Butcher Westy visits butchers The Meat Joint in Essex for a demo full of inspiration about fresh ready-meal concepts and traybakes.
Working together on the tastes of tomorrow
Twice a year Dutch Spices organises sessions to inspire customers with new tastes and products. R&D Team Leader, Tineke Hoekstra-Rijpma, and Innovation Manager, Rody de Wolf, work closely together to enable customers to be treated to surprising tastes. This can lead to exciting products, such as liquorice marinade or rhubarb sauce.
“Spare ribs with the flavour of liquorice, why not? The most common customer reaction to the combination of liquorice and meat is surprise. After all, there are also liquorice-flavoured drinks,” says Tineke who leads a team of product developers. “What I really enjoy about my work is leading a team of creative people well versed in flavours and technology. My working terrain is very broad: I deal on the one hand with the product developers and on the other hand with customers plus, to a certain extent, raw materials suppliers. I have a lot of contact with the various departments. This is how we share knowledge and experience, which ensures a lot of involvement, understanding and cooperation.” Rody: “My work involves a number of aspects. As an Innovation Manager I think about new products, identify trends and assess which of these trends are interesting for us as a company. What should we and can we do something about? I also look at whether there are opportunities for collaboration within the holding company, or whether we can set up a partnership with another company, such as a start-up.”
Innovations come into being in all sorts of ways. Rody: “We come up with ideas for new products ourselves. We keep an eye on trends in the food world in various ways. We look at developments in the market, carry-out store checks (also abroad), consult databases and take an interest in products that stand out in the Netherlands, and definitely also in other countries. We are part of a holding company with many branches outside the Netherlands and that provides valuable information. Whenever I’m abroad, whether for work or on holiday, I enjoy visiting all kinds of local shops.” Tineke continues: “We also receive questions about and suggestions for innovations via the Sales department. And customers approach us with questions about new products or adjustments to products in our existing range. Reducing the salt and sugar content in a product is such a customer request. As is replacing E-numbers with alternatives. The omission of allergens is also an increasingly frequent request, as is the omission of animal ingredients so a vegan product can be offered. We respond to this with our inclusive Dutch Spices brand.”
Rody: “Most of our new products are developed under the Dutch Spices brand. Dutch Spices has its own factories which no allergens ever enter. This is how we can guarantee the products are safe from the 14 legally-designated allergens. The gluten=free and lactose-free claims are the most relevant. Dutch Spices has various certifications, such as BRC and HalalCorrect. In addition, the seasonings are suitable for both vegetarian and vegan applications.”
Vegan is just one of the trends. Tineke: “Another wish shared by many producers and end consumers is a reduced salt and sugar content. Food is increasingly seen as a relevant contributor to health.” Rody: “Asian flavours, such as curries and the Indian tikka masala, remain interesting. Tropical flavours such as pineapple, coconut and lemon-lime are also in demand. Tastes from the past have been re-imagined with seasonings such as rhubarb sauce.”
The two annual inspiration sessions are key events in the calendar. Tineke: “We have a summer edition and a session that focuses on autumn and the festive season. We work more than a year in advance so we are aligned with our customers’ planning. During the brainstorming for these sessions various concept and product ideas emerge, some of which are developed further. We usually end up with around 15 products. Our aim is a good balance between spice mixes, sauces and marinades. We also look at the different application: various types of meat, fruits and vegetables, snacks and such like. The end products are presented to our customers by our sales staff. Sometimes an inspiration session leads to a request for a product to be adjusted in some way. Producing a customer-specific in this way is also possible. We are happy to work with the customer to find the best solution." Rody confirms: "That’s when our collective knowledge of applications, technology and the process comes in very handy.”
The Epos Food Family
Epos Food Family offers a versatile range for inspiration in taste with the most delicious seasonings in herb & spice blends, marinades, sauces and chutneys. Rody: “From both brands we, in collaboration with the customer, develop taste-oriented solutions that enable us to operate successfully and grow together.” Are you curious about the liquorice marinade or rhubarb sauce? If you are get in touch with us.
Source: EVMI October 2023
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