How do you spell new product “success?” How about combining these letters: R&D, M&A and CIE.
Here to explain is Ken Miller, vice president and general manager for The J.M. Smucker Company’s foodservice business.
“Our innovation strategy took on new dimension in 2012 with the acquisition of Sara Lee’s North American foodservice coffee and hot beverage business,” says Miller. “That deal nearly doubled our business and added significant size and scale to our organization. It also afforded us a unique opportunity to refocus innovation efforts through a long-term partnership agreement between Smucker and D.E. Master Blenders 1753, an independent company spun-off from the Sara Lee Corporation. This extends our R&D capabilities as we collaborate on liquid coffee technology.”
Smucker Foodservice also has emphasized its new product development process. For the past two years, Miller has been involved in the Center of Innovation Excellence (CIE), an industry initiative involving the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association (IFMA), Stage-Gate International and IFMA members. That project has examined R&D process improvements, so manufacturers can increase their new product success.
“Our participation with IFMA and the CIE helped us build on our learnings from the Sara Lee acquisition,” says Miller. “CIE has helped raise our overall consciousness about the innovation process and has helped us to develop a more strategic point of view when it comes to new product development.”
“With the increased size of our foodservice business, we had the ability to take a long-term view of our organization -- and to restructure and invest in added resources that will help us better support innovation -- particularly in the product-discovery phase,” Miller concludes.
Smucker Foodservice manages a broad portfolio across all commercial and non-commercial segments. The company produces and distributes as many as 500 different products, including fruit spreads, hot and cold beverages, peanut butter, sweetened condensed milk, and shortening and oils, under well-known brands such as Smucker’s, Folgers, Douwe Egberts, Dickinson’s, Jif, Smucker’s Uncrustables, Crisco and Eagle Brand.
“We have recently launched Folgers concentrated liquid coffee in foodservice,” notes Miller. “The liquid coffee concentrate form is becoming increasingly important to foodservice operators, because it allows them to offer small, medium and large volumes of consistent, quality coffee on demand,” he says. “That is why liquid coffee technology and its systems are ideal for foodservice environments, including convenience stores, restaurants, cafeterias, hospitals, banquet halls and convention centers.”
Miller concludes, “Now we are coupling this innovative liquid coffee technology with the Folgers brand. As the number one at-home coffee brand, Folgers coffee has great equity and loyalty among consumers.”
Foodservice patrons also will find expanded product choices for Jif peanut better with on-the-go, away-from-home locations. Smucker Foodservice recently launched two varieties of Jif To Go in the foodservice segment: Creamy Peanut Butter and Chocolate Silk. Each comes in a 1.5oz (43g) peel-and-serve cup that’s ideal for dipping (celery, carrots, strawberries, etc.).
“Snacking and grab-and-go convenience foods continue to gain popularity among consumers, and Jif To Go helps meet this need,” says Miller. “… We continue in our commitment to provide quality products to our customers and consumers and to optimize and promote leading brands away from home.”
More on the Menu
Here is a look at additional new items from Smucker Foodservice.
Smucker’s PlateScapers Dessert Toppings. Three new Select Recipe flavors (each made with real sugar) are Deep Dark Chocolate, Countryside Raspberry and Caramel Delight. Smucker says the toppings are “the perfect way to transform desserts and beverages into custom, memorable creations with minimal effort.”
Staff can easily and quickly create a Chocolate & Banana Caramel Turtle Dessert Pizza and Raspberry Cream Lemonade, or use it as an ingredient to add indulgent flavor to blended dessert or coffee beverages. The three new varieties join a line of six other Select Recipe flavors (Chocolate, Vanilla, Strawberry, Caramel, Raspberry and Lime).
Smucker’s Snack’n Waffles Brand Waffles. Smucker says with the newly reformulated line -- among the most popular items on school breakfast and lunch menus -- schools can menu these products to satisfy kids with great taste and still meet USDA Child Nutrition Guidelines. Each Snack’n Waffles Brand Waffle is made with whole grains equivalent to two bread servings. With popular flavors such as Apple Cinnamon, Maple, Blueberry, Cinnamon and Chocolate Chip, Smucker says portable Snack’n Waffles Brand Waffles also have great appeal beyond breakfast. They come individually wrapped, ready to thaw and serve or warm in an oven and make it easy to increase a la carte sales, the company says.
Crisco Professional Pan Release Spray and Crisco Professional 100% Extra Virgin Olive Oil Pan Release Spray. Smucker says it developed Crisco Professional Pan Release Spray to produce less foam and offer more complete and consistent surface coverage. Likewise, officials say Crisco Professional 100% Extra Virgin Olive Oil Pan Release Spray offers complete coverage to prevent food from sticking to grills and utensils. Available in 14oz. and 21oz. sizes to fit any operational need, Crisco Professional Pan Release Spray was awarded the American Culinary Federation (ACF) Seal of Approval. Smucker says Crisco Professional 100% Extra Virgin Olive Oil Pan Release Spray enhances the crispiness of baked goods, such as pizza crust, garlic bread or pita chips, with the addition of a popular Mediterranean flavor.