McCormick sets out flavour trends for this year

Herb and spice maker McCormick has released its McCormick Flavour Forecast 2015 and laid out the eight flavour trends to expect this year.

Now in its 15th year, the Flavour Forecast has come to be one of the most highly anticipated events on the culinary calendar.

It has predicted trends that have changed the way people eat at restaurants and cook in their home kitchens. And it has foreseen what consumers are purchasing from supermarket shelves.

“While our report highlights global flavour trends, we are certainly seeing many early trending flavours appear in Australia. Take chipotle chilli, for instance,” said McCormick Foods Australia Culinary Manager, Simone Fergie.

“When we first identified this chilli as a flavour to watch in 2003, many people couldn’t even pronounce it! Today, it’s featured in mainstream recipes and products. Pomegranate, sea salt, coconut water and cocktail inspired flavours like bourbon and rum have seen similar success, taking over restaurant menus and retail store shelves. The flavour trends highlighted within our 15th annual Forecast promise to do the same.”

Eight Flavour Trends for 2015

Sour + Salt                       

Combining coarse salt with surprising sours like pickled ginger, sour cherry, dried mango and lemon zest results in a lively finishing flavour that lends brightness and texture to dishes.

Liquid Revolution

Fresh purees and juices blend with bold spices and herbs to intensify sauces, pasta, dressings and more – providing a fun, delicious way to enjoy an extra serving of fruits and veggies.

Global Blends On the Move

Japanese 7 Spice (Shichimi Togarashi) offers a new kind of spicy heat, while Shawarma Spice Blend lends warm, spiced flavour to grilled meats and more.

Umami Veggies

For a fresh way to savour the tempting “fifth taste,” look no further than naturally umami-rich veggies like mushrooms, tomatoes, sweet potatoes and nori.

Cookies Reimagined

Classic spiced cookie flavours take new form in decadent, imaginative desserts that redefine “milk and cookies.”

Smoked Spices

Smoking spices and herbs deepens their flavour and aroma, adding richness to meals and drinks.

Middle Eastern Mezze

These distinctive dips and spreads, packed with zesty herbs and seasonings, offer an approachable and delicious introduction to a vibrant global cuisine.

Flavour Worth the Wait

Lift the lid to discover rich flavours from global recipes that meld aromatic spices and comforting ingredients into mouthwatering slow-cooked meals.

Which flavours will be favoured in 2015?

2014 seemed to be the year of the coconut. Whether it was coconut oil, coconut water or some sort of extract, it was one ingredient that demanded attention. But which ingredients and flavour trends will lead the way in 2015?

Food magazine recently caught up with some of the industry's top marketing research companies to look at which ingredient and flavour trends manufacturers will be at the mercy of in 2015.

When it comes to identifying which flavours will dominate, the overarching consensus was in regards to those conducive to the health and wellness movement.

"Consumer concerns regarding health and an increasing demand for convenient foods that fit in with time-poor consumers are expected to drive product trends over the next five years," says Caroline Finch, senior industry analyst at IBISWorld.

"Producers are expected to increasingly integrate exotic flavours with premium and healthy ingredients, such as wholegrain, fibre, protein and vitamins promoted for specific health benefits."

Similar to what we saw in 2014, Finch says that the popularity of "superfoods" is expected to increase within the health and wellness category.

"Superfoods that are forecast to continue to gain popularity in 2015 include maca powder, chia seeds, goji berries, acai, raw cacao, hemp seeds, coconut oil, bee pollen, and wakame seaweed. Free-from products are also expected to be a growth area, as more and more consumers discover that they have intolerances,allergies or sensitivities to certain foods."

Turning fads into sustainable trends

Lead analyst at Canadean, Michael Hughes says that two of the current trends in the FMCG space will continue into 2015:  hot and spicy ingredients from the Far East and South America, and the introduction of more 'superfood' ingredients such as beetroot juice. Specifically in relation to superfoods, Hughes says that the popularity of FMCGs containing these ingredients will continue to increase.

"This trend will continue to gain momentum in 2015, as consumers continue to seek out magic bullet solutions for their health needs – the key for manufacturers is ensuring such "fads" are turned into sustainable trends and that consumers understand they need to be consumed in accordance with a balanced diet," he says.

"Alternative protein will become a big trend – particularly in the dairy category. We also anticipate that vegetable nutrition will become a big trend with demand for beetroot juice expected to grow in particular."

Daniel Grimsey, senior research analyst at Euromonitor International believes that the superfood trend is likely to increase, but warns that not every consumer is on board.

"I guess it depends on the social aspects. A lot of people are obviously into quinoa and gluten-free products, while other people hate that sort of thing," he says. "I suspect that [superfoods] will become more mainstream but it could go either way."

Functional beverages on the rise

Other areas to focus on include the gluten-free space which has gained immense popularity over the past five years, and is expected to continue to gain momentum.

But an interesting category to watch is that of plant-based water and 'superfruit' enriched beverages. Grimsey expects that elderflower, chia and superfruits such as pomegranate will emerge in the beverages category, whereas Finch of IBISWorld believes that chlorophyll may be an ingredient to watch.  

"There is considerable innovation in the functional beverage category," says Finch.

"Consumers that purchase these products are typically well informed, and will select the type of plant-based water depending on the health benefits they provide. chlorophyll water is a trend that may build."

Hughes from Canadean expects the popularity of plant-based waters such as coconut water to increase, however he stresses that the market is still comparatively small compared to the soft drink market.

"It will have to be remembered that these categories will remain a niche," says Hughes. "The demand however will be driven by consumers looking to exit the carbonated soft drink market and instead seek out healthier alternative beverages. For those less driven by the desire for health, price can be a barrier for such products."

Leading the way in innovation

In terms of product innovation and addressing any gaps in the market, the health and wellness category continues to be the one to watch. However Hughes warns that the positioning of particular products within the category needs attention to secure sustainable demand.

"At the moment, I think more could be done to align certain ingredients with who should be their core audience in order to sustain fads into trends and by moving away from those consumers simply seeking a magic bullet health solution," he says.

"For example, coconut water manufacturers should do more to position products at athletes because of the potassium content, whilst alternative protein manufacturers are missing a trick not doing more to highlight the importance of protein and muscle retention to an ageing society."

Still within the health and wellness category, Finch from IBISWorld believes that there is plenty of room to grow within the vegan, biodynamic and raw food categories in mainstream supermarkets, despite a surge in new product releases over the past few years. She also adds that products targeting specific food intolerances will continue to experience increased demand.

"Products targeting fructose malabsorption also present an opportunity, as awareness builds with consumers. At the moment, there is not much depth in the range of products aimed at these consumers, presenting an opportunity in the market," she says.

Categories to watch

Finch also emphasises that manufacturers of health foods are in a stronger position for growth when compared to producers of traditional snack foods.

According to IBISWorld data, health and snack food production has experienced a six percent annualised growth in the five years to 2014-15 ($601.9 million), with forecast growth at 4.7 percent annually for the five years to 2019-20 ($758.4 million). Whereas snack food production is sitting at 1.3 percent annualised growth in the five years through to 2014-15 ($2.4 billion), with forecast growth at 1.6 percent annualised in the five years to 2019-20 ($2.6 billion).

"Some players have enjoyed immense growth by tapping into niche markets with unique ingredients, production methods and flavours," says Finch. "For example the milk company. A2 enjoyed revenue growth of almost 16 percent in 2013-14 with its milk products aimed at consumers with dairy-related digestive issues, and Carman's Fine Foods revenue increased at an annualised 24.6 percent over the five years up to 2013-14, due to the growing popularity of its health snack foods."

To add to this, Euromonitor's Daniel Grimsey believes that private label brands within the health and wellness category are leading the way in terms of product innovation.

Grimsey says that the Macro and gluten-free section in Woolworths has been particularly well executed.

"As far as health foods go, about half the market within Woolworths seems to be private labels, not to mention the Coles Finest and Woolworths Gold at the premium end of things which appear to be pushing more exotic ingredients," he says.

"Also Sanitarium Weetbix in the last year or so has branched out in several areas. They have a gluten-free version and a protein enriched version, so major brands like that which have enough shelf space can have different variants such as those.

"Goodman Fielder is also introducing gluten-free bread to the mainstream audience, and Nudie Foods is another brand to watch as they have introduced a juice containing chia now. Within the iced tea space, the Stolen recipe brand is another innovative manufacturer."

Michael Hughes from Canadean says that in his opinion, Nestle is one brand that is ahead of the curve.

"Nestle is investing a lot in health and functionality, and I am really interested to see how it make strides in the market over the next couple of years given their R&D investment," he says.

 

ADM to purchase Swiss flavour manufacturer for US$3 billion

Following the company’s failed attempt to purchase GrainCorp earlier this year, US agribusiness giant Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) has just announced that it will pay $US3 billion to purchase Swiss company, Wild Flavours.

Wild Flavours supplies natural ingredients to the food and beverage manufacturing industry, and has production sites in Europe, Asia, South America and the US.

According to ADM, the acquisition will enable the company to better serve its customers evolving needs within its food and wellness business which produces products for the beverage, meat, snack and bakery markets, The Mercury reports.

Wild Flavours, which has an estimated revenue of about $US1.36b for this year, will be purchased by ADM as an all-cash deal. The transaction is expected to be finalised by year’s end.

 

US researchers reduce fat content without compromising on taste and texture

Researchers from the University of Massachusetts Amherst say that low fat, creamy desserts and sauces could be made as tasty and visually appealing as their full-fat counterparts simply by adjusting the calcium and acidity levels.

The researchers said that the method enabled them to successfully reduce the fat content in a model white sauce from 10 percent to 2 percent without compromising on the taste and texture of the product, Phys.org reports.

"By controlling pH and calcium content, we are able to regulate the interactions among fat droplets," said Bicheng Wu, a graduate student involved in the research. "This makes them stick together and form flocs, or clumps. We believe the water trapped inside these flocs makes the sauce seem fattier than it really is and preserves the look, feel and flavour."

Wu says that when it comes to the overall sensory attributes of food, fat plays a leading role.
"It carries flavours, so cutting the fat content lessens the intensity of the flavour. The appearance, meaning the opacity or lightness, of a food mixture largely depends on light scattering by fat droplets, so high fat content gives a milky appearance to a sauce or dressing."

Despite similarities in appearance and texture, lead researcher of the study D. Julian McClements, Ph.D.,  said that one problem that the researchers’ need to overcome is in relation to satiety. McClements explains that many people don’t feel as full once the fat content is cut.

"Due to the high calorie count in fat and how the body digests it, fat also affects the feeling of satiety," he said.

McClements said that the research team will soon be conducting extensive tests, allowing them to adjust the composition and incorporate other seasoning ingredients into the foods.

"Since this fat reduction is easy for us now, and the fact that our new products contain healthy ingredients that can be used in a wide range of products, this means there's a great potential to reach the market in the near future."

 

Volatile compounds in strawberries could make processed food naturally sweeter

Researchers from the University of Florida say that they have pinpointed the exact compounds in strawberries that give the fruit its sweet flavour.

Strawberry breeders at the University are currently researching ways to create more flavourful varieties of the fruit, and hope to eventually use those compounds to make processed food naturally sweeter – eliminating the need for artificial sweeteners, and significantly lessening sugar content.

Following extensive biochemical testing and the hosting of consumer taste panels, the researchers identified 30 compounds within strawberries that consumers love. They also identified six volatile compounds that add to consumers’ perception of sweetness in a strawberry – independent of any type of sugar contained in the fruit.

Michael Schwieterman, a postdoctoral researcher and lead author of the paper says that in addition to enabling food manufacturers to make processed food naturally sweeter in the future, the group’s plant breeders are already employing the findings to create consumer-preferred flavours now.

“When we find these specific volatiles, it will help us produce cultivars that we know have a good chemical profile and should be perceived as much sweeter, with better flavour,” he said.

The six volatiles have now been added to a growing collection of sugar-independent, flavour enhancing compounds found in fruits, vegetables and herbs that researchers at the University’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences are currently focusing on.

 

Taura introduces new fruit paste for baked products

Global concentrated fruit products company, Taura Natural Ingredients has developed a range of real fruit pastes for baked goods and snack products.

The pastes are made using Taura’s Ultra Rapid Concentration (URC) technology which involves a unique process of concentrating the taste and texture of fruit into pieces, flakes and pastes.

As well as being free from artificial colours, flavours and preservatives the pastes offer a shelf life of up to 12. months. The pastes have been designed to provide a range of technical benefits when used in baked applications including bake stability, and also offer low water activity in dry product environments.

Taura’s head of sales for Asia-Pacific, Bartolo Zame said that the new pastes provide a host of benefits for baking applications.

“Our new pastes are a great way for food companies to add flair and fruit goodness to bakery products. Made from real fruit, with no artificial additives, they look, taste and smell delicious and provide a host of technical benefits that make a baker’s life easier and promise superb end-products every time.”

The new pastes will be exhibited at the Taipei International Bakery Show which kicks off on 13 March 2014.

“We’re delighted to be exhibiting again at the Taipei International Bakery Show,” said Zame.

“We’re looking forward to sharing the benefits of our URC pastes and BakeFruit pieces with visitors to the exhibition.”

Taura URC fruit pastes are Halal and Kosher certified as well as 100% vegetarian.

 

McCormick’s Flavour Forecast predicts a spicier future

Now in its 14th year, the McCormick Flavour Forecast has become one of the flavour calendars most anticipated annual announcements.

The Flavour Forecast report is developed by culinary professionals, trend trackers and food technologists around the globe to highlight five top food trends, and over a dozen emerging flavours that are predicted to inspire global cooking trends. In years past, McCormick has predicted growth in products such as coconut water, which was a relatively untapped market in 2005 to represent a multibillion dollar industry today.

Ian Holmes, Industrial & Food Service Sales Manager for McCormick Foods Australia said that this year’s Flavour Forecast coincides with the company’s 125th anniversary and provides a way for chefs and food manufacturers to stay ahead of the game.

“Our Flavour Forecast is ideal for chefs and operators looking to stay a few steps ahead of the current flavour trends. Today’s expectation when dining out is about exceptional taste experiences, so this Anniversary Edition can be an inspiration point for food service professionals.”

In addition to the Flavour Forecast, McCormick has also created a range of spice blends to complement the five top trends.

“We will be launching our second bespoke range of the Flavour Forecast 2014 in a set of inspiring blends. Last year, Australia was the first country to capture the flavour trends in a blend to bring the Flavour Forecast to life. The unique range of blends represented the pinnacle of flavour innovation and were very well received by the food service industry,” says Holmes.

The 2014 Flavour Forecast focused on five main areas; Chilli Obsession, Modern Masala, Clever Compact Cooking, Mexican World Tour and Charmed by Brazil.

Chilli Obsession

McCormick say that the world at large is craving chili heat and this has extended into employing new and exciting ways to prepare the pepper including grilling, smoking, pickling, fermenting and candying to tease out the flavour. Chillies that McCormick have tipped to take off include Guajillo – a mild Mexican dried chilli, Chilli de Arbol – a bold Mexican chilli, Tien Tsin – a hot Szechuan chilli and Aji Amarillo – a hot Peruvan yellow chilli.

Modern Masala

As a step above basic curries, McCormick says that experimental Indian cuisine will thrive in 2014. From food trucks to fine dining and a greater variety of supermarket products available, the flavour forecast for Indian food is predicted to include experimental wraps, high-end Indian restaurant offerings and convenient Indian at home solutions.  Flavours and dishes to look out for include Kashmiri Masala, West Indian jalfrezis and the dishes including paneer cheese.

Clever Compact Cooking

Clever Compact Cooking takes advantage of big flavours that come from small spaces. McCormick says that these versatile ingredients which include Coriander, Tea and Noodles are essential to kitchens of all sizes – from large scale establishments to independent operations.

Mexican World Tour

Tomatillos, Recados and Chamoy Sauce are at the forefront of McCormick’s Mexican World Tour. McCormick says that the taste for the bright and bold flavours that come from regional Mexican fare is spreading across the globe is a big way.

Charmed by Brazil

Brazilian cuisine, which encompasses a melting pot of European, African, Asian and native Amazonian influences is also poised to emerge as a powerful presence in global cooking.

Flavours and ingredients to look out for according to McCormick include black-eyed peas, Guava – as a nectar, paste or fresh, Cassace Flour – also known as tapioca flour which happens to be gluten free and Tempero Baiano – a Bahian seasoning blend.

 

Aspartame’s popularity not as sweet as natural alternatives in soft drinks

Recent data from market research and analysis provider, Canadean has indicated that the artificial sweetener, aspartame is fast losing its dominance in the soft drink market to alternative sweeteners such as Stevia, Sucralose, Erythritol and Acesulfame Potassium.

According to the report titled Sweeteners and Flavours, Canadean states that Aspartame is forecast to face negative growth rates of 0.1 to -1.7 percent within the next five years. It is predicted that Aspartame’s main markets will then be centred on powdered soft drinks in Asia, Latin America and Africa.

In contrast to Aspartame, Sucralose consumption in soft drinks is forecast to grow annually between 1.9 to 6.6 percent across most soft drink categories, while standardised Stevia sweeteners are predicted to demonstrate steep growth at 12.3 percent – representing an estimated volume sale of 8000 tonnes in 2018.

The data also finds that soft drink products with reduced sugar and natural sweeteners are experiencing increasing growth in the Western markets and that consumers largely perceive honey to be the healthiest choice of all sugars/ sweeteners, followed by Stevia and cane sugar.

“At Canadean Ingredients we believe that all-natural and less sugar is an important focus for the ingredient industry, as evidenced in our consumer sentiment studies. This is the case, not just for soft drinks, but in all food and beverage categories” says Karin Nielsen, director Canadean Ingredients.

“The ingredient and food industry need to consider the current sweeteners marketing mix and how they present their products for this new important segment.” 

Canadean Ingredients will present key findings in Sweeteners and Flavours at this year’s Food and Natural Ingredients Exhibition in Frankfurt, Germany.

 

McCormick Foods launches the inaugural Flavour Forecast Recipe Challenge

Flavour company, McCormick Foods, together with the Home Economics Institute of Australia Inc, has recently launched the inaugural Flavour Forecast Recipe Challenge.

The challenge will give high school students from years 9 and 10 the opportunity to explore current trends in flavours by demonstrating their creative food talents through the development of a series of recipes.

The students will drawn upon current and upcoming trends that have been identified in McCormick’s annual Flavour Forecast Report – a comprehensive study that identifies emerging culinary trends that are expected to drive innovation in flavour over the coming years.

The report has been developed by a team of experts including chefs, home economists, sensory scientists, dietitians, trend trackers, marketing experts and food technologists around the globe.

Derrin Johnson, Marketing Director, McCormick Foods Australia, said that McCormick was thrilled to be launching the first Flavour Forecast Recipe Challenge, and hopes that the competition will ‘inspire creative and culinary inspiration within delete home economics classrooms around Australia.’

‘Our 2013 Flavour Forecast has some amazing flavour combinations and our own Test Kitchen continues to explore the new flavour pairings and incorporate them in our new product and recipe development,” said Johnson.

“We hope the students will also have a lot of fun exploring the many and varied ways in which these flavours can be brought to life in an entrée, main, snack or dessert. We have found that the Flavour Forecast makes a difference in the way people create and experience food around the world, and we hope the students also get to enjoy this culinary exploration.’

The Home Economics Institute of Australia (HEIA) has worked closely with McCormick to develop a design brief that is grounded in the school curriculum with a focus on critical and creative thinking, ICT capability, and Australia’s engagement with Asia.

Dr Janet Reynolds, Convenor of the HEIA Education Standing Committee said the partnership represented an invaluable opportunity for students of home economics.

“HEIA is excited to be involved with McCormick as HEIA values the real life industry knowledge McCormick can offer. The competition can provide students with experience of how the food industry works and promote creativity with food flavours amongst teachers and students.”

The winning school will receive a Thermomix for the classroom, and the state/territory winning schools will receive prizes consisting of over $1500 of Wusthof knives and GreenPan cookware as well as a supply of McCormick herbs and spices for the classroom.

Entries for the competition close mid November, 2013.

 

Heilala ground vanilla powder

Product name: Ground Vanilla Powder

Product manufacturer: Heilala Vanilla

Ingredients: 100 percent Heilala Vanilla Beans

Shelf life: Two years plus best before

Packaging: 25gm glass jar, 100gm and 250gm vacum pack

Product manager: Nicole Carr

Brand website: https://www.heilalavanilla.com.au

What the company says
Made from 100 percent pure vanilla beans, Heilala Vanilla ground vanilla powder is free from artificial colours, flavours, buffers, additives, sugar and is gluten-free.

The product is made by drying and grinding Heilala Vanilla beans into a fine powder making it the purest and most natural form of vanilla available in the range. Two grams of the ground vanilla powder is equivalent to one Heilala Vanilla bean.

Highly versatile and perfect to use in baking, desserts, hot and cold beverages, seasonings and rubs.

 

Herbie’s spice store receives world’s best title

US website, Foodandwine.com has recognised iconic Australian spice store, Herbie’s Spices by honouring it with the extravagant title of One of the World’s Best Spice Stores.

Spice stores hailing from capital cities around the globe including Los Angeles, Tel Aviv, India, Paris, London, China and Morocco were included on the list, with Herbie’s Spices representing the only Australian store.

"Having visited spice stores and spice markets around the world, we were thrilled to hear that a US website had recognized us," said Ian Hemphill of Herbie’s Spices.

"Herbs and spices are agricultural commodities, and it has always been my obsession to source and blend the very best that are available."

The prestigious title comes as the store, located in the Sydney inner western suburb of Rozelle, recently celebrated its 16th birthday.

The stores spice range has now extended to over 300 items including 108 spice mixes with over 70 of which are exclusive to Herbie’s.

"We never cease searching for good spices and learning about great spice combinations, as this is vital if we are to uphold the title of One of the World's Best Spice Stores".

 

McCormick launches Grill Mates seasonings

McCormick has launched a new range of seasoning sachets, the McCormick Grill Mates seasonings.

The sachets are packaged in a resealable package, and are made with large herb and spice particulates, especially formulated for barbecuing and grilling.

The new range has been launched just as the Australian BBQ season hits off as a perfect accompaniment to steaks, beef patties and chicken wings.

The seasonings are also being marketed as a tasty addition to home cooked meals such as gourmet pizzas, lamb koftas, vegetables and roast dinners.

Andrew Graham, brand manager for McCormick Grill Mates says is excited to be launching the new range of seasoning sachets, stating that they make a perfect additional to any pantry.

 “We developed this product to assist the home cook who is looking for that little bit of inspiration for the family meal,” he said.

“It’s the ease, convenience and flavour profile of McCormick® Grill Mates® that we think will also appeal to the BBQ expert.”

The McCormick® Grill Mates come in four flavours; Classic BBQ Mediterranean Chicken Blazin’ Pepper Steak Bush Lamb.

The launch of the new products will be completed with print, digital and social campaigns as well as a national PR campaign.

McCormick Grill Mates will also be part of the Big Aussie Barbie event which raises money for the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia.

 

McCormick Grill Mates seasonings

Product name: McCormick Grill Mates seasonings in 50g sachets

Product manufacturer: McCormick Foods Australia

Ingredients: Blazin Pepper Steak: salt, dehydrated vegetables (onion, bell peppers, garlic), spices (pepper, chilli, paprika), rice flour, vegetable oil, rice hull concentrate

Shelf life: 18 months

Packaging: Re-sealable, clear sachets with gusset.

Product manager: Andrew Graham,Brand Manager, McCormick Foods Australia

Brand website: https://www.mccormick.com.au

What the company says
The delicious new range of McCormick Grill Mates seasonings offer the most convenient and cost-effective way to spice up any BBQ spread or family feast.

Packaged in convenient re-sealable sachets, McCormick Grill Mates are made with large herb and spice particulates especially formulated for barbecuing and grilling, with flavour the consumer can see.

Launched in time for the Australian BBQ season, barbecue aficionados are encouraged to master the flame, master the flavour using McCormick Grill Mates to invigorate their steaks, beef patties and chicken wings.

The range includes:

  • Classic BBQ: This traditional blend of BBQ spices will be sure to bring out the best in your Aussie barbie favourites.
  • Mediterranean Chicken: Take your barbecue chicken to the next level with this aromatic blend of herbs and spices.
  • Blazin’ Pepper Steak: This fiery blend of herbs and spices will be sure to make your steaks sizzle.
  • Bush Lamb: Adding flavour to your lamb chops and cutlets is too easy with this blend of Australian native spices including lemon myrtle and mountain pepper

McCormick Grill Mates are available in Coles supermarkets for RRP $2.29. Each 50g sachet features convenient re-sealable packaging and is designed specifically to stand upright in supermarket shelves.

McCormick announces corporate responsibility goals

McCormick has released its 2013 Corporate Responsibility review which includes a 20 percent boost in funding directed towards educating consumers about the role of flavour in healthy eating.

The flavour manufacturer's review, titled 'Sharing Our Passion for Flavour' outlines key focus areas for the company, examines global initiatives, measures performance and sets goals for the future.

The review is broken up into four focus areas:empowering people and improving communities; investing in quality, sustainable agriculture; providing healthy flavour solutions; and improving operational impact and efficiencies.

"Our CSR vision is to grow our business globally while driving positive change to the environment, within our communities and for our employees,” said Alan Wilson, chairman, president and chief executive officer.

"This CSR review highlights the linkage between our philanthropic work, protection of the environment and our business success."

Key goals of the review include:

  • Identifying baseline global employee volunteer hours by 2014. Global employee volunteer hours will equal or exceed 100,000 hours per year
  • Creating a more sustainable product supply chain from farm to finished product
  • A 50 percent funding increase for farming community programs to include completing and sustaining farming projects assisting local farmers in improving their quality of life and livelihoods
  • Launching the McCormick employee Eating Well program globally
  • A 20 percent increase in global marketing investment aimed at educating consumers and industry leaders on the role of flavour in healthier eating
  • A 25 percent reduction in bottle packaging weight using sustainable methods
  • To reduce electricity use and water use by 20 percent
  • To reduce solid waste by 50 percent
  • To reduce greenhouse gases by 10 percent

Daniel Moorfield, managing director McCormick Foods Australia/NZ, said "We are excited about the release of our Corporate Social Responsibility Review. McCormick Foods Australia will continue its commitment to making a difference to the local communities in which we live and work and will remain focused on our global goals.

"With over 20 percent reduction in electricity usage over the last four years, we look forward to this ongoing positive change. We are also investing in strategies to inspire healthy choices amongst Australians."

 

A passion for flavour – a tour inside the new Flavour Makers facility

When I first stepped foot inside the new Flavour Makers Braeside factory on a rainy Melbourne morning, I was immediately hit with the tremendous sense of pride which seemed to be emanating from the walls of the barely three week old facility.

Barbara, Flavour Makers’ receptionist, was brimming from each to ear, and exuded an infectious sense of excitement as she explained the ‘big move’ which involved consolidating four manufacturing facilities under the one roof.

“We are still going through a teething process,” she said. “But we are all very excited.”

Despite construction workers still ironing out the finer details, there is no way you could even attempt to steal the sunshine off any member of the Flavour Makers family.

Every employee I met has a genuine passion for the business, which still remains wholly Australian owned after its 20 years of operation.

Commercial manager, Jodie Hooker, said that it’s the fostering of strong relationships, both internally and externally, coupled with hard work that has made Flavour Makers what it is today.

“Integrity is one of the most important commodities,” she said.

Innovation and traditional values

As the name suggests, Flavour Makers do exactly that, they make flavours, and they do it well. Flavour Makers targets the needs of the customer and creates concepts to match specified requirements.

According to Flavour Makers’ owner, Adrian Cester, the company was born out of an identified need for high quality prepared food. As customers became increasingly time poor, the demand for prepared foods rose, but the quality of products offered remained relatively low.

With family roots in the poultry industry, Cester started working for his brother’s business, John Cester Poultry, shortly after studying, and this is where he identified the increasing trend towards prepared foods.

With an Italian background, Cester has always valued high quality, home cooked meals and subsequently wanted to offer consumers something more than the stock standard readymade sauces and crumbed chicken that they were settling for.

Cester was frustrated by the low quality of prepared foods available on the market, and decided to channel his frustration into a business opportunity.

“Something was telling me to get into developing better food products,” he said.

Today, Flavour Makers hires chefs of world class standard to create the high quality flavour solutions that have become synonymous with the company’s name.

New facility, new ideas

The new Braeside facility showcases Flavour Makers’ wide range of production capabilities, and as such, has been built to world class standards boasting the latest technology sourced both locally and internationally.

The new facility is complete with a liquid plant, retail plant, culinary development centre (which consists of four test kitchens), sensory booths for independent taste testing, and a storage warehouse/packaging facility.

Everything apart from the dry blending facility, (which will remain separate for allergen reasons), is now located under the one roof.

One of the most impressive parts of the new facility is the boardroom which comes complete with its own state of the art kitchen that has been designed specifically for the final tastings of a client’s product.

The final tastings consist of a full meal created and served to the client by Flavour Makers’ chefs using the specified flavours that the client requested.

Another notable feature of the new facility is the yet to be completed vegetable and spice garden. Cester’s aim is to create a “sensory experience” which includes fruit trees, vegetables, herbs and spices at the entrance of the facility and continuing throughout the premises.

“My intention is to create a sensory experience. When you first arrive you will see recycled timbers and plants used on the building,” said Cester.

“People see us as a food science business, which we are, but at the root of what we do, is food. And we are passionate about that.”

There is always a solution

Priding themselves on creating unique, fast and functional solutions for clients both big and small, Flavour Makers never turns down a project, no matter how tight the timeframe.

“That may mean sometimes using external consultants,” said Hooker, “But we always find a solution.”

Although Flavour Makers may have grown in size over the years, Hooker says it they will never leave the small guys behind.

“We have an intimate knowledge of the local consumer, which enables us to create unique and adaptable solutions,” she said.

“We work with local butchers which serve as a great test market due to their access to the consumer.”

It is through this intimate knowledge that Flavour Maker is able to connect with smaller businesses and devise viable solutions to sometimes complicated requests.

As well as catering for local needs, Flavour Makers is also serving larger players in the market, supplying Tesco stores in the UK with its Passage Foods range and securing contracts with numerous lines of private label products sold throughout Coles, Woolworths and Aldi.

Challenges in the making of flavours

Clean labelling, or the push towards more natural ingredients, has posed a major challenge for Flavour Makers. Tinkering with recipes to include 100 percent natural ingredients in its ‘Celebrate Health’ range required rigorous testing to ensure that the taste, smell, texture and mouthfeel were just right.

“There continues to be challenges surrounding the line. When we started, some of the products contained a small amount of sugar, and we are now removing all of it and replacing some with Stevia, and in some cases we are not using any sweetners at all,” said Cester.

Along with a change in ingredients, also comes a change in the price tag.

“The bottom line is it often costs a lot more to produce [our products] than a packet of something else that’s on the supermarket shelf,” he said.

“We have to try and be competitive. I would like to turn Celebrate Health into a completely organic brand as well but in order to do that I would probably price it out of the market. So at some point, we will probably split Celebrate Health in two and have Celebrate Health Organic, and the other… [conventional Celebrate Health line].

“We already have a number of products in our range that are organic, we have three stocks: chicken, beef and veg. The goal is for all of it to become organic but we’ve got to remain commercially viable. If I can find a way to make our quinoa and lentil range organic without impacting on price, then that is sort of my goal.”

Challenges aside, Cester says that the Celebrate Health line is experiencing an impressive adoption rate amongst consumers.

“We are growing almost weekly,” said Cester. “We presented 18 new Celebrate Health products to Coles and they accepted 12 of them which is unheard of, unless you are a really big player.

“So it is saying that Celebrate Health is resonating, people are loving it, people are buying it. We have also got a very clean labelling on it. I would put my hand on my heart and say that it is the healthiest stuff available anywhere. And I think that is what’s resonating with the healthy consumer.”

Contrary to the norm, Flavour Makers has made a point of being completely transparent in its ingredient lists by identifying every ingredient used. Cester said that he wanted to create a range that could ‘tick as many health related boxes as possible’.

Along with the Celebrate Health line, which includes ready-made quinoa, Passage Foods – which is one of the company’s wet sauce lines – has also embraced the health concerns of many consumers by being totally gluten-free.

Prospering in a not-so-prosperous marketplace

Unlike many other food manufacturers around the country, Flavour Makers has been able to thrive in an environment that is increasingly giving way to imported foods and cheaper prepared food alternatives.

The emphasis on connecting with both the consumer and the client, as well as remaining true to its initial objective of creating healthy and tasty prepared foods, has given Flavour Makers an unprecedented advantage in its market.

As the demand for local, healthy prepared food products continues to rise, and after seeing how Flavour Makers approaches innovation, product development and meeting its consumers’ demands, I think this is one Aussie brand that’s ahead of the game.

 

24 hours with McCormick Foods Australia

Daniel Moorfield, managing director of McCormick Foods Australia takes Food Mag's Q&A and sheds some light on the joys and challenges of the world of flavour.

Name:
Daniel Moorfield

Company name:
McCormick Foods Australia

Title:
Managing director, McCormick Foods Australia/NZ

What are your primary roles and responsibilities in your job? Give us a day in your working life.

My responsibilities include:

  • The safety and wellbeing of all McCormick staff
  • Making sure best practise approaches are used within all areas of the company, from manufacturing to packaging to HR
  • Maintaining the integrity and values of the McCormick brand
  • Ensuring we are a profitable, healthy company delivering innovative products the consumers need

In regards to a day in the life, the great thing about my role is that you are never quite sure what the day will bring. Within one day, I can be discussing new product innovations with our Test Kitchen, speaking with the production staff about the latest production run, meeting with the Asia Pacific president, visiting retail stores, discussing new innovations and reviewing our latest marketing campaign.

What training/education did you need for your job?
While my background in Finance has been important for my current role, it is just as important to have an array of generalist skills ranging from good communication to leadership to problem solving. And of course knowing the FMCG industry and understanding the consumer is vital to success.

How did you get to where you are today? Give us a bullet point career path.

  • Auditor with Ernst & Young
  • Various finance role within Mars Confectionery which was the beginning of 15 plus years in the FMCG space
  • Finance director at McCormick Foods Australia
  • Finance director for McCormick Foods China
  • Chief financial officer at SPC Ardmona
  • Managing director at McCormick Foods Australia

What tools and/or software do you use on a daily basis?
While financial literacy is certainly essential to my daily work life, the tools I value the most are communication tools.

Many companies have great strategies but they are not executed correctly. Part of my role is to ensure all employees know our company strategy and understand our vision. The only way to do this effectively is to communicate, communicate and, if in doubt, communicate some more.

The tools I use include regular face to face meetings with all areas of the company, the intranet and newsletters.

Listening is also an essential tool. I love seeing people develop and shine in their roles, so I try to spend as much time as I can listening and encouraging people, and helping them achieve their goals. It is also vital for us to understand the customer so we can deliver innovative products the consumer need and want.

Research is a great tool for supporting many decisions we make as a team.

What is the one thing that you are most proud of in your professional life?
I believe I am working toward that right now. Having the opportunity to take all of my learnings to date to lead my colleagues at McCormick Foods Australia to the next level is exciting.

As an innovative flavour company, we are well positioned to help our customers grow and that, in turn, will lead to growth for McCormick Foods Australia.

This is especially exciting as I was able to return to McCormick where I worked before in Finance in both Australia and in China.

Biggest daily challenge?
Consumer preferences continue to evolve and change daily. We need to stay on top of these changes in order to bring new products to the market successfully.

Biggest career challenge?
Moving from a professional speciality such as Finance to a managing director role has been my most enjoyable challenge to date. Honouring the responsibility I now have to McCormick Foods Australia staff, suppliers and customers is a career challenge I welcome.

What is your biggest frustration in your job?
My role is pretty simple – work out what the business frustrations are and then come up with solutions. So I tend not to get too frustrated about many things, instead I prefer to spend my time working out how to lessen others frustrations.

What is the biggest challenge facing your business?
There are two major challenges, which are both related. Firstly, the growth in the private label and secondly, the Australian dollar. I believe that in the long term, it will be in the interest of consumers, retailers, suppliers and the government to have a healthy food manufacturing base in Australia.

I think collaboration – among suppliers as well as between suppliers and retailers – will continue to increase as companies realise the need to share in sustainable profits. Given the concentration of retailers, I anticipate the same will occur among the supplier base, whether it is through mergers and acquisitions, joint-ventures or mutually beneficial alignments.

I also expect, and have started to see, retailers looking to work closer with suppliers. The ability to share information and better understand consumers has great potential and opportunity. This is especially important with the continued growth in private label.

Based on overseas experience, I also expect there will be continued growth in more mid-range/convenience stores, internet shopping, and continued growth in Aldi and Costco. All of these will make the grocery industry a very challenging, interesting and exciting place to be over the coming years.

Is there anything else about your job you want Australia to know about?
McCormick Foods is an Australian-based food manufacturer (a subsidiary of US-based McCormick & Company, Inc.).

As the global leader in flavour, McCormick Foods has an extensive range of convenient and innovative flavour products and solutions, including herbs and spices, recipe mix meal bases, marinades, sauces and gravies.

Customers include retail, foodservice and industrial customers.

In addition to McCormick, our family of brands includes the iconic Aeroplane Jelly and Keen’s Mustard and Curry, both of which are produced in Australia.

We are passionate about bringing together the art and science of flavour to help create memorable food experiences for Australians. This is also demonstrated through our annual Flavour Forecast report, which predicts future flavour trends and pairings.

Based in Melbourne, McCormick Foods Australia employs more than 200 people.

 

If you would like to take part in Food mag's Industry Map, click here.

To read another Industry Map Q&A, click here.

 

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