaker at this year’s conference will be John Besh, a chef and a native son dedicated to the culinary riches of southern Louisiana. During the 2012 conference in San Antonio, Chef Besh hosted a private event at his restaurant Lüke San Antonio for his fellow chefs and other corporate product developers. Here is the original report we posted from San Antonio on Chef Besh’s event. See you in New Orleans. Laissez les Bon Temps Rouler!

Celebrity Chefs Rule at RCA 2012 in San Antonio

Originally published March 28, 2012

Celebrity chefs received widespread attention at the Research Chefs Association (RCA) 2012 Annual Conference and Culinology Expo in San Antonio. Throughout the conference, the chefs showed just how much their influence has grown in the development and formulation of processed food products from the major manufacturers. This was evident at the Expo, where well over 100 food ingredient companies pitched their products to corporate chefs from major customer companies such as Kraft, Kellogg, Unilever and Nestlé.

Chef John BeshThe chefs were also featured at numerous private events held throughout the city’s bustling restaurant district. The one that seemed to have the most buzz starred celebrity TV chef and restaurateur, John Besh, at his popular restaurant, Lüke, on the San Antonio River Walk. Sponsored by Spicetec Flavors & Seasonings and ConAgra Mills, the event featured a delicious menu of small plate items prepared with ingredients, spices and flavors provided by the sponsors to the chef’s team. One popular item was Spicy Bam Bam Shrimp in a tempura batter made with Ultragrain® White Whole Wheat Flour and a Spicetec seasoning blend of Sriracha and vinegar flavors. The menu drew rave reviews, and guests were excited to talk serious food with Chef Besh and his team.

One of our favorite chefs every year at RCA is Chef Robert Danhi. Chef Danhi got his share of buzz for his great new cookbook, “Easy Thai Cooking,” featuring family-style dishes easily prepared at home. The book and companion video are available on Chef Danhi’s website.

Chef Gerri Bouchard, the corporate research chef for Eatem Foods, also drew a lot of attention for her innovative flavor systems. Food application samples featuring those flavor systems included an intriguing Pho Bo with cilantro, jalapeño and Thai basil.

Corporate chefs, research chefs and their product development colleagues will continue to be a major influence on the formulation and development of new processed food products. Expect to see food ingredient marketers focus even more of their efforts on chefs in the future.

Guest Correspondent Corrie Reilly Delivers 7 Take-home Trends from Expo West

For this year’s Expo West show in Anaheim, Calif., our guest correspondent, Corrie Reilly, marketing and communications at Agropur Ingredients, shared her key takeaways with us after attending the event.

Let me quiet the noise and tell you what Expo West was really about: 7 take-home trends

As a first timer to the legendary Expo West, I had been ready for months to check out the natural foods mayhem. It was Agropur Ingredients’ first year exhibiting at more of a finished product show but paired with our sister company Agropur Division Natrel – USA―who has retail lines of milk, coffees and indulgent creamers―we had an ‘in’ and a story to tell. We honed in on our ability to source, formulate, process and package a variety of products built for the food philosophy followers. And let me tell you, we were on point; claims―vegan, non-gmo, gluten-free, etc.―were painted throughout the convention.

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While the show was packed to capacity, for someone that does a fair share of trend investigative work, it was easy to point out some of the most popular and prominent food and beverage movements. Check out the full article below on my 7 quick snapshots of Expo West discoveries.

1. Protein, everywhere and anywhere

Protein is by no means a new concept to myself or our business sector. In recent years, the appreciation for products that have a naturally high-protein content or have been enriched with protein has grown by leaps and bounds. While it’s fair to say that protein has gone mainstream for good reason, not all variations are alike and not all consumers look for the same characteristics from their protein. That is where this show really stood out from the rest for me. Due to the fact that Expo West is geared toward consumer pools that have very well-defined preferences of food types and origins, it was the mecca of alternatives and diversity. Our private-label business sector frequently does work for dairy-free and green brands so it was really fun to see which of the other protein sources might be, ‘the next big thing.’ Whey remains the top protein source if you consider the protein market as a whole, but we were able to try foods that explored flax, quinoa, cashew, pea, rice, hemp and plant proteins. I missed tasting the insect protein that has so much buzz around it but I must say it does pique my curiosity in terms of its sustainability abilities. It’s hard to call out one specific favorite as I collected a hoard of samples ranging from ready-to-drink shakes to cheesy crackers.

2. Functional & nutrient callouts

We had been diving into insight reports on the global food markets to get ready for the show. According to reports, one of the biggest trends in the Asian-Pacific market was that the brands there are keying in on health functionality attributes. Meaning, on package, consumers would see products advertise for things like bone strength, eyesight, brain health, etc. With consumers being so knowledge hungry and conscious of long-term health value, I see this trend having a lot of potential here in the U.S., especially in regards to the natural foods space. Omegas and fiber were big nutrients noted prominently on front of package. Vitality showed a series of ‘RE’ superfruit beverages; one of which, Refocus, was a beverage brand that claims to help to enhance mental focus and concentration.

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3. Vegetable incorporation & switching up flavor expectations

What happens when you taste something savory that your memory equates to sweetness? Well first, you think whoa…weird. Next, if you’re adventurous at all in your taste experiences, there is a 50/50 chance that you might realize that…it works! Maybe not in a familiar way but in a way that you discover that the textures, temperature and packaging lend well to this new foreign flavor. In regards to vegetable incorporation, we had noticed this in a trends insight report regarding the frozen dessert global market. After walking Expo West, it’s evident that more than one food area is taking hold of this ideation. Lifeway Kefir had some really interesting Veggie Kefirs that brought in tomatoes, cucumbers and beets! Sensible Portions had on display a variety of different chip and puff-type products that were made with full servings of the good stuff. One of my favorite takeaway products from the show came at the flavor 180 from the opposite side―savory to sweet. The company, HOPE, showcased chocolate spreads made from what traditionally is considered a hummus component―chickpeas! I am tracking this down in the store and stocking up.

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4. Probiotics – Give me some of that ‘good bacteria’

We actually have been doing a good amount of focus on probiotics right now and how they will build momentum in the healthy products area. Our team predicts more growth in product categories as well as further discovery on its benefits. Probiotics play a big role in human digestion. GoodBelly distributed shooters of its probiotic juices. Another example, and my second take-home product from Natural Products Expo West, was Lifeway’s ProBug Bites, which are probiotic-packed freeze-dried kefir melts designed for infants. While my toddler niece joined me on the show floor Saturday and referred to these little nuggets as candies, it would be hard to say who enjoyed them more, her or me.

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5. Tell me a mealtime story

This one I think has a lot to do with our fascination with understanding where our products come from. We want to know that the core of what we’re eating has roots and why it’s something we specifically should be eating. All good brands have a story and this show was no exception. Similar to a bedtime story, consumers want to be soothed before they take their first bite.

6. Fair Trade certified – Show me your hand

If there was a message I heard consistently it was, “We are Fair Trade Certified.” I heard it while representatives told me their jingle, and I overheard it as I was eavesdropping on the conversations in neighboring booths. This feels like a mission with the natural brands and I’m 100 percent in. Seems like it’s a good approach to increasing the balance of respect between all parties participating in the creation of a product. I can have a slightly rose-colored perspective on these types of issues, but I’m all for improving the treatment toward the trade and promoting transparency.

7. Convenience – Make sure I can eat it/make it on the run

We live in a world that never stops. Single-servings, kits and creative approaches to packaging were all ways brands were tackling the need for products that can be prepared quickly and eaten on the go. As someone that never has time to go grocery shopping as I’m running from one place to the other, I appreciated Hak’s Paks One Pot product―easy to store and conveniently flavored pouches that can be popped in the slow cooker when you need to put together an uncomplicated dinner.

Thanks to Corrie Reilly for her report on this year’s Expo West.

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Corrie is a young marcomm professional who is oddly knowledgeable regarding the world of food and food ingredients. She currently represents Agropur Ingredients, a business of Agropur Dairy Cooperative. Agropur Ingredients has three main business types: functional ingredients, ingredient distribution and private-label contract packaging for dry powder blends. Experts in application and formulation, Agropur’s team is a valued resource to its customers with their extensive understanding of ingredient interaction and advanced capabilities. Corrie came to discover the food industry shortly after graduating from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse with a degree in public relations. She enjoys sharing the world she’s come to know and love with those around her, both within and outside the industry. She can be reached at corrie.reilly@agropur.com for any questions or discussions.

Winter Regional IFT Event Recap

I recently attended the IFT Aksarben (IFT-A) winter meeting with my colleague Mark Hughes, and with the large turnout of attendees, it provided us a great opportunity to network and engage with other members. We also participated in the annual Silent Auction—an event where all the proceeds go toward scholarships for outstanding students dedicated to food science and IFT. The silent auction was a success with over 50 items donated from companies like ConAgra Foods, Cargill and Corbion.

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In addition to the silent auction, the IFT-A event included two speakers, Drs. Timothy and Deanna Sellnow of the University of Kentucky, both highly esteemed and well-established in their fields. They shared best practices for risk communications as well as strategies to use in the time of a crisis. Their presentation walked us through what they laid out as the IDEA Model: Internalization, Distribution, Explanation and Action.

The discussion covered a lot of the same issues we shared in our Food Science vs. Food Babe—Who Controls the Story series, and the risk communication strategies Drs. Timothy and Deanna provided were very similar to the communication tips we highlighted in our blog post and infographic titled, Top 5 Tips for Fighting the Food Babe and Opinion-driven Activists.

The presentation was a great reminder of the importance of having a communication strategy in place to allow food marketers a way to respond quickly to a crisis and communicate the strong and important food-science story they have to tell.

Connect with Liz Bloyd on Twitter and LinkedIn for the latest updates in food ingredient marketing.

Guest Correspondent Emily Munday Reports on Winter Fancy Food Show

Over the course of three days, thousands of foodies descended upon the Moscone Center in downtown San Francisco for an impressive showcase of the latest and greatest in specialty foods at the 2015 Winter Fancy Food Show. From well-established brands to new start-ups, the show offered a plethora of new flavors, textures and innovative uses of ingredients.

This year we had guest correspondent, Emily Munday, culinologist/nutritionist at CuliNex, attend the show and share her key takeaways with us. Here are her findings from the event.

2015 Winter Fancy Food Show

(Image Source)

Fermented products and probiotic claims were plentiful. Two of the standouts included Coach Farm’s Cultured Goat Milk in Strawberry, Mango Peach, Blackberry and Plain and Mother-in-Law’s Kimchi in Muu Daikon Radish and White Napa Cabbage.

Ubiquitous kale has paved the way for other nutrient-dense vegetables, and seaweed is positioned to take over as the king of greens this year. Gold Mine Natural Foods showcased kelp noodles in a sesame vinaigrette. The toothsome noodles offer a unique texture and neutral flavor profile, and are raw, vegan, rich in minerals and low in calories. Seasnax featured its crunchy Chomperz line of seaweed snacks, in flavors such as Barbecue, Jalapeno, Onion and Original.

Move over kombucha—there’s a new kid on the block: Pok Pok Som Drinking Vinegars are tangy and refreshing, letting true fruit and vegetable flavors shine. Particularly interesting were the Thai Basil and new Chinese Celery flavors. Other delicious flavors include the Tamarind, Pomegranate and Ginger. Simply mixed with soda water, the Soms make for an upscale soda that’s not too sweet. It can also be used in cocktails for a classic “shrub.”

With health and wellness at the forefront of consumers’ minds, along with a desire to eat more plant-based foods and protein, it’s a no-brainer that seeds stole the show. Purenola offers the health benefits of sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and nuts in granola-like clusters that are sweetened with real maple syrup. The paleo-friendly snack comes in several flavors, including Salted Chocolate, Coconut, Persimmon and Rosemary Spice.

From healthy snacks to indulgent desserts and everything in between, the Winter Fancy Food Show had something for everyone. Thanks to Emily Munday for her report on this year’s show.

Emily MundayEmily Munday is a culinologist/nutritionist with CuliNex, the nation’s premier clean-label product development consultancy. CuliNex brings successful new products to market for retailers, food manufacturers, ingredient suppliers and multi-unit foodservice operators so they can achieve their growth goals.

Emily holds an associate degree in Culinary Arts and a Bachelor of Science degree in Culinary Nutrition from Johnson & Wales University. She has experience working in a wide variety of foodservice settings, from large-scale catering operations to intimate fine dining. In addition to product development and project management, she leads the sales and marketing initiatives at CuliNex.

Guest Correspondent Mark Crowell Reports on SupplySide West

From Oct. 6-10, thousands of food and beverage professionals gathered in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Events Center for SupplySide West 2014. This year’s event had the largest show floor featuring more than 1,700 booths, offering more than 10,000 ingredients and services.

This year, we had a guest correspondent, Mark Crowell, principal culinologist from CuliNex. SupplySide WMark Crowellest focuses  largely on ingredients for the supplement market, and the line between food and supplements has been shifting toward food for a number of years. According to Crowell, this was evident at this year’s SupplySide West where many supplement ingredient companies also promoted their products for food uses. Crowell spoke with Hartley Pond, vice president technical sales at FutureCeuticals, and Pond conveyed that, “there is fatigue in the supplement market from too many single active ingredient products having made too many health claims.” This perspective was echoed by Paul Altaffer, chief innovation officer at RFI, LLC. Altaffer stated, “There is almost a retro movement going on in supplements. It is a move away from standardized extracts to more natural, whole food products.”

Altaffer continued, “The three hottest ingredients right now are various forms of turmeric, black garlic and ginger.” These are all clearly food ingredients, but people have been using them in the dietary supplement industry and delivering them as tabs, caps, gels and powders. Both Altaffer and Pond believe the trend toward supplement ingredients being used as food ingredients will strengthen.

Black garlicThanks to Mark Crowell for his report on this year’s SupplySide West. To learn more about his company, CuliNex, visit the website at http://www.culinex.biz/.

Ingredient Marketing Workshop Engages Audience at Fi Global Summit in London

In September, the Food Ingredient Global Summit in London drew a wide audience of leading global food ingredient manufacturers and marketers. Presented by the UBM team that produces Fi Europe, this new executive conference featured top global companies like Nestle, Unilever and General Mills, along with the latest food trends research from Mintel, Innova and Euromonitor.

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I had the privilege of presenting a master class workshop during the conference on Best Practices in Food Ingredient Marketing Communications. We discussed the challenges food ingredient marketers face in getting their customers engaged with their products and reviewed a series of best practices by presenting successful strategies and tactics. The workshop also included detailed examples of programs from leading ingredient companies that incorporated best practices into their integrated marketing plans.

The attendees at the workshop included marketing professionals from Europe, the U.S., Asia and Africa. They enthusiastically discussed the different programs we reviewed and shared their own experiences and some of the tactics that they were having success with in their companies. Many said that they left the workshop with specific ideas they wanted to work with and implement in their programs when they got home.

The best practice strategy that drew the most attention and interest was the rapidly growing use of B-to-B social media by food companies in the ingredient channels.  There were many examples of how B-to-B marketers were using social media as a communication tool on social sites like LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube. We reviewed an integrated social media platform that achieved leading rankings in search results through proactive content management, or what we refer to as “leaving a big footprint” on the internet.

Workshop attendees went home with a planning template to use in developing their own integrated marketing communications plan using the best practice strategies and tactics. If you are interested in more information on the best practice approach to food ingredient marketing, you can see a wide range of examples on our industry resource website at www.apfoodingredients.com.

Overall, the Fi Global Summit in London was one of the best food industry executive conferences of the year. The team at UBM did a great job. The Summit should become a “must attend” event for food ingredient marketers next year and beyond.

Fall Regional IFT Event Full of Flavors

On the evening of Sept. 23, I attended my first IFT Aksarben Section (IFT-A) fall meeting at a local restaurant located here in Omaha, Neb. The event was a great opportunity to socialize and network with others in the food industry from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and companies like ConAgra Foods, International Spices and DuPont Nutrition and Health.

In addition to networking at the event, IFT-A sponsored a guest speaker from FONA International (FONA). FONA delivered a presentation from their Flavor University®, “Keeping Up with What’s Next,” and engaged the audience in an interactive discussion and sampling of emerging flavor trends.

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As part of their presentation, FONA highlighted the new wave of exotic fruits like Huckleberry, which is an up and coming fruit based on FONA’s Flavor Radar®—a flavor-mapping methodology— with a mildly sweet, astringent flavor and is commonly used in jams, preserves and baked goods. Following the new wave of exotic fruits, FONA presented new ingredients and provided samples for the audience to taste, smell and touch as each new ingredient was highlighted onscreen.

One ingredient that stood out to me in the presentation was cupuaçu (pronounced koo-poo-ah-soo). Many of us at the table tasted a flavor profile similar to chocolate. But what caught my attention was how FONA referred to the ingredient as a pharmacy in a fruit. Cupuaçu, from the rain forests in Brazil, provides antioxidants and other benefits to the digestive system. In addition, the theobromides in cupuaçu act like caffeine to provide energy and alertness. Some of its traditional applications include desserts, ice cream, chocolates and beverages like milk and juice.

Other ingredients we sampled were baobab, cherimoya, feijoa, jackfruit, maqui berry and persimmon. FONA has all of these ingredients, including cupuaçu, on their watch list as they see how their uses will be expanded in the future. One thing FONA pointed out was that the availability of some of the ingredients they presented will become a factor as to how quickly they enter the market in the U.S.

FONA did a great job presenting the emerging flavor trends they’re seeing; it will be interesting to watch what new products and applications will be introduced or reformulated with these exotic flavors.

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.

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.

IFT ’14 Roundup: New Product Launches, Trends, Introduction of Ardent Mills

IFT 2014From June 21-24, I was in New Orleans at the Institute of Food Technologists’ (IFT) Annual Meeting and Food Expo with more than 16,400 food professionals from all over the globe, to learn about the latest product and ingredient innovations, as well as identify trends that will shape the industry. This year’s show featured 1,120 exhibitors and more than 100 educational sessions and 1,000+ poster sessions.

This year’s IFT showcased a variety of trends in the food ingredient industry. Ingredion was one of several food ingredient companies talking about authenticity, better-for-you snacking and global variety as trends that are driving ingredient research and product development around the world. Similar to previous IFT shows, sugar reduction, salt reduction and fat reduction were still hot topics. According to Innova Market Insights, a rise in home cooking, emerging superfood ingredients and clean-label concerns are also leading trends in food and beverage innovation.
In addition to top trends at IFT, many food ingredient companies were showcasing new products.

Cargill unveiled their new soybean oil made from identity-preserved, conventionally bred soybeans for customers interested in exploring a non-GMO claim on their product label. Land O’Lakes Ingredients demonstrated their expertise in dairy-based ingredients by showcasing their Sea-Salted Caramel dairy seasoning that they launched earlier this year.

Ardent Mills IFT Booth

One of the biggest, and most talked about, unveilings at this year’s IFT Food Expo was Ardent Mills—the newly formed company that combines the operations of ConAgra Mills and Horizon Milling. As part of their debut, they used a state-of-the-art vehicle for their introduction—the Mobile Innovation Center (MIC). The trailer truck-sized MIC served IFT attendees an array of New Orleans-style food applications that incorporated the Ardent Mills portfolio of all-natural traditional and specialty flours and whole grain products like fried alligator po’boys and dirty rice to whole grain beignets and muffuletta.

In our next blog post, we’ll share more insight about the Ardent Mills Mobile Innovation Center and how it plans to help drive grain innovation for its customers. In the meantime, feel free to leave us a comment below and share your thoughts and insights on what trends and new product launches you saw at the Food Expo that you think will shape the industry moving forward.

Fi Global Summit in London to Feature Industry Experts and Thought Leaders

 

Brought to you by the team behind Food Ingredients Europe, the Fi Global Summit is a brand new event that will provide an unbiased, content-rich meeting place to accelerate new ideas and gain an overview of key trends in the global food ingredients and finished foods markets. With the main agenda on 24 Sept. and 25 Sept., plus a day of pre-Summit workshops and master classes, the Fi Global Summit will combine business networking at the exclusive Marketplace with cutting-edge scientific and technical updates, corporate-strategy case studies and presentations from visionary researchers and thought leaders.

The conference will feature presentations by a number of leading food ingredient experts and senior leaders from major global food companies including Unilever, Nestlé and General Mills. The latest industry research will be presented by Leatherhead Food Research and Innova Market Insights as well as Euromonitor International. A newly developed workshop and master class on Best Practices in Food Ingredient Marketing Communications will be presented by Mark Hughes, president of Anderson Partners Food Ingredient Marketing.

The complete conference program can be viewed online at http://www.figlobalsummit.com.

Top Trend Served at RCA: Regional Cuisine

The 2014 Research Chefs Association (RCA) Annual Conference and Culinology® Expo recently took place in Portland, Ore., March 11-14. Portland has been dubbed “America’s new food Eden” by TIME Magazine because of its trend-setting food truck scene, as well as its secret supper clubs and expansive outdoor markets.

Food Truck LunchDuring the RCA show, food trucks lined the street behind the Oregon Convention Center serving up a variety of regional cuisine. From tacos to fresh salads and wraps to gourmet sandwiches, the lunch selection satisfied a variety of taste buds. In addition to the food truck scene, the trend of regional cuisines dominated many local restaurants, which were crowded with RCA chefs and their friends.

The trend of regional cuisines was also a hot discussion topic at the conference. For the opening reception, which took place at the Portland Art Museum, local restaurants like Café NellKachka,Trébol Mexican Cuisine and Pazzo Ristorante provided samplings of their authentic locally sourced dishes.
With the regional cuisine trend getting so much attention at this year’s RCA show, we can expect to see restaurant menus and the foodservice industry provide even more of these offerings over the next year. It should make for some great dining and culinary delights.

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

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

Bioenergy Life Science2

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

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

Solazyme

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

Chiquita Fruit Solutions Wins Best Sustainability Initiative in Juice Award

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

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

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

Nu-Tek Food Science Wins Advertising Excellence Award

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

Dan and Dave Award

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next-thing Thinking

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

Mini Chicago-style Hotdogs

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

Bioenergy Ribose

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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Research Chefs Focus Attention on Sodium Reduction

The 2013 Annual Conference of the Research Chefs Association (RCA) was held in Charlotte, N.C., in March and once again focused on the latest trends in new product development. The Culinology®Expo featured over 100 different exhibitors showcasing the latest ingredients and culinary applications. Corporate chefs and new product development executives from the leading food manufacturers and food service companies exchanged ideas and experiences around new innovations and industry challenges.

One of the biggest trends getting the chefs’ attention was the ongoing pressure on food manufacturers and processors to reduce sodium in their food products. The loudest buzz at the RCA Show around sodium reduction was for ingredient supplier, Nu-Tek Food Science, and their new technology solution for reducing sodium in a wide variety of prepared food applications. At the Saturday morning conference breakfast, Nu-Tek Food Science executives showcased their new technology with an array of traditional breakfast items with significantly reduced sodium levels.

RCA Breakfast Photo-croppedCorporate Chefs Adam Moore and Todd Downs from Charlie Baggs, Inc. presented their English Muffin Challenge with 40-percent reduced-sodium English muffins at an Eggs Benedict station that included 50-percent reduced-sodium bacon, poached eggs and mustard hollandaise. The breakfast buffet also included Cheesy grits with 33-percent reduced-sodium cheddar cheese and 50-percent reduced-sodium sausage links. All of these breakfast items were made with Nu-Tek Food Science’s sodium-reduction technology.

Attendees were wowed by the great taste of the reduced-sodium foods. Corporate Chefs from Unilever, Morrison Food Service and other major manufacturers raved over Nu-Tek Food Science’s sodium-reduction technology as a major breakthrough in addressing this important food industry issue.

Once again, the annual RCA conference showcased the leading edge trends for food manufacturers and processors and in the case of the Nu-Tek Food Science breakfast buffet, did so with the great taste and top-shelf presentation that the research chefs have come to expect.

Celebrity Chefs Ruled at RCA 2012

As we get ready for the 2013 Research Chefs Association Annual (RCA) Conference and Culinology® Expo in Charlotte, we look back at last year’s event in San Antonio where celebrity chefs received widespread attention. Throughout the conference, the chefs showed just how much their influence has grown in the development and formulation of processed food products from the major manufacturers. This was evident at the Expo, where well over 100 food ingredient companies pitched their products to corporate chefs from major customer companies such as Kraft, Kellogg, Uniliver and Nestle.

Chef-John-BeshThe chefs were also featured at numerous private events held throughout the city’s bustling restaurant district. The one that seemed to have the most buzz starred celebrity TV chef and restaurateur, John Besh, at his popular restaurant,Lüke, on the San Antonio River Walk. Sponsored by Spicetec Flavors & Seasonings and ConAgra Mills, the event featured a delicious menu of small plate items prepared with ingredients, spices and flavors provided by the sponsors to the chef’s team. One popular item was Spicy Bam Bam Shrimp in a tempura batter made with Ultragrain® White Whole Wheat Flour and a Spicetec seasoning blend of sriracha and vinegar flavors. The menu drew rave reviews, and guests were excited to talk serious food with Chef Besh and his team.

One of our favorite chefs every year at RCA is Chef Robert Danhi. Chef Danhi got his share of buzz for his great new cookbook, “Easy Thai Cooking,” featuring family-style dishes easily prepared at home. The book and companion video are available on Chef Danhi’s website.

Chef Gerri Bouchard, the corporate research chef for Eatem Foods, also drew a lot of attention for her innovative flavor systems. Samples of food applications featuring those flavor systems included an intriguing Pho Bo with cilantro, jalapeno and Thai basil.

Corporate chefs, research chefs and their product development colleagues will continue to be a major influence on the formulation and development of new processed food products. Expect to see food ingredient marketers focus even more of their efforts on chefs in the future. We’ll be reporting on the latest developments and trends at RCA 2013. Check back to read about all the news from this year’s event.

Chiquita Brands and Amcor Flexibles Win Packaging Award

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

Chiquita Amcor

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

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

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

 

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