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

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

Coconut Water Concentrate - Website

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

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

Coconut Water Concentrate - Calculator

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chiquita Fruit Solutions is Spinnovating

Chiquita Spinnovator

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

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

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

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

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

 

Bioenergy Ribose Landing Page Features Applications

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

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

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

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

 

Chiquita Tropicals Free Fruit Chips Sample Offer

Chiquita Tropicals, the tropical fruit ingredient group for global Chiquita Brands in Cincinnati, launched a new landing page that offers free product samples of their new, 100% all-natural Fruit Chips featuring bananas, mangos and pineapples. The site is targeted at food manufacturing R&D, product developers and research chefs looking for innovative tropical fruit solutions to enhance their product applications. These chips are just one of the many fruit ingredient products that Chiquita Tropicals provides for its commercial customers. Click here for your free Fruit Chips sample.

STEP1

The landing page provides direct links to information on products and application ideas for food developers and manufacturers. The sample request function offers a simple, direct connection for customers to receive a free sample. This tactic is a great tool to get customers interested and engaged in what Chiquita Tropicals can do for their products.

Chiquita Tropicals launched the new Fruit Chips sample offer at the Anuga trade show, held in Germany in early October. The new Fruit Chips landing page is supported by email, social media marketing and collateral pieces that feature a QR Code for quick access to a full mobile version of the landing page.

Mobile

The multiple platforms and integrated support makes this campaign very user friendly for customers. Chiquita Tropicals has given their customers and prospects a real reason to connect and engage with their new Fruit Chips sample offer.

New Clean Label Campaign From IFC

Isn’t it nice when you are flipping through a familiar publication and a refreshing ad catches your eye? This print ad from International Fiber Corporation (IFC) uses a soft and airy color scheme to draw you in. And then, in a single headline, it introduces a common nutritional problem manufacturers face, and offers the solution.

IFC

The ad focuses on a basic visual of nutritional labels for an array of applications and easily demonstrates how calories are reduced when insoluble fiber is added. It’s interesting to note that the ad neglects to callout the two ingredient brand names that IFC offers. Whether intentional or not, this approach becomes less of a sales pitch and more of an acknowledgement of a nation-wide consumer and governmental trend toward decreasing our caloric intake.

This creative is seamlessly carried into a landing page found at www.reducecalorieswithfiber.com. The site does a great job of setting up the issue and addressing the problem with the benefits of insoluble fiber. The ingredient names are found on this site, although they aren’t described in detail. To learn more about them, you have to click to the main IFC website and conduct your own search.

All in all, IFC made it very easy for its audience to understand the unique value of insoluble fiber and how it can clean up nutritional labels.

New Functional Egg Site Showcases Videos

FunctionalEggHome2High five to the American Egg Board and Shelly McKee, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Poultry Science at Auburn University, their new website found at functionalegg.org! This website features six videos for food formulators that highlight the functional properties of egg products, including aeration, coagulation, emulsification, foaming and crystallization control. Videos can be such an engaging and informative tool in your marketing mix, and they are often overlooked. Which is why I’m excited to see a food ingredient company utilizing them.

Here is my honest analysis of the site.

Positives:

  • Great use of a mini-website to distribute a targeted message.
  • The site is very clean, easy to follow and not bombarded with text.
  • The video content itself is great, with great intent.
  • Good production quality.
  • Good use of quick links back to the main site for additional information.

Opportunities:

  • Ms. McKee, the narrator of the videos, appears stiff, as if she is reading from a monitor. This could be addressed by giving her bullet points to speak from as opposed to a script to follow.
  • To break up the monotony of having the camera on one person narrating, work in more demonstrations, graphics or video with voiceover, or consider adding another personality.
  • Some of these videos are 8-10 minutes long. It’s hard to hold someone’s attention for that long through an online video. I’d recommend 5 minutes or less.

According to the website there are six more videos on the functionality of eggs that are coming soon! That’s exciting news and great for food technologists; hopefully, the American Egg Board will consider ways to make these videos even more engaging.

Back to Scratch Baking

Hobart, Traulsen and Baxter—which offer a full line of food equipment, from flight-type warewashers to countertop food processors—launched a new B2B campaign at the 2011 National Restaurant Association (NRA) show called “Back to Scratch.” These partners recognized a growing demand for scratch baking and utilizing fresh ingredients. The target audience of this campaign was foodservice professionals, including bakers, schools and institutional bakers.

Hobart Corp. teamed up with Buddy Valastro from TLC’s “The Cake Boss” to help spread the message. Buddy is a big supporter of the Hobart mixer and scratch baking, and therefore was a perfect fit. Buddy and other chefs conducted baking demonstrations during the NRA show. Attendees could also take pictures with Buddy and were given a web address to view them at, creating further engagement.

Beyond the show, Horbart Corp. created a website at www.getbacktoscratch.com. This website allows foodservice professionals an opportunity to talk to other bakers and share photos of food items. Bakers can also put themselves on the map by submitting their location, allowing consumers to find them. A contest for a Hobart mixer, that goes until August 21, 2011, has been generating a lot of buzz on the site as well. Bakers can enter the contest by submitting their signature scratch-made item for others to vote on it.

GetbacktoscratchBV-2

Other channels utilized to connect to bakers included Facebook and Twitter:

www.facebook.com/getbacktoscratch

twitter.com/#!/back2scratch/

This campaign was done very tastefully. The focus is on the bakers and the recognized trend toward going back to scratch. Nowhere in this campaign are Hobart, Traulsen and Baxter hard selling any of its equipment. Obviously, the goal long-term goal is that bakers will remember them when purchasing equipment, but it goes to show that B2B companies can create real connections with their audiences without trying to sell something.

Here is some additional earned media the campaign achieved:

www.foodchannel.com/blogs/entry/cake-boss-takes-cake/

www.zshare.net/audio/91400631bdbf9e1d

 

Make Holiday-themed POS: Help Your Customers Increase Sales

sweetstreets

A reoccurring theme throughout our blogs is educating your customers, and giving them the tools and information to fully benefit from your products. Sweet Street Desserts—a gourmet dessert distributor—has dedicated an entire portion of its site to its customers, offering product information, new and featured products, merchandising tools and much more. And now, with graduation season upon us, Sweet Street’s latest email blast promoted graduation-themed POS.

At its online Sweet Shop, Sweet Street customers can create POS and product cards that can be customized, encouraging additional or last-minute dessert purchases for graduation celebrations. Sweet Street is a great example of how continuing to find opportunities to help your customers sell can be beneficial for you, and it reminds us that POS is great at tempting customers to buy.

The Added Value in Customer Exclusivity

With food ingredient companies, a great way to keep your customers happy, and your sales up, is to continuously provide your customers with information on your products, the benefits they offer, and innovative ways to incorporate them into new recipes. And what better way to supply that information than directly on your website?

Bakemark

BakeMark is a bakery product supplier, and has rolled out a new online component called Bakers Row, accessible only to BakeMark customers. Through this exclusive section, customers have access to information such as seasonal ideas and frequently asked questions, as well as tips on how to get the most from their baking equipment and BakeMark ingredients. The interesting part about Bakers Row is its exclusivity. What a great way to make your customers feel they’re getting added value, while also encouraging them to purchase additional products. It’s definitely a win-win.

Caravan Ingredient’s New and Improved Website

Caravan

Caravan Ingredients—a leading provider of functional food ingredients, nutritional supplements and baking supplies—has just launched a new website. From the high quality images to its product search, this new site has all of the components to properly inform Caravan’s customers of its product offerings and capabilities. In addition to, the site also features how-to baking videos and easy-to-use resource forms. Click here to check out the new site for yourself.

Damage Control in the Form of Marketing

Products in the food industry can be rather temperamental, forcing companies to not only fix the problem, but relay that fix to its customers. Big question is: how does one best do that? A great example of what to do in this situation is Chiquita’s Chiquita To Go. Recently, Chiquita experienced some customer dissatisfaction with the short shelf life of its bananas. In response, this international marketer, distributor and producer of fresh fruit came up with a new marketing solution to help its customers sell to their customers.

chiquita

Thus came Chiquita To Go. Chiquita positioned bananas as the perfect grab-and-go snack for its customers’ shoppers. They created new Chiquita To Go merchandising to make it easy for its customers to position, as well as created a website to explain all of the details, including informational videos and testimonials from satisfied customers. This marketing approach, in conjunction with the Web component, has already been successful for Chiquita. Not only has the company made its customers happy, it has generated a new way to position its product and increase overall sales.

 

GlutenFreely.com: A One-stop-site for Gluten-free

GlutenFreely

With the gluten-free craze in full force, I’ve seen a lot of sites dedicated to promoting the popular trend. But not yet have I seen a site incorporate so many components, quite so well as Gluten Freely. While glutenfreely.com is not a new site, it has revamped its look, as well as added additional gluten-free content. From articles and blogs to coupons and recipes, this site is a great resource for both those who choose to, or are medically advised, to maintain a gluten-free lifestyle. The site also has medical content available, and an online store offering more than 400 products sorted by category—breads, desserts, meals and entrees and more. Gluten-free fan or not, this site is sure to impress. Check out all Gluten Freely has to offer here.

Webinar Use Grows for Food Ingredient Industry

If you’ve yet to host or sponsor a webinar—online presentations via the internet that you can listen to and view from the convenience of your own home or office—it’s about time you revisit the idea. The food industry is no stranger to the world of webinars, and many of the big hitters are taking advantage. For example, Food Business News, so far, has six to eight webinars planned for 2011, increasing that from three to five in previous years, and both Food Product Design and QSR Magazine webinars continually increase in number, year over year. Each webinar has a specific focus, geared toward helping companies improve in customers ranging from sales, to trend-awareness, to manufacturing tips.

Here is an assortment of recent webinars that we have attended:

“Whole Grains – A Winning Strategy for your Core Menu”
Sponsored by ConAgra Mills and hosted by QSR Magazine.

“Trends and Opportunities for New Sweeteners”
Hosted by Food Product Design.

“Growth & Opportunity in the Gluten-Free Market”
Sponsored by RC Fine Foods and hosted by Food Management and Restaurant Hospitality.

There is a great demand for webinars, as they are a cheaper and more convenient way of gathering information, and it could be just the thing to put you in contact with current, and possibly new, customers.

Supermarket Guru Takes Video a Step Further

gurusite

Some of you may already be familiar with the self-proclaimed Supermarket Guru, Phil Lempert. Phil is a leading food industry analyst, journalist and trend-watcher, and is a spokesperson for ConAgra Foods. Working with various ConAgra brands and its retail partners, Phil helps communicate strategies on saving money, healthier eating and food trend information to America’s shoppers. Each week on SupermarketGuru.com, Phil posts a New Product Review video. In these videos, Phil reviews five new products and rates them based on taste, value, health, ingredients, preparation, appearance, packaging and sustainability—dubbing the product either a hit or a miss. In the videos, Phil uses an interesting mix of footage and supers. As he talks through the products, he displays the actual product, product name, breakdown of the ratings and price. Even more interesting is the New Product Review page layout. To the right of the footage is a transcript of what Phil is saying about each product, including a link to the product’s website. It’s definitely an interesting approach to spicing up traditional video clips—making video an even more effective addition to your website.

 

National Honey Board’s Baking Site

bakingwithhoney

At the 2010 International Baking Industry Exposition, the National Honey Board promoted its baking website—BakingWithHoney.com. The site is filled with tips on how honey can be used for a variety of new product ideas, and provides the latest technical information on how honey improves bakery foods’ flavor profiles and processing attributes. Visitors can view recent honey formulations, new products monthly and featured bakeries that incorporate honey into its products. The site even has three spin-off sites for baking with honey—“Snacking with Honey,” “Candy with Honey” and “Dairy with Honey.” With all of these resources in one site, the National Honey Board is continuing to help bakers with formulation assistance, marketing and new product development.

New Website for Solae

Solaeweb

2010 was a big year for Solae—a world-leader in developing soy-based technologies and products—with its launch of a new website. Solae’s new site incorporates a fresh design, a robust search tool, consumer-friendly nutrition information and highlighted features on the homepage. Solae has, and will continue to, integrate additional enhancements, such as a customer resource center, a case study library and videos. Solae has even expanded its global reach by offering multilingual content that is relevant to Solae’s various geographic markets.

Association Marketing at its Finest

Almond Banner

Food ingredient national and regional association and board websites have come a long way. Not too long ago, these websites were not visually appealing, were mostly text based and were certainly not user friendly. As of late, it seems that associations are investing more dollars into marketing and are driving traffic to their sites through print and banner advertising in the major food industry publications, like Food Business News and Food Processing. And rightly so, because these websites house a wealth of helpful information. I can quickly find information by channel (health professional, food industry, grower, etc.), and on health benefits, recipes, distribution, and much more.

Here’s a list of a few great association sites:

www.almondboard.com
www.calraisins.org
www.madewithhoney.com
www.sweetsurprise.com
www.cornnaturally.com
www.nationalpeanutboard.org
www.aeb.org

 

What’s the Next Visual Trend in Marketing?

dawn

For years, the visual trend had shifted from showing ingredients to showing ingredients in applications. The goal was to showcase to your customers the value your ingredient can bring to a finished application. We all know that like the current clothing fad, trends come and they go. So what trend will replace the iconic finished application photo? Consider the visuals Dawn Food Products is using on its website: in-store bakery shots of bakers helping customers, kids blowing out candles on a cake at a birthday party, a night shot of a distribution truck traveling through busy traffic, the toasting of an anniversary, and a couple enjoying breakfast. Each one of these shots showcased the application, but added the human element of the end consumer enjoying the product in their everyday lives. Who will dare to be next … to take a step away from more of the same?

Domino’s Website is a Virtual Ingredient Farm for Pizza Lovers

doms

Due to Domino’s Pizza’s recent success in the advertising game—having caught up to the popularity of pizza moguls, Pizza Hut and Papa John’s—it’s worth taking note of the company’s continued marketing efforts. In recent months, Domino’s has launched a website called “Behind the Pizza” to help promote its fresh ingredients—from vegetables to proteins to cheeses. This website takes visitors to virtual farms, all across the U.S., where Domino’s ingredients are actually produced. Visitors can earn points by playing games, viewing pictures or watching a story of how each ingredient gets to the pizza. We’ve written about virtual simulation before; it’s a great way to engage the customer, while also remaining informative. Yet again, another great step Domino’s is taking to advertise and market its pizza as top quality.

 

IFT Online Tools Generate Buzz for Ingredient Marketers

IFT 2The 2010 IFT show in Chicago presented its widest range of online tools yet, providing attendees with multiple opportunities to connect and communicate. Savvy food ingredient marketers took advantage of the IFT online presence to promote their show offerings, and drive traffic to their booths.

In a previous blog post we reviewed the IFT’s tools that helped attendees prepare a personalized show guide and send e-mail meeting invitations to exhibitors and other participants. Several major food ingredient companies told me that they had received multiple meeting requests from the ChripEvite e-mail tool.

In addition to the preshow planning tools, IFT offered a full suite of social media sites where attendees could post information, comment on presentations and exhibits, and communicate with one another. The integrated social media platform included sites on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and LinkedIn. The LinkedIn discussion group included over 3,700 members who actively posted and discussed their IFT experiences.  A steady stream of Twitter posts and Flickr photos was prominently displayed on a large video screen kiosk just outside the main entrance.

Several food ingredient companies took advantage of IFT’s online platform to actively promote their presence at the show. Companies announced giveaways and demonstrations taking place at their booths. There were also multiple posts with announcements on new products and ingredient applications that provided links to additional content and information. Prominent ingredient marketers using the tools included National Starch, Monsanto, Innova and David Michael & Co.

All of these tools and examples of food ingredient company activity can be accessed through the IFT portal site.

Sargento Site Offers Customers New Idea Center

sargentoWhen it comes to customizing products, Sargento takes the … cheese. Sargento Food Ingredients offers customers a way to create customized products in its Food Ingredients Idea Center. “You bring the idea; they supply the ingredients.” Choose a product category, such as cheese, sauce or filling, and then mix and match flavors of your choice. It even offers “Better for You” ingredients, so you can concoct a healthier option. Once you’ve chosen flavors, select delivery options, including size and packaging. Whether you have something in mind or the options help you come up with something new, meal kits have never been so easily customizable.

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.

Social Interactivity Moves E-Commerce

superberriesUtilizing e-commerce sites is somewhat expected of companies now-a-day, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t incorporating more unique features throughout their sites to help increase sales. Superberries is a client of Anderson Partners that sells aroniaberry products—a fruit that contains multiple benefits for overall wellness. Superberries’ success is driven by repeat sales from customers who have seen positive results after using Superberries products. For Superberries.com, Anderson Partners decided to go beyond the standard e-commerce site and integrate interactive functionality that would not only engage new customers, but encourage all customers to become loyal to the Superberries brand.

One tool we incorporated on the Superberries site was customer testimonials. Who better to promote your product than your satisfied customers? But we didn’t just post a paragraph of copy; we made it more interactive by posting video testimonials. Each of the five videos represents a different demographic, but all detail the results they experienced and how the product has made a difference in their quality of life.

While testimonials do the job of encouraging new customers to begin using the product, we wanted to incorporate social media tools, such as Facebook and YouTube and a community forum, to create an environment where like-minded people can gather and share information. In addition to streaming real-life experiences, this social media integration encourages customers to visit the site on a regular basis, thereby, creating customer loyalty.

With the help of customer testimonials and social media integration, Superberries.com has raised the bar in e-commerce, evolving into an online communication gateway for both new and existing customers.

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.

Product-Specific Web Sites Can Help Increase Brand Awareness

Teavigo_logo_EnglishDSM Nutritional Products is a world leader in supplying vitamins, carotenoids and other fine chemicals to the feed, food, pharmaceutical and personal care industries. When DSM introduced a new product called Teavigo, a caffeine-free green tea extract, it launched a product specific site—Teavigo.com—in addition to promoting the product on the DSM Web site. By creating Teavigo.com, DSM is able to promote the brand of the Teavigo product. The site combines soothing music, a tranquil look and feel, details, benefits, and quality and safety features of Teavigo. This creates a brand experience that speaks directly to target customers which would not have existed through a product-listing or even a dedicated page on the DSM Web site.

Maintaining Brand Consistency Through Multiple Web Sites

GrainCorpScreenshotsBrian D. Till and Donna Heckler, authors of The Truth About Creating Brands People Love, said, “Keep your brand simple and consistent.” Words to live by. When it comes to branding, it’s not about flash, and it’s not about glam. It’s about establishing a look that accurately represents your product or service, and continues to do so in all communications. When GrainCorp Malt—an international malt supplier that has production facilities spanning three continents—wanted to develop an online presence for itself and subsidiary companies, Anderson Partners helped by setting an objective to not only build design consistency across three Web sites, but to also maintain the integrity of the respective brands. Each site offers a similar layout and look and feel, which successfully creates individual brand identities and synergy between all three. Visit the sites at: graincorpmalt.com, greatwesternmalting.com and canadamalting.com.

Help Your Customers Sell Your Products

sweetdIf you’re in the wholesale food business, then you know the only thing sweeter than making a sale, is making a repeat sale. And the only way to make that happen—apart from selling a great product that people enjoy—is for your customers to successfully sell your products to their customers. Sweet Street Desserts goes beyond making the initial sale with their Sweet Elite Program. Sweet Street customers can join the Sweet Elite Program and learn how to train their staff to sell Sweet Street Desserts, upload product images for menus and promotions, and even create their own merchandising—all steps that lead toward maximizing dessert sales, and lead toward repeat sales. Because, remember—your customer’s success is your success.

Hormel Web Site Tool Gives Users Easy Information Storage

hormel_foods_foodserviceHormel Foodservice offers a new feature on its Web site called “My Files.” My Files is an online storage tool to bookmark preferred recipes, articles and product pages. A user creates an account, and accesses it with a username and password. This feature is unique because it offers culinary, marketing and R&D an easy way to store helpful information. The benefit to Hormel is that it will likely increase repeat traffic to its Web site. This, in turn, will increase the length of time someone spends on the site, as well as their engagement, which could aid in potential sales.

Enticing Product Description Pages from Kraft Food Ingredients

kraft fiKraft Food Ingredients presents its products on its Web site in a unique way, particularly for its savory flavors category. What I like about these pages is the usability. They allow the user to gather all the information they need about a product in one easy place. Each product has its own dedicated page that describes the flavor category, the applications it can be used in and the manufacturing processes it can withhold. The descriptions are also accompanied with mouthwatering food photography. From the product page, the user is able to order samples or specs, download formulation suggestions for the featured application and download a spec chart. Usability such as this can go a long way when internal sales and marketing, as well as manufacturing and operating customers, are strapped for time and need complete information quickly.

Example of a Successful B-to-B Video from Schwan’s Food Service

I recently came across a video on the homepage of nrn.com for Schwan’s Food Service. The video was the size of a square banner ad at 300 x 250 pixels. What’s unique about this video is its use of voice-over, food photography and animation to tell a compelling story. Often, when we talk to clients about videos, they are concerned about the time involved, scheduling conflicts, locating talent, editing process, etc. If these are concerns for you as well, consider an alternative to live footage, such as a video like Schwan’s, which could prove to be less expensive and less time consuming.

Schwan’s video, titled “Grow Your Business,” is a message to food service operators that identifies how Schwan’s can help its customers meet their profit-generating goals. The video does a great job of driving home this message, while continuously circling back to how this benefits the customer.

Schwan’s allows its customers to take a look inside of its core business practices. One of the key messages is how Schwan’s goes beyond food manufacturing to provide ideas, consumer insights and promotional items. All of this so you can make smart, more informed decisions about your business. If you look at food marketing today, almost every company can, and does, say this. So, even though Schwan’s message may be the same as some of its competitors, the tactic used to deliver that message is much more compelling.

To see how other B-to-B companies are utilizing videos on nrn.com, click here.

New Traceability Tool Gives Chiquita’s Fresh Express® an Edge

Consumers are increasingly interested in knowing where their food comes from. Sustainability initiatives and the growing interest in local sources of food have added pressure on food companies to provide more information on the traceability of the ingredients in their products.

Chiquita’s Fresh Express brand has launched a new online tool that lets consumers find where the lettuce in their bagged salad products came from. The tool is housed on the Fresh Express Web site and is very consumer friendly. I found it easy to use, and loaded with relevant, interesting information.

Fresh ExpressChiquita announced the launch of the new traceability tool in March with a press release to all the major trade outlets. It has launched a major consumer advertising initiative to promote the new tool and attract consumers to the site. TV commercials began airing March 29. The company is also using social media, including food blogs and Facebook, to promote its new message.

Jim Prevor’s Perishable Pundit recently published an in-depth interview with Tanos Viviani, Chiquita’s global chief marketing officer, and the team that launched the new campaign. The interview includes a discussion of the propriety research that led the team to develop the new online tool, as well as their strategies to promote it. Click here to read the entire interview.

This is a unique example of a food company using new online and interactive applications to engage its customers with its products. It will be interesting to see if other food marketers follow with their own traceability tools.

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