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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/

The 2017 Top Food Trends Roundup Report

The new year is here and with it comes another new season of food trend forecasts and analysis. Food manufacturers and food service operators want to know what their consumers are looking for in new food items and new flavors. Food ingredient marketers want to support their manufacturing and food service customers with consumer insights and with an array of new ingredient products and flavor solutions that can help keep them all on trend.

Every year it seems like there are more and more food trend forecast reports flooding the marketplace.  Each market research firm in the space has its report on the latest and greatest trends. Every trade magazine and industry website screams out headlines on the “Top Trends” and “Best Insights,” while every flavor company, ingredient marketer and food service supplier seems ready to put its own spin on the latest trends.

The team of food marketing analysts at Anderson Partners Food Ingredient Marketing is here to help you find your way through all of that clutter and make sense of the new trends that are the most important to you and your customers. For several years now, we have been publishing a series of reports that “round up” the best trend forecasts, providing summaries of key trends and links that take you directly to the leading forecast reports. This year, our team has prepared three different Roundup Reports covering key trends for Consumers, Foodservice and Flavors.

In her report, 2017 Consumer Food Trends Roundup, food marketing analyst Elizabeth Murphy takes a close look at the Innova Market Insights’ report on how ‘Clean Supreme’ Leads Top Trends for 2017.  Indeed, clean label continues to be the leading food industry trend again this year.  The consumer trends round up continues with the MarketWatch article on The Next Hot Trends in Food.  The roundup also includes Mintel’s latest report on Food & Drink Trends 2017 that explores the growing importance of convenience for time-starved consumers.

Liz Bloyd reports in this year’s Foodservice Trends Roundup that 2017 will continue to focus on the customer experience and on how their food gets to their plate. She links to the annual forecast report from The NPD Group that focuses on key trends to watch in 2017, including food delivery services, sourcing from local suppliers, more healthy choices and new twists to classic dishes. The latest report from Baum + Whiteman details many of those new twists including center-of-the-plate attention to vegetables, creative new breakfast options and the proliferation of new ice cream formats.

This year’s Flavor Trends Roundup, from Deb Murray, explores how the flavor industry continues to search for innovative ways to answer consumers’ increasing demands for more exciting, natural flavors and exotic flavor combinations.  Links to reports from both the National Restaurant Association and Comax Flavors show how the search is on around the world to find new flavors and flavor combinations to match up with consumers’ adventurous taste buds. The granddaddy of all flavor reports, The McCormick Flavor Forecast also predicts how global flavors will make many different, unexpected appearances in both food service menus and new food products.

Overall, our Roundup Reports forecast an exciting year for the food industry. Many of the trends we’ve examined are focused on new ingredients in classical applications or on familiar ingredients in new applications.  Either way it should be a very tasty new year!

2017 Consumer Food Trends Roundup

It’s that time of year when the food industry looks ahead to predict what will be hot in the new year to come. Since we get inundated with so many upcoming trends during this busy holiday season, each year we like to take this opportunity to put together trend roundups in a variety of categories. Today we’ll be examining the biggest trends we believe consumers will look for in 2017.

2017-consumer-trends-internal

Innova Market Insights recently distributed its annual trends press release, ’Clean Supreme’ Leads Top Trends for 2017. And as you can tell from the title—and very similar to years past—clean label is no longer trending—it’s the rule. That being said, Innova delves deeper into how this translates for consumers in 2017. For example, even though sugar is a natural ingredient that many people recognize, consumers will increasingly look for identifiable, healthier, natural alternatives. Innova also predicts a consumer surge in the hunt for additional label claims, like “environmentally friendly” and “animal welfare,” that holistically makes them feel better about the products they consume. And along a similar vein, plant-based and vegan offerings will appear on consumer plates as an exciting alternative that meets growing consumer health and ethical standards.

While Sterling Rice Group touches on some more indulgent consumer trends in its Top Ten Trends That Will Have Diners Drooling in 2017 press release—including eating cake with breakfast—a major focus remains on foods that not only satisfy taste buds but the mind and body as a whole. Examples include following the “food as medicine” trend of “Dosha Dining” and turning to ready-to-eat fish for an easy, flavorful, protein-rich snack to curb hunger between meals with “Snackin Sardines.” Sterling Rice Group also reports consumers will look for more adventurous non-alcoholic beverages, which provide the exciting tastes of a cocktail without negative health impacts.

In MarketWatch’s article, The Next Hot Trends in Food, David Garfield, food-industry consultant at AlixPartners, further examines the changing beverage landscape. He states, “For a trend to go mainstream, it has to provide health benefits, be easily comprehensible, make economic sense for the manufacturer, and of course, taste good.” He predicts a consumer increase in the consumption of alternative beverages like cactus and maple water because they satisfy consumer desire for new beverages and can claim increased nutrition benefits like aiding digestion. He continues, “It’s even better if the product tells a story and has third-party verification, such as a certified-organic label.” Garfield predicts a rise in jackfruit consumption as an alternative meat because it is a natural, uncomplicated option that easily adapts to different tastes.

While Mintel’s report, Food & Drink Trends 2017 touches on an increased emphasis on plant-based products and new beverages trends that meet consumer health and wellness goals, it also examines how time is increasingly affecting consumer needs. The report states, “The time investments required for products and meals will become as influential as nutrition or ingredient claims.” This trend extends to every aspect of a product—think quick-service grocery delivery technology and easily prepped meals to products that go from development to shelf in under 48 hours. “Products that share how long they will take to receive, prepare or consume, but are also healthy, will find their way into more homes.” Mintel also believes consumers will turn to functional products at nighttime to help induce sleep and add a sense of calm to bedtime routines.

Overall, while taste will always be important, we are increasingly seeing a need for products to satisfy more than just taste buds. Consumers want products that fulfill a number of health and wellness claims and, not only fit seamlessly into their schedules, but actually enhance them.

We’d love to know what trends you are most excited to see in the coming year. Please share in the comments below and be sure to check back next week as we explore upcoming foodservice trends for 2017!

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