One purpose of the conference is to give the top industry professionals a chance to rub elbows, with the hope of sparking new marketing and product ideas. We were blessed to have many good speakers at this year's event, and their speeches, presentations and ideas shared common threads: innovation, a clear understanding of consumer needs, and risk-taking.
Steve Allen, vice president of new business development for Nestle, offered a glimpse into a future where those who are pre-disposed to a disease, such as cancer, for example, could take supplements proven to help avoid it. Scott Lutz, formerly the CEO and president of 8th Continent, advised companies to be great at what they do, and had much success with helping companies stay true to their “souls.” Peter van Stolk, founder and CEO of Jones Soda Co., said he based his company's success on creating an emotional tie with consumers, and has done it with the innovative use of labeling. (Intrigued? The presentation materials are available on CD.)
A Hit on Many LevelsToday's sophisticated consumers are not content to buy items that serve their needs adequately. They are interested in experimenting and trying foods and beverages that will enhance and complement their lives. It was no surprise that Yoplait's (General Mills) Go-Gurt yogurt was highlighted repeatedly as an example of a hit product. The company understood that success depended on harmonizing the needs of parents concerned about their kids' diets (yogurt as a healthy snack) with a product to appeal to children (yogurt in cool flavors in a really neat tube).
There still is room to create new products that will be exciting and useful to consumers.
The U.S. demographic is changing. Baby Boomers, reluctant to face their mortality, are interested in foods that contain antioxidants, anti-aging ingredients, bone health-enhancers, energy boosters, lutein, vitamins C and E, soy, weight-control ingredients and other elements that help them maintain youth and health. This will be the first generation to have a large number of post-menopausal women live long lives. That population also will have special needs.
Baby Boomers really are interested in making the most of their middle ages. Food formulators can help by giving them new tools in the form of customized foods and beverages.
Internet InformationFor more information on this issue's articles, see the Internet sites provided below.
All of Meat
www.mintel.com Mintel International Group
www.kraft.com Kraft Foods
www.jimmydean.com Jimmy Dean Foods
www.hormel.com Hormel Foods
www.johnsonville.com Johnsonville Foods
http://www.preparedfoods.com/archives/2002/2002_10/1002calcium.htm Ingredients in Use: Calcium, C. ODonnell, October 2002
http://extraordinarydairy.com Dairy Management Inc.s dairy ingredient application website
http://www.calciuminfo.com/ Online calcium information resource
www.donatantonio.plc.uk An upscale frozen foods manufacturer
www.riva.se, firstname.lastname@example.org Swedish restaurant where Chef Goldhahn works, and his e-mail address
www.thegourmetconcierge.com High-end, exclusive gourmet trips to France
www.chefbynite.com Chef Hendersons website
www.canadianpersonalchefalliance.com Canadian Personal Chef Alliance
www.seasonsofmyheart.com Chef Trillings Rancho Aurora in Oaxaca, Mexico
www.marilyntausend.com Gourmet trips to Mexico by Marilyn Tausend