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

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

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

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

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

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

Guyer’s Top Tips for Successfully Exporting your Product:

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

More From AMI

 

Content Marketing for Food Ingredient Companies

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

Content Marketing

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

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

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

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

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

Stealth Marketing Goes Mainstream for Food Ingredient Companies

Stealth marketing has garnered considerable attention over the past year in food ingredient marketing channels. Stealth marketing is the practice in which food manufacturers and processors change their formulations to achieve some improved nutritional or health-and-wellness attribute but don’t publicize that fact or even mention it in packaging or marketing communications. This has been a key strategy for several years now with manufacturers steadily reducing sodium levels in their products while not telling their American consumers who tend to shun products labeled “low” or “reduced salt.”

Stealth marketing has also been a major strategy for school menus, where kids generally dislike healthy foods, as Food Technology reported in “Stealth Health for Kids.

Newsweek took the subject mainstream in the consumer press with its feature article, “Your favorite prepared foods may be getting healthier. You just don’t know it.” And now ConAgra Mills’ Ultragrain brand has taken the subject mainstream in the food trade press with its recent ad headlined “Stealth nutrition for every menu.”

ultragrain-ad

Vice President of Marketing, Mike Veal, and his team at ConAgra Mills have done a good job connecting the benefits of its white whole wheat flour to a new line of pasta products for foodservice—where the idea of stealth marketing appeals to operators trying to keep up with the array of health-and-wellness regulations they face.

Expect to see more food ingredient companies target their marketing on providing their customers in foodservice and manufacturing with products and solutions focused on helping them implement stealth marketing reformulations. Sodium reduction regulation will continue to drive customers to seek lower sodium levels, as reported by BNET in its article “Stealth and Other Salt Reduction Strategies.” Sugars and sweeteners will receive increasing attention as well. Beverage companies are already leading the way. PepsiCo’s announcement of a 25% reduction in sugar and calories was reported byBNET as “Pepsi’s Latest Weapon in the Fight Against Calories: Stealth Sweeteners.

It would appear that a leading trend in marketing strategy for food companies is one that they don’t want to tell their consumers about.

 

Be the Innovator—Supply Your Customers with Ideas & Recipes

Recipes_imgBonici Pizza Brand, a product line of Tyson Food Services, offers its customers a recipe collection that takes the Bonici brand beyond the standard pizza or pasta. Each recipe volume is stuffed full—pun intended—with new and unique recipes and tips on how to use Bonici products in an innovative way. All recipe volumes are available as a downloadable, high-quality PDF with mouthwatering food photography. Recipes include ingredients, quantities and baking instructions. Because of the recipe collections, Bonici customers have the option of making and serving more flavorful, innovative dishes, while Bonici increases customer loyalty satisfaction, product interest and overall sales. Leave it to Tyson to once again think outside the circle.

Bernardi’s Fully Stocked Web Site

When it comes to giving its customers the information they want, Bernardi Frozen Italian Specialties is right on point. In addition to Bernardi product information, customers have access to recipe ideas, cooking instructions and a chef blog. The Web site also contains food service news, mabernardi_logo_200x100rketing tools to help customers sell and even a “Cook Up Higher Profits” section of the site where customers can access a profit calculator and operator solutions, to better increase profit margins. All of these elements are actually navigation key links that can be accessed through a unique, animated picture collage on the homepage. This is worth noting, as we haven’t seen any other FI companies utilizing this valuable space in that way. But, while the homepage adds movement and interactivity, we aren’t completely convinced it’s necessary. All in all, though, bernardifoods.com is a well-thought-out site that speaks directly to its customers and gives them the information they want and need.

Keep Things Convenient and Simple

circleIn this fast-paced world, fewer people stop to smell the roses, and probably won’t until the iPhone comes out with a scratch-and-sniff application. Time is of the essence and convenience is almost expected. To accommodate this, Kerry Ingredients & Flavours, Americas has created a “Quick Discovery” tool where online visitors can quickly explore technologies and market solutions. However, what started off as a seemingly quick map of the Web site actually became more of an obstacle. The “spinning wheel of information” was not user friendly and some of the copy had to be read upside down. While the idea of convenience was there and appreciated, the execution ran short, reminding us that simple is oftentimes better.

Offering Market Information Can Increase Customer Engagement

kfiCommMarketUpdateStaying up on market trends is important for many food ingredient buyers. Instead of letting your customer travel to another site, why not include market information directly on your site? Kraft Food Ingredients provides its customers with a Commodity Market Update. Here, the customer can ponder over a consolidated overview of the most recent market information, including current price and price history, to help them make an informed ingredient formulation and buying decision. By offering this information on its site, Kraft Food Ingredients not only makes market research convenient for its customers, but also helps them understand costs and where the market is headed. This, in turn, then translates into ease and confidence in purchasing Kraft Food Ingredient products.

Association Blogs

Two industry association blogs that are branded well and have a good presence are California Raisins and National Peanut Board, found at these respective sites:

raisin peanut-board

 

 

 

http://blog.loveyourraisins.com                   http://energyforthegoodlife.org

Best practices these sites have incorporated:

1. Create a unique URL address. 

Have fun with it. But make sure that it represents your brand and the content. It should be search-engine friendly, easy to remember and read well in print.

2. Brand it.

Design your blog to be consistent with your brand and other marketing communications materials—especially if your blog is hosted outside of your current Web site.

3. Cross promote social media.

Utilize social media icons for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. to promote your other social media outlets to your readers. Because you have a captured audience, it’s a great opportunity to create connections in other channels that your readers may also frequent.

4. Post often.

Anything less than one post every two weeks will likely aid in readership loss. We recommend posting at least once a week, but the more the merrier! With that said, you also don’t want to post too often, especially if a reader has signed up to your RSS feed. You don’t want to “annoy” them. The best rule of thumb is to think about how often you like to receive content and when you are most likely to read it.

5. Be relevant.

I think this goes without saying. At times, you may feel like you are clawing for topics to post about and notice your posts start to sway toward irrelevancy. The best advice is to stop thinking so hard! Comment on personal experiences or articles you’ve read, ask an expert to be a guest contributor or even use your own readers’ comments to spark a new topic.

Trade Publication Blogs

Food ingredient-focused trade publications have started to utilize blogs as well.

This blog from bakingbuyer.com is targeted toward retail bakers and utilizes one baker’s personal life experiences to generate content. The blog provides insights into different bakeries and bakers by highlighting features that set them apart and have made them successful.

There are two key elements that I think could help the functionality of this blog.

1. Add a more complete description to the “About” section.

As a consumer, before I begin to consistently read a blog, I will likely try to find out more about it. In this section, I’d like to know who the contributing writers are and their backgrounds. I’d also like a brief description on the topics covered and the audience the blog is trying to reach.

2. Develop categories by topic, not by date.

If I’m interested in a particular topic, I want to be able to go right to that post versus having to scroll through months of posts. By creating topic categories, you direct the reader to the content that is most interesting to them. It’s important to keep in mind that no one will ever read every word of your post.

This next blog does both of these well.

Meatingplace.com has seven contributing writers. Each writer focuses on a different topic relevant to the industry, such as food safety, product development and regulatory developments. The main page of this blog does a great job of highlighting the writers and the topics they will be covering. It even offers a downloadable PDF bio of each writer. Also, within each blog, the post titles are provided.

Welcome to Our New Food Ingredient Marketing Communications Blog

Welcome to our new blog titled See What’s Working. Our focus is on marketing communications in the food ingredient industry. We plan to bring news, comments and examples of the best practices and best programs being used by the most successful food ingredient companies in today’s marketplace. In part, this blog is an extension of our ongoing communications with industry professionals through our LinkedIn group—FIMC. Since launching this successful group in ’09, we’ve heard from many members who have a great interest in relevant information on the best marketing communications programs and ideas. <Click here to see the group on LinkedIn>

In this blog, I plan to share insights, challenges and best practices on food ingredient marketing communications. I’ve been working in the food industry for over 25 years now and have led the food ingredients group at Anderson Partners since 1997. I spend a big part of my time talking to marketing and communication executives at many different food ingredient companies. I regularly attend industry trade shows, and follow trends and new initiatives that impact food marketing. And I get to work every day with some of the leading brands in the industry. All of this is what I plan to share with you in See What’s Working.

Most of the writing for this blog will come from me. I have a great team of experienced food ingredient professionals that work with me here at Anderson Partners, and from time to time they will weigh in with their own posts. Please visit our TEAM page for more information about us.

We also welcome your comments and your thoughts on our posts. The purpose of this blog is to help you create new and successful marketing strategies for your company, so I hope you find these posts informative, enjoyable and, above all, useful.

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