Partners Food Ingredient Marketing, a full-service advertising and marketing
communications firm specializing in the global food ingredient industry, is
celebrating 30 years in the business. While the agency is reflecting on the
major milestone with a commemorative logo and an internal celebration that’s
planned for later this year, the majority of the team’s 30th anniversary is
focused on the next 30 years.
of our achievements over the last 30 years and the foundation that our former
CEO, the late Mark Hughes, helped set for our agency,” said Deb Murray,
president and co-owner. “At the same time, we know that in order to be truly successful
in today’s competitive environment, we need to continuously look ahead to
identify new resources and opportunities.”
Partners Food Ingredient Marketing was built on the belief that the most
successful business relationships start with honesty and transparency. Since
1989, the agency has remained committed to that promise, working with iconic regional,
national and international clients like Ardent Mills, Chiquita, ConAgra Brands,
Corbion, CSM Bakery Solutions, Hormel Ingredient Solutions, Kraft Heinz
Ingredients and Tree Top.
leadership team encourages continuous growth, learning and hard work in a fun, collaborative
environment. Anderson Partners Food Ingredient Marketing also has a progressive
view of what it means to care for employees, offering competitive benefits
packages that include automatic employer-contributed 401K plans and paid
parental and family leave, as well as medical, dental and vision options. The
female-owned agency even offers a private nursing area for new mothers.
connect clients with valuable trade media and stay up-to-date on the latest
trends, the team regularly attends key industry trade shows. Many of the team members
are also actively involved in prominent trade associations and frequently share
insights at industry events as well as through the company’s blog and social
“We know our
success has always been about one thing — the people,” said Murray. “Our
longevity is a direct reflection of the collaborative partnerships between our
team and our amazing clients, who turn to us for our smart creative, strategic
thinking and passion for helping them succeed.”
Last week, we attended the Food and Ag at the Intersection symposium right here in Omaha, Neb. Through a series of interactive panels, symposium speakers discussed the trends that will have the longest shelf life to generate profits or capital investment.
Each year more than 20,000 new products are launched in U.S. food stores, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Economics Research Service. Yet, approximately 85% of new consumer packaged goods (CPG) eventually fail. With consumer trends rapidly moving the needle into new and more complex areas, it’s important for food and beverage manufacturers to stay up to date on the trends shaping the industry. Below, we dive into the major trends and insights discussed at the symposium.
his keynote presentation, Jayson Lusk, distinguished professor and head of the
ag economics department at Purdue University, explained how rich-poor spending
gaps tend to grow in good times and fall during recessions. In particular, he
pointed out that demand for animal products has fallen among high-income consumers,
while requests for fresh fruits and vegetables has increased. In general, he
said the wealthy typically care more about quality, sustainability and
environmental issues because they have the financial means to do so, whereas
low-income consumers focus on price. Additionally, he highlighted the significant
knowledge gap around genetically modified foods, pointing out that most
consumers are against GMOs, yet many (especially low-income consumers) cannot
define the term.
also discussed what these consumer trends mean for our agriculture industry. “What
happens to the U.S. livestock industry has a direct impact on the rest of agriculture,
because many crops are used to feed our livestock,” he said. In 2018, the total
farm receipts were $373 billion, and $175 billion of that total was for animal
products. If there is less demand for meat products, crops like corn and
soybeans will naturally take a hit as well. As a result, meat demand is
becoming an increasingly polarized political issue and topic of concern for food
manufacturers and farmers alike.
are also seeing new regulations around sustainability, animal welfare and overall
health as consumers becoming more mindful of their food and beverage choices and
the potential impact on the environment. “The problem with these types of
consumer-driven regulations is that changes cannot happen overnight,” stated
Bill Lapp, president, Advanced Economic Solutions, during a panel discussion. When
prices go up, it becomes more expensive for farmers and manufacturers to adhere
to consumer-driven regulations and demands. Before making drastic changes, farmers
and manufacturers must evaluate how much consumers would be willing to pay for
products that adhere to said requirements in order to generate a return on their
Take cage-free egg laws, for example. California and Massachusetts enacted laws requiring that eggs produced and sold in their states be raised cage-free. Rhode Island and Michigan followed suit with bills requiring cage-free production and sales, while Oregon and Washington also banned the use of traditional cages. Conventional egg producers outside those states fear that as more egg-importing states enact these types of laws, they will also be required to go cage-free, which would cost them more per bird in the long run.
Several of the panelists referenced the plant-based foods trend. Historically, consumers have gravitated toward meat as their primary source of protein, but dollar sales show that plant-based alternatives are quickly gaining traction. Motivated by changing ethics, as well as growing health and environmental concerns, more than a third (39%) of Americans are actively trying to eat more plant-based foods, and 87% say they are trying to consume the correct amount of protein from a variety of sources. According to Nielsen Product Insider, plant-based products that are high in protein drove the highest dollar growth within the diet and nutrition, desserts and yogurt categories in 2017.
The meatless burger revolution is one example of how rapidly the plant-based protein trend is growing. As Bruce Friedrich, executive director, Good Food Institute contended during his panel discussion, “Just last week, the plant-based meat alternative company, Beyond Meat, went public. Its main competitor, Impossible Foods, reported demand so high that it’s causing a shortage, and Burger King announced plans to roll out an Impossible™ Burger nationally.” Similarly, plant-based milk is becoming increasingly popular, as consumers turn away from traditional dairy products and instead opt for products they deem as healthier. As consumers continue to look for ways to improve their diets and reduce their impact on the environment, there is certainly room for growth with plant-based products.
The Digital Evolution
increased access to new technology has exposed consumers to new types of food and
beverages, it has also made it easier to track consumer searches. As Steve
Lerch, founder, Story Arc Consulting, stated during a panel discussion, “Google
searches don’t lie.” Lerch went on to explain that you can tell a lot about
what consumers really want just by monitoring
their Google search trends — and the results don’t always align with what we
may expect. For example, searches for organic and non-GMO foods peaked in 2007,
yet industry leaders continue to keep the conversation growing strong today despite
the fact that many consumers have actually lost interest.
2003, we also saw a decrease in searches around terms associated with being “skinny,”
as consumers began to shift their focus toward “getting fit.” As a result, we
also saw a rise in boutique fitness studios and clubs like Soul Cycle and
CrossFit, which focus on convenience and overall healthy lifestyle choices over
simply being skinny. While consumers are approaching food shopping differently
than years past, research also shows that taste, safety, price and convenience remain
important. Finding a balance between all these factors may be challenging, but
it’s also necessary.
back on the discussions, it’s evident that consumer trends are impacting agriculture
production now more than ever. From farm to table, the changes will be imminent
and ongoing in the years ahead.
We were rollin’ in the dough at the 2019 International Pizza Expo, which took place in Las Vegas, Nev. The event, which brings together more than 500 exhibitors from across the pizza restaurant industry each year, was a real showstopper. Now that we’re back, we’re ready to share all that we tasted and explored while walking the trade show floor.
a quick recap of what hit the jackpot with our team — and our taste buds:
One of the first things we noticed when we entered the trade show were the “blinged out” woodfire pizza ovens. There was even a pizza oven that had “Pizza Expo” designed into the grate of the grill, and you could see it glistening while the fire was blazing. Needless to say, it was pretty impressive.
We saw a few commercial pizza ovens, but most of the featured samples at this year’s show were made in the woodfire pizza ovens. The smell the ovens created as you walked into the auditorium was intense — so intense that you could almost taste the pizzas before sampling them! And we loved every minute of it.
Several booths focused on wings and pasta, which are naturally great complimentary applications for pizza. Our other favorite sides included Burke Corporation’s pork and cauliflower sausage bites and Corbion’s garlic knots and breadsticks. We also loved sampling Sweet Street’s assortment of cookies, Rice Krispies Treats and cheesecake.
One of our favorite elements of the International Pizza Expo is always the pizza games. From high-flying dough-toss challenges to outrageous dough-stretching contests, there is always a lot of friendly competition on the trade show floor — and this year was no exception.
In addition to its famous tomatoes, the Stanislaus Food Products booth featured musicians playing guitars. Likewise, Sysco Corporation’s booth had a live violinist and singer, as well as a sand artist, to draw in trade show attendees throughout the week. At the WestRock booth, an artist painted one of the booth walls as trade show attendees watched from near and far.
grabbed your attention at the 2019 International Pizza Expo? Comment below to
share your thoughts. (For tips on preparing for your next food industry trade
show, download our Trade
Show Best Practices report.)
options at their fingertips, today’s consumers have the purchasing power to choose
the specific flavor innovations that meet their needs and preferences. It’s
important to stay up-to-date on the latest flavor trends in order to compete
effectively in the market. Last
year, we saw forecasts for everything from floral notes to nostalgic flavors
to ethnic cuisine — and the predictions weren’t far off. Many of those
predictions were key in creating some of the most popular food and beverage
items in 2018. Below, we discuss the top flavor forecasts for 2019.
Classic, Nostalgic Flavors
The nostalgia trend has been around for a while and doesn’t seem to be going anywhere soon based on industry predictions. Classic flavors are still anticipated to be in high demand across all categories in the food and beverage industry, according to a 2019 flavor trends article by FoodIngredientsFirst. Nostalgia helps provide consumers with a break from their normal, busy lives. Indulgent, sugary flavors like cereal milk, s’mores, birthday cake and cookie dough are especially popular because they are visually appealing and give consumers an enjoyable moment of reminiscence. Flavors that trigger seasonal and holiday memories, such as pumpkin spice, maple, eggnog and caramel apple, also incite fond emotions from childhood and are popular in limited-time offers.
Butter is hitting an all-time high on restaurant menus today. “Anytime you give people permission to eat more of something that they thought was bad for them, it’s popular,” stated Elizabeth Moskow, creative culinary director of Sterling-Rice Group. The rise in high-fat, low-carb diets, such as the Ketogenic diet, coupled with the undeniable natural attraction that consumers have for butter, has elevated the kitchen staple as a “miracle ingredient” for today’s food industry. In fact, we’re already seeing the ingredient pop up in everything from butter coffee to brown butter-flavored donuts. Quick-service restaurants are even serving giant slabs of butter on top of juicy burgers.
Natural and Earthy Flavors
Flavors associated with health/wellness and nature are also expected to be on trend this year, according to the Food Business News 2019 tastes forecast. Hemp hearts, seeds and oils are nothing new, but growing interest in the potential benefits of these natural, earthy ingredients is leading many experts to believe they will be even more popular this year. The McCormick Flavor Forecast predicts seeds will be among the top flavor focus areas this year. Dishes like overnight coconut guava basil seed pudding, Cajun puffed lotus seed snack mix and gomasio, a Japanese black and white sesame seed seasoning blend are just a few of the innovations to make their list. Similarly, Sodexo states that lemon verbena, savory and caraway flower are the three herbs poised to become more prominent in 2019. Whole Foods Top 10 Food Trends for 2019 also predicts puffed snacks made from water lily seeds, plant-based tuna alternatives with algae ingredients, crispy snackable salmon skins with omega-3s and kelp jerkies to be among the among the most anticipated and innovative trends for 2019.
Fermented and Pickled Flavors
Fermented and pickled foods and beverages are also on the radar for 2019 due to their associated digestive health benefits and unique flavor profiles. Consumers are eating up the rich, umami flavors of fermented products like tempeh and nutritional yeast, which are being added to menus and packaged snack products in place of traditional dairy-based cheese seasonings. Chefs are also giving meats a more fermented taste for gourmet dishes by using koji mold, a mold spore that typically ferments miso and soy sauce. As consumers continue to seek out foods that meet their health and wellness goals, industry experts anticipate seeing more natural flavors and fermented or pickled foods.
With an annual growth of 20 percent between 2013 and 2017, global flavors have been on the rise for quite some time. Industry experts predict ethnic-inspired flavors to continue to be popular in 2019 due to increased connectivity, wanderlust and an affinity for travel among consumers. Flavor inspirations that play up authentic Japanese, Korean, Filipino, African and Middle Eastern cuisines in new and exciting ways have already become especially popular, according to industry experts. Indian flavors, such as cardamom, coriander, curry and garam masala, are also well loved by younger consumers, who look for authentic global flavors in close proximity. Additionally, Pacific Rim-inspired flavors, such as longganisa (a Filipino pork sausage), dried shrimp, cuttlefish and shrimp paste, and tropical fruits are among the most anticipated and innovative food trends this year, according to the Whole Foods Top 10 Food Trends for 2019. Yet, some of the more common ethnic-inspired flavors are actually losing popularity as hyper-regional versions take their place at the table. As a result, experts predict to see a growing demand for products that offer unique combinations of authentic flavors, such as Korean-style burritos.
Bitter and Fruit-filled Flavors
Bitter and fruity flavors are projected to be popular in 2019. In particular, many American consumers are embracing bitter flavors, with menu mentions of the term “bitter” up 22 percent since 2015 and projected to grow an additional 18 percent by 2023, according to Datassential. These mentions include everything from craft cocktail bitters and aperitifs to brassicas and brussels sprouts. Berry, citrus and watermelon flavors are also expected to make a splash in the food and beverage industry this year. While they’re not entirely new, the fruity flavors offer consumers an indulgent profile as well as many health benefits, such as antioxidants. With their refreshing, sweet profiles, many real fruits can deliver sweetness without the presence of sugar, making them great standalone flavors in unsweetened products. Manufacturers are also exploring flavor innovation with kiwi. In addition to the infamous strawberry kiwi duo, Gold Coast Ingredients predicts seeing more kiwi fruit pairings, such as kiwi pear, kiwi watermelon, kiwi lime, kiwi cucumber, kiwi berry and kiwi melon, in 2019.
Of course, these
are only a few of the top flavor forecasts for 2019. What flavor trends do you
think will reign supreme in 2019? Comment below to share your thoughts.
It’s hard to believe it, but 2018 is already coming to an end — and that means it’s time to start developing your marketing plan for next year. To set your team on the right path, it’s important to outline your objectives as well as the marketing strategies (the ways you’re going to achieve your objectives) and tactics (the communication platforms in which you’ll deliver the message/call to action) you and your team need to succeed in the year ahead.
To do this well, your marketing objectives must align with your overall business objectives. Here are eight tips to help you plan your food ingredient marketing communication initiatives for 2019:
Start early and stay informed – It’s never too early to start planning for the year ahead. Staying up to date on the latest trends and consumer insights can also help you better position your company for success in 2019.
Evaluate your competitors – Investing time in understanding where your food ingredient company stands against competitors will give you a positive start to hit the ground running. Consider what your competition is doing and what your team can do differently in order to stand out. Check your competitors’ marketing content, websites and social media channels. Identify your organization’s strengths and weaknesses, adjusting your efforts as needed.
Identify your target audience – A key part of having a strong marketing plan is identifying and understanding the needs of your target audience. You’ll want to make sure your communications align with reaching your target audience in a way that’s engaging and also drives action. Knowing where your current and potential customers are and how to reach them effectively (i.e., where they go to seek information) can help drive your business.
Define the “win” – Set benchmarks and realistic outcomes that will help you meet your marketing objectives. A great example of this is using B2B social media. While it’s great to get retweets and mentions, you want to create content that will help drive traffic to your website. This will create a higher level of engagement and increase potential leads – as long as you’re driving viewers to a page that encourages them to act in a way that’s trackable, such as requesting a sample or contacting your team. If your company is planning an email marketing campaign, establish goals for open and click-through rates. One way to do this is by understanding the industry average and aligning with that. Clearly defining what success looks like can help keep your team focused throughout the year.
Identify tactics – To effectively spread your brand message, you need to use several communication platforms that complement each other, give your brand visibility and allow for a variety of opportunities to engage with your target audience. Shoot for implementing a mix of paid media, public relations, B2B social media marketing, email marketing, trade show sponsorships and sales tools if your budget allows. Make sure to include campaigns around any initiatives for the year, such as new product launches or trade show events.
Set your marketing budget and timeline – Developing a reasonable budget and timeline for executing each tactic will help your team set priorities and meet deadlines, as well as make sure you have everything you need to communicate effectively with your target audience.
Be authentic – Make sure your communications highlight your brand’s personality. Science and technology are the DNA of most food ingredient companies, but the human element (i.e., giving your brand a personality) is what really resonates well with B2B customers.
Get top-down support – Having support throughout your company — from the executive team to sales reps to R&D — is crucial for implementing a successful marketing plan. With their buy-in, you will be more likely to ensure brand authenticity and create real engagement. Be prepared to welcome feedback in order to identify and address challenges early on, if necessary.
Clearly, there’s a lot of work that goes into developing an effective food ingredient marketing plan. Whether tackling the job in-house or soliciting professional expertise, it’s well worth the effort. By starting early and implementing the right strategies and tactics, you will be more likely to position your food ingredient company for success in the year ahead. For more information on developing an integrated food ingredient marketing plan, please contact us.
Still catching up after the whirlwind of IFT18? As one of the biggest trade shows for our clients and the industry, IFT’s Food Expo is always a great opportunity to witness well-known food ingredient names in action and explore the excitement that surrounds the show. Plus, there are always plenty of delicious samples to try!
Here’s a quick recap of what made an impression on our team (and our taste buds) at the event this year:
With demand booming for tasty, plant-based proteins, we saw several exhibitors showcase innovative and delicious ideas for applications that pack a powerful protein punch. The Annex by Ardent Mills invited attendees to build their own breakfast bowls with grains processed using its new individually quick frozen (IQF) format and a variety of toppings, such as berries, raisins, nuts and brown sugar. Blue Diamond introduced a new almond protein powder and hosted a taste test that challenged attendees to guess which protein—soy, pea or almond—was featured.
A Bevy of Beverages
There was also an increase in the number of beverage samples this year, as ingredient suppliers continue to find new ways to meet consumer demands for unique flavors without all the added sugar. Everything from cold brews—like the brown butter and hickory smoke caramel iced coffee served at Gold Coast Ingredients’ booth—to kombuchas to fruity mixes—like the ones being served at The GNT Group’s booth—could be found to quench your thirst.
I’m a sucker for savory snacks, and IFT always features an array of savory snack creations to help keep us fueled throughout the day. Kraft Heinz Ingredients sampled plantain chips seasoned with Monterey Jack and Mozzarella cheese. It’s also tradition to walk the show floor with a box of Carmi Flavors’ popcorn. I opted for the kettle corn again this year, and it was as delicious as I remembered. Similarly, I can’t go to a trade show without sampling Chesapeake Spice Company’s amazing crab cakes—and they did not disappoint!
Among the many new products featured at IFT18 was NuBana™ Green Banana Flour from International Agriculture Group. Milled from green bananas that have been peeled and dried, NuBana doesn’t have the sweet taste or smell associated with ripe bananas. What it does have is a smoother texture and higher starch content compared to traditional wheat flour and other grain-based flours, giving it superior binding and adhesive capabilities.
Of course, these were just a few of the many creative innovations shared at IFT18. What innovative solutions or trends caught your attention this year? Comment below to share your thoughts. (For tips on preparing for your next food industry trade show, download our Trade Show Best Practices report.)
The goal of exhibiting at a food industry trade show is to maximize engagement with current and potential customers, but in order to do this, you must have a solid strategy in place. While most of your prep work should be done before the event, there is still work to be done once you arrive on the trade show floor.
The following tips can help you make the most of your time and resources.
Arrive early – Show up a day in advance (or as soon as the show floor opens to exhibitors) to set up your trade show booth and materials. The day of the show, arrive as soon as the floor opens to exhibitors to make sure everything is in place and your staff is prepared.
Be present and approachable – You don’t have a lot of time to make an impact on booth visitors, so make sure your booth design and sales pitch are engaging yet authentic. Focus on the valuable tools and resources you have to offer and how you can help current and potential customers. Additionally, greet all trade show attendees with a smile and welcome them to your booth. Inviting body language and other non-verbal gestures can go a long way.
Identify what’s going on – Keep a copy of the trade show agenda on hand (whether that’s downloading and using the trade show app or having a hard copy of the program) so your team knows what’s happening at all times. This can help you gauge when your booth is likely to experience the most traffic and when things may be slow. If you’re not staffing a booth or have extra team members on hand, attend other trade show sessions and presentations to network and learn more about the latest industry developments.
Befriend the media – It’s important to maintain positive relationships with editors and industry publications by making time for them at the show, as they can help you secure future placement and gain additional exposure. In addition to reaching out in advance via email or media pitch, consider scheduling a time to speak with each contact individually at the show.
Engage in real-time – Pre-scheduling social media content can help save you valuable time at the show, but you will also want to create real-time engagement with attendees and anyone following along from home by sharing live posts with pictures or quotes from keynote speakers at the event. Interactive booth components can also help you increase awareness for your brand and products. For example, our client Ardent Mills recently hosted a #doughthrow (mock pizza-dough-tossing photobooth opportunity) at its 2018 International Pizza Expo booth. By encouraging trade show attendees to share photos interacting with certain elements of the exhibit, Ardent Mills was able to reach more individuals.
Host events – Take advantage of opportunities to interact with customers, prospects and media contacts beyond the trade show floor by hosting events after expo hours. Invite attendees to join you for an offsite happy hour/reception at a local restaurant/bar or consider renting a room or hospitality suite for networking after the show floor closes in the evening. This is another opportunity to have customers/prospects sample foods made with your ingredients and showcase the tools and resources you offer.
Promote thought leaders – Another way to get in front of attendees and to promote your brand is by presenting on a specific topic at the show. If you don’t have time to submit a proposal for an official presentation, consider hosting a mini presentation at your booth. Regardless of how formal it is, it is important to know your audience and tailor your messaging based on who is listening.
Take notes – It can be difficult to remember every conversation you had at a trade show. Most trade shows today have badge scanners or lead generation tools that make it easy for you to track your interactions and exchange contact information. You can also take notes next to each person’s contact information for easier follow-up after the show. If the show doesn’t provide a badge scanner or you are walking the show floor and don’t have the scanner with you, be sure to get your customers’/prospects’ business cards. Once you have their cards, take a second to jot some notes on the back to help you remember the conversations and any follow-ups that need to take place once you’re back in the office.
Stay late – Trade shows can be exhausting, but it’s important to make the most of every minute you have to engage with attendees. By skipping out early, you risk missing out on valuable conversations with current and potential customers and sharing the qualities that make your products or services attractive.
With the right strategies and tools in place, you can better allocate your time and resources for food industry trade shows. Download our trade show best practices report. For more information about developing a clear integrated strategy for trade show marketing, please contact us.
Stay tuned for tips on what to do after a trade show ends.
The 2018 International Production and Processing Expo (IPPE) took place this year in Atlanta, Ga., from Jan. 30 to Feb. 1, and brought together more than 30,000 buyers and sellers within the meat and poultry industry. I had the opportunity to attend and walk the show floor for Anderson Partners Food Ingredient Marketing, and got to see some of the industry’s latest products, services and technology.
B2B social media is an effective communication platform for food ingredient marketers. When implemented as part of an integrated marketing communications plan, B2B social media provides another platform to reach your target audience, which in turn helps build awareness and visibility for your brand. The key is ensuring your content reaches and resonates well with your target audience.
Consider these five tips to communicate and engage with your target audience more effectively through B2B social media.
Know your target audience
Understand who is responsible for making purchasing decisions for your current and prospective customers, and tailor your messaging to reach and resonate with them based on their unique values and behaviors. You have to look beyond purchasing and communicate with your customers enterprise-wide. Purchase decisions are influenced by a wide range of people throughout the organization, including the marketing team, C-suite executives, R&D and culinary experts.
Distribute information across multiple channels
Twitter and LinkedIn are effective platforms for B2B food ingredient marketing, but using multiple communication platforms and tactics to affirm your messaging as part of an integrated marketing communications plan only makes it more impactful.
Make your B2B social media content mobile-friendly
Make sure your B2B social media messages are concise and easily accessible on the go to ensure you are reaching your target audience on the platforms they use most.
Encourage authentic lead generation
Establishing trust and credibility with millennials—the newest B2B decision makers for food ingredient purchases—through online references and social media reviews/rankings from other B2B social media influencers is essential in growing your business and your brand. Take every opportunity to capitalize on positive feedback and information from social media influencers by repurposing or sharing the content online.
Leverage analytics tools
Review your social media analytics regularly to better understand what content is most engaging to your target audience. With this information, you can make adjustments as needed to help raise your brand awareness, generate traffic to your website and connect with B2B influencers and decision makers more easily.
With all of that being said, it’s important to remember that there is no magical formula for implementing a successful social media strategy, but the steps above can help point you in the right direction. With a clear understanding of the importance of B2B social media and the values that drive today’s B2B decision makers for food ingredient purchases, you will be one step closer to implementing a successful B2B social media strategy for your company.
For more insight on B2B social media and the impact it can play in food ingredient marketing communications, read part one and two of this three-part blog series:
As the largest generation in the U.S. labor force, millennials (generally defined as people born between 1980 and the early 2000s) hold a lot of power in the business world. With nearly 73 percent of millennials involved in purchasing decisions for their companies, they have become an important audience for B2B food ingredient marketing—and their coworkers value their insight. More than half of millennials said that people seek them out for their knowledge and opinions, compared with only 35 percent of boomers. By taking the time to observe and engage with this powerful demographic, you will be better equipped to retain current customers and gain new ones.
When it comes to marketing to millennial B2B decision makers, one of the best places to start is social media. After all, it’s where they spend most of their time, and it’s where they go to seek out new information. The following focus areas serve as valuable benchmarks to help you attract, retain and engage with this powerful and influential target audience.
Millennials are different than any other generation. They communicate, make decisions and buy in ways that are unique to their generation. Millennials are also very insightful. They can easily identify when advertisers are giving it to them straight and when they are not. Therefore, it is important to be authentic with your messaging if you want to engage with the new class of B2B decision makers. When possible, share testimonials, case studies, white papers and infographics through B2B social media to establish credibility and value. The more supporting resources and content you have to tell your brand story, the more likely this audience will be to value your brand.
As the most tech-savvy generation in history, millennials are extremely active online. They frequently follow and seek out the opinions of social media influencers almost as much as—if not more than—they do their friends or family. To ensure your messaging reaches and resonates well with this demographic of buyers, consider implementing B2B social media strategies that focus on simple messaging with fresh, timely content that is easy to access. Additionally, adding visual content to your B2B social media communication can help you reach millennial decision makers and deliver relevant information in a convenient format.
As mentioned, millennials—including those with decision-making power—are more likely to be influenced by their peers than advertisers or the media. In fact, 23 percent of older millennials said they are more likely not to purchase or do business with brands that their friends disapprove of, as opposed to only 12 percent of boomers. Millennials are also more likely to turn to social media to share their gratification (and negative feedback) about brands online. By capitalizing on the influence of millennials on social media, you can gain trust and buy-in from today’s B2B decision makers.
Millennials like to connect their actions to social causes. As a result, food ingredient brands that share their sustainable practices, implement mission-driven strategies or publicly give back to their communities are more likely to attract millennial purchasers. In fact, 37 percent say they are willing to pay more for a brand that supports a cause they believe in. As a food ingredient marketer, you have an opportunity to publicize the do-good values of your company. For example, does your organization practice business sustainably and ethically? Consider blogging about it and sharing it on your B2B social media platforms. Has your team participated in some type of community service event recently? Don’t be afraid to post pictures on your company’s social media feeds, and encourage your employees to share the posts across their personal accounts for greater reach and brand recognition.
At the end of the day, millennials want relevant information they can digest quickly, and the easiest way for them to access this information is through B2B social media. By taking steps to ensure your messaging is authentic, convenient (i.e., accessible on the go), credible and purposeful, you will be more likely to attract, retain and engage with the newest generation of B2B decision makers for food ingredient purchases.
The digital age has forever changed the way B2B food ingredient marketers make purchase decisions and stay up to date on the latest trends. With the number of social media users projected to climb to 2.9 billion by 2020, there has never been a better time to adopt the platform as part of your B2B food ingredient marketing strategy. The key is ensuring your messaging reaches and resonates well with your target audience.
In the first of our three-part series on B2B social media best practices for food ingredient marketers, we will set the stage by discussing the growth of B2B social media in the food ingredient industry. In our second blog, we will explain the role of millennials in the food industry and the tools they use to make informed B2B purchasing decisions. To wrap up the series, we will provide tips for breaking through the noise to drive top-of-mind awareness and customer preference using integrated marketing.
Engaging with Buyers Through Multiple Channels
Driven by new technologies and evolving buyer expectations, the B2B marketing landscape is drastically changing. In 2014, the top two platforms used by B2B food ingredient marketers were LinkedIn and Twitter. While these platforms are still effective, they are not the only options for engaging B2B audiences. Today’s B2B content marketers employ an average of six social media platforms, with LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube ranking among the top. White papers, videos and eBook downloads, which are heavily promoted through social media, also help generate B2B leads, offering an endless gamut of channels for B2B food ingredient marketing.
Hashtags, which originated on Twitter as a way of making it easier for people to find, follow and contribute to conversations, are widely used across multiple platforms today. Strategic food ingredient marketers use hashtags to make their content more discoverable and to share relevant information from other businesses, which in turn allows them to connect with and engage a larger audience.
Shifting from Desktop to Mobile
Another significant change that has occurred in the B2B social media landscape is the shift from desktop to mobile. About two-thirds of the world’s population now has a mobile phone, and more than half of those individuals own smartphones. As more buyers browse the internet using their mobile devices, it becomes increasingly important for B2B food ingredient marketers to ensure the content they generate through social media is mobile-friendly and easily accessible on the go.
Employing Influencers for Authentic Lead Generation
With an abundance of resources available online, it is easy to see why food ingredient buyers are shifting their focus away from “old school” lead generation and instead turning to online recommendations to guide their purchasing decisions. In fact, 76 percent of decision-makers say they prefer recommendations from LinkedIn, making it an ideal network for social selling. In addition, real-time platforms like Twitter provide food ingredient companies with a place to leverage endorsements through word-of-mouth marketing. Meanwhile, research from Twitter shows nearly 40 percent of users have made a purchase as a direct result of an influencer’s tweet. Because of this, many food ingredient companies are reaching out to bloggers and social media influencers to effectively engage with buyers using authentic voices.
Connecting with Customers Through Social Listening
Marketing automation software has also made it easier than ever for food ingredient marketers to generate leads through regular, timely B2B social media content. Today, 68 percent of best-in-class companies use lead scoring (a marketing automation feature) to monitor specific keywords, hashtags and comments, which in turn allows them to provide timely customer support and feedback. In addition to posting regularly on social media, following up on comments and requests from target buyers is now a crucial cornerstone to any successful B2B social media marketing strategy.
Overall, social media has created many new opportunities for food ingredient marketers over the last decade. By incorporating social media into your integrated marketing plan as a way to demonstrate your knowledge and willingness to help, you will be better equipped to reach potential customers and generate B2B sales leads. For more information on how to turn social interest into bottom-line results, stay tuned for part two of this three-part blog series, in which we discuss the newest decision-makers for B2B food ingredient purchases and how to engage with them on social media.
Millennials are now the largest living generation and will make up fifty percent of the workforce by 2020. The customer landscape is changing with this generation coming of age and food ingredient suppliers are being directly affected. We developed a meta-study which explores millennials as the new customers for food ingredient suppliers. It explains how to communicate and build meaningful relationships with these new millennial B2B customers.
There are numerous research studies regarding millennials as consumers and employees. However, there is very little information about millennials as B2B customers. Due to the lack of information and this fast changing environment, we have compiled this meta-study with correlations from our research surrounding millennials in different aspects of their lives. We have also provided tactics and advice on how to communicate and build business relationships with this generation.
This meta-study gives insight, provides advice and suggests communication tools to accomplish the goal of building these new customer relationships with millennials.
To download your free copy of “The Next Generation of B2B Customers” click here.
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.”
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/
With 2016 coming to a close, and having already looked at consumer food trends, it’s time to look ahead to 2017 and see what trends will be setting the table in foodservice. Similar to the trends we reported on in 2016, 2017 will be more about the customer experience and how their food gets to their plate.
The NPD Group shared what they felt were five key foodservice trends to watch in 2017:
A delivery revolution that offers consumers a flexible approach to, and more choices in, how they receive the foods they purchase—whether it’s a speedy delivery service or a takeout-only outlet that complements a traditional sit-down restaurant format.
Engaging with consumers through the quality of foods and through a diverse menu of the foods and drinks offered to deliver a high experience that will drive loyalty and make them come back for more.
Support of communities by incorporating quality foods from local suppliers. Consumers feel good about supporting their local communities but still have an expectation when it comes to quality that can’t be sacrificed.
‘Healthy choice’ menu options and sensitivity to sourcing, waste and environmental protection will play a big role in foodservice.
New twists to classic dishes will be making their way onto menus to appeal to consumers who are creatures of habit but who also appreciate a menu refresh.
According to Baum + Whiteman, restaurants will be shoving animal proteins to the edge of the plate and giving center-of-the-plate attention to vegetables. In this “waste-not” economy, beet greens, chard, turnip greens, mustard greens and carrot tops will become more widespread, and seaweed will gain a wider acceptance. With 26 percent of consumers saying in the past year they’d eat less meat, plant-based proteins will become more prevalent as well. However, despite plant-based protein growth and vegetables being in the spotlight, Baum + Whiteman also noted that there is a growing trend in restaurants with their own butcher shops attached.
With McDonalds moving to the all-day breakfast menu, it has inspired competitors to develop more robust breakfast menu items—in fact, Baum + Whiteman suggests keeping an eye out for more creative breakfast tacos on menus. In addition, Baum + Whiteman said to be on the lookout for innovation in the fast-casual segment, when it comes to new design elements, more alcoholic beverages and the delivery of food to tables or possibly drive-thrus. One of the trends I’m most excited about is the proliferation in new ice cream formats that Baum + Whiteman sees becoming a fad—such as milkshakes topped with insane amounts of cake, cookies, doughnuts, ice cream sandwiches and various candies; ice cream rollups, which are liquid ice cream frozen into crepe-like thinness on a super-cooled metal plate; and decorated shaved ice, soft-serve embedded in cotton candy and ice cream with non-dessert ingredients such as avocado and roasted beets.
It will be exciting to see what new food and drink options will pop up on menus in 2017. Share in the comments below what you hope to see in foodservice next year.
One of the biggest challenges for food ingredient marketers is customer engagement—getting the attention of customers, capturing their interest in your products and services and converting that into sales. To help food ingredient marketers overcome that challenge, our team of experts continually researches the most successful B2B food ingredient marketing communications industry-wide to develop a set of best practices that have proven to be highly effective in generating awareness, creating engagement and building strong sales relationships with key audiences.
We recently published a report that showcases these best practices in action with insights into how they help overcome the challenges of customer engagement. We are firm believers that there is no one silver bullet when it comes to utilizing these best practices. They are most effective when implemented within a strategic, integrated marketing communications plan—as it better positions you to engage with prospects and customers in the environments they’re in and on the communication platforms they’re using.
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!
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.
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.
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.”
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.
Here at Anderson Partners Food Ingredient Marketing, we are constantly pouring through marketing research, studying food ingredient trends and gathering feedback from our clients. This knowledge is the basis behind the blog posts that we share on here. Today we are rounding up our top trends in food ingredient marketing communications. These resources are meant to help other food ingredient marketers as they develop their communications programs.
1. B2B Social Media
As more B2C food manufacturers adopt social media into a marketing channel for their products, it provides an opportunity for B2B food ingredient companies to engage with their target audience in new ways. In our three-part series on the social media effect on B2B marketing, we first explore the growth of B2B social media use in the food industry and how social media is influencing B2B food ingredient marketing. In part two of our series, we look at who is utilizing social media in the B2B food ingredient space and how they’re utilizing the various platforms. To wrap up the series we show you an integrated marketing model your company can use to launch and maintain a successful social media presence.
Mark Hughes, president of Anderson Partners Food Ingredient Marketing, recently had an extended conversation with FoodNavigators’ Maggie Hennessy on the need for food ingredient suppliers and marketers to tell their brand stories as part of their marketing communications plans. They talked about how the best ingredient marketers create premium positions for their products that differentiate them from their competitors and create value perceptions that let them break through the clutter of other commodity ingredient products.
The food industry has struggled recently with how to use established food-science knowledge to combat the opinion-based advocacy from media celebrities and food activists such as the Food Babe and Dr. Oz. To help food ingredient marketers deal with this issue, we launched a series of infographics comparing the actual food science to the media-driven opinions around food ingredients like Boneless Lean Beef, GMOs and Azodicarbonamide. Our series concludes with our top five communication tips to use when you have a strong and important food-science story to tell.
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 showcased 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!
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.
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!
With 2015 coming to an end, it’s that time to look ahead at what next year’s trends will bring. One thing is certain, consumers seeking food adventures for their taste buds is a trend that is here to stay and is a theme we’re seeing across several trend forecasts.
In a recent report from Packaged Facts, in 2016 we can expect to see food preparations that feature bold, spicy and ethnic flavors. When it comes to bold, it’s not just about the exotic Asian flavors—citrus has joined the bold bandwagon along with other tangy flavors like tomatillo and cilantro. In addition to foods with bold flavors, consumers are showing interest in unexpected flavor pairings like vanilla and cardamom, savory and spicy flavors with desserts and confectionary foods.
In looking at the Sterling-Rice Group’s 2016 trends list, the consumer palate will continue to evolve and demand new and adventurous foods. One beverage seeing a revival with start-up brands is Switchels—a drink made with apple cider vinegar, ginger and sweetener. Along with these next generation beverages, we’ll see a resurgence of farmed oysters to meet the demand for sustainable seafood. With millennials showing an increased interest, oyster and raw bars will have a stronger presence in major cities.
According to market researchers at Mintel, alternatives to meat and dairy will be a top consumer priority in 2016. Mintel also predicts consumer demands for ‘less processed’ foods and drinks will continue to force food manufacturers to remove artificial ingredients from their products. With consumers having a better understanding of how diets can affect their appearance and a rising interest in fitness and becoming more active, food manufacturers will be tasked with developing new dishes that have added protein and other nutrients that are vital to building muscle or even muscle repair after exercise.
In Innova Market Insights trend list for 2016, the “clean eating” trend is the overarching theme. This trend is one that has inspired a back-to-basics approach in product development. Innova ranked “organic growth for clear label” as the number one trend for 2016—clear label referring to a greater transparency and focus on simpler products with fewer artificial ingredients and additives. This trend aligns with what Innova labeled as the number four trend, “processing the natural way.” With western consumers increasingly aware of the health benefits of fermented foods, there are newer technologies that may be seen as an alternative to using preservatives in foods.
As we’ve all experienced with trends, some will be more dominant than others. But one thing is for sure, there is a definite shift in consumer behavior that will challenge many food and beverage manufacturers and foodservice operators. It will be interesting to see what will come to the forefront next year in new product innovations and what product developers will bring to the tables to meet consumer demands.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The food industry is continuing to evolve and we are seeing a rapid growth in companies working to simplify the ingredients in its food products. According to data from the Natural Marketing Institute, 62% of consumers said they seek foods that are minimally processed and 53% prefer foods and beverages that contain a short list of ingredients that are recognizable.
Small- to medium-sized companies started adapting its products to meet the consumer demand and the trend has recently emerged in big food companies. Nestlé and The Hershey Company both announced in February 2015 plans to reformulate products to meet the consumer demand for simpler ingredients. After that, more and more companies have climbed on board. The trend has trickled into the foodservice channel—in the past month, both Panera Bread Co. and Noodles Co. announced plans to “clean up” their menus and just this week, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut both announced their plans to update their menus by the end of 2016 with foods that contain simple ingredients.
The term, simple ingredients, is fairly new in the industry and has transpired from the terms clean label and clear label. Clean label has often been used to describe a label that has a relatively small number of “natural” ingredients and is without artificial flavors, colors or preservatives. Clear label has been used to describe a label that uses only necessary and familiar ingredients with clearer and simpler claims and transparency regarding ingredients.
Simple ingredients will be dictated by consumer education around the foods they are eating. One thing that we know is how big of a role social media and the Internet plays in how consumers stay informed about the products and the ingredients that they are consuming. They have an abundance of information at their fingertips, and as we noted in our series, Food Science vs. Food Babe—Who Controls the Story, the information they are receiving is often misrepresented. One way to prevent consumers from being misinformed is to have a label that provides them with accurate and descriptive language.
Food ingredient marketers can play a large role in helping food manufacturers and foodservice operators provide consumers the information they need around the products they are consuming. Incorporating definitions and labels around each ingredient or formulation being marketed can make labeling finished goods more turnkey for food manufacturers and foodservice operators. Rather than defining a particular ingredient as a preservative, for example, it would be helpful to note the specific function that preservatives have such as “to protect the color” or “to preserve the freshness,” whatever that may be.
While it sounds simple, it’s definitely understood that there is a lot that goes into reformulating products and ensuring the ingredients being used will meet the “simple ingredients” demand set forth by consumers. But, as consumers continue to read and have a better understanding of labels, the trend will be ongoing and will drive what foods are purchased, which will trickle down to the ingredients used to formulate them.
So, as food ingredient marketers, communications around the ingredient products being marketed and defining the benefits of each will be key in helping food manufacturers and foodservice operators stay ahead in the market.
If you’ve read any of the food industry headlines lately, you’ve noticed that snack innovations are on the rise. Snacking has become a big consumer trend that doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon.
With consumers living busier lifestyles, there is an increase in the overall demand for snacks. Instead of having meals throughout the day, consumers are replacing meals with snacks. According to recent data from IRI Worldwide, about three snacks per day are being consumed. And while indulgent snacking is outpacing healthy snacking, there still continues to be a rise in consumers who seek healthy snacks.
According to FoodNavigator’s Snacking Trend Forum, there seems to be a trend toward “simple options.” Consumers are looking for snacks that have fewer ingredients and are made with ingredients that they recognize. During the forum, Shane Emmett from Health Warrior addressed how packaged foods can overcome the health challenges they face by evolving even further than being better-for-you products to being something that’s actually really good for you.
Aligning desired health claims, keeping up with the clean label trend and giving consumers a snack they can be satisfied with on-the-go can become a puzzling task for some snack food manufacturers. One way for snack food manufacturers to accommodate all of that is by incorporating proteins into its products. According to the Packaged Facts report, “Proteins – Classic, Alternative and Exotic Sources: Culinary Trend Tracking Series,” a majority of consumers agree they are “making a point of getting enough protein” from the foods they are consuming.
From one of our earlier blog posts this year, protein was a “celebrity” at the Natural Products Expo West show in Anaheim. There have been a lot of innovations recently around protein and providing snack food manufacturers ingredients that have high protein content. Ingredients like flax, quinoa, cashew and pea proteins have been making their way into snack foods for quite a while. But there is a new ingredient that’s been getting a lot of buzz—no pun intended—when it comes to snack food innovations and protein inclusion, and that’s cricket flour. Shane Emmett probably said it best in the Snacking Trend Forum when he stated that the cricket flour trend may sound a bit crazy, but given the challenges snack food manufacturers face, who knows, it could be the next big thing.
We’d love to hear your comments below on what you think the next big thing will be in the snack food industry.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
A recently launched website designed around the needs of food ingredient marketing professionals, apfoodingredients.com, aims to help food ingredient companies overcome the challenges of customer engagement. The site provides examples of successful marketing programs that utilize industry best practices—giving visitors strategies and tactics they can utilize within their own marketing plans. It also features a blog devoted to the food ingredient industry, indepth, as well as industry news from a variety of prominent food ingredient publications.
Developed by Anderson Partners Food Ingredient Marketing (APFIM), the site lets marketing professionals gain insights on a variety of topics including: marketing campaigns, trends, industry events and best practices in food ingredient marketing. A portfolio shows best practice examples that have been pivotal in successful marketing programs. Visitors can also search the site for articles and resources they need to help them identify opportunities to increase brand awareness and drive sales.
Mark Hughes, president of APFIM, stated, “With the launch of this new website, our audience can access resources to help them develop effective marketing campaigns aimed at enterprise-wide customer engagement. Having worked with some of the industry’s largest food ingredient companies, we know what matters most to the different B-to-B audiences and how companies can adapt their marketing communication models in an ever-evolving market landscape.”
It’s that time of year when we look ahead as to what’s coming in the new year for the food industry. When it comes to the 2015 consumer food trends, consumer palates are continuing to evolve.According to the Supermarket Guru® Phil Lempert, you’ll see a shift in consumer preference in 2015 toward craft foods and fermented foods. Craft foods—typically associated with foods made in small batches with specialized, local ingredients—will be making their way into kitchens as major companies produce these products in larger quantities. Craft foods are not a new phenomenon by any means with craft beer from companies like MillerCoors® and Anheuser-Busch InBev. In 2015, look for this trend to expand into other beverages and foods as millennials; in particular, continue to seek unique tastes and foods with authentic origin stories. In addition to craft foods, 2015 will be the year fermented foods—foods like yogurt, tempeh and sauerkraut—will take center stage. A survey from ConAgra Foods found that nearly 50 percent of Americans have changed their diet to help improve digestion, with nearly 20 percent doing so in the past year.
According to Innova Market Insights, a move from ‘clean’ to ‘clear’ labeling will be a key trend for 2015 as consumers, retailers, industry and regulators push for more transparency in labeling. Another key focus in 2015 will be meeting the needs of the millennial consumer—those that are generally aged between 15 and 35 and who account for about one-third of the global population. Additional trends in 2015, according to Innova, include targeting the demands of the gourmet consumer at home, re-engineering the snacks market for today’s lifestyles and combating obesity with a focus on positive nutrition. Convenience continues to be of interest to consumers as there is ongoing interest in home cooking, which has driven the demand for a greater choice of fresh foods, ingredients for cooking from scratch and a wider use of recipe suggestions by manufacturers and retailers.
Innova also stated that formal mealtimes will continue to decline in popularity as it has seen a growing number of food and drinks that are now considered to be snacks. Quick, healthy foods tend to replace traditional meal occasions, and more snacks are targeted at specific moments of consumption, with different demand influences at different day parts. Consumers, in addition to ingredient suppliers and food producers, will also continue to be on the lookout for the next protein source—whey protein being popular for many years and still growing, while white pulse protein is rapidly emerging and algae protein applications are expected to surface in the future.
In our next blog post, we’ll look at what flavor trends are being forecasted for 2015.
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Industry News – Anderson Partners Food Ingredient Marketing