- Expo Café Mexico
- FHA Singapore
- FHA Hong Kong
- Foodex Japan
- Gulf Food Show
- SIAL China
- World Tea and Coffee Show – Rome, Hamburg, Singapore, Geneva and so many other fabulous places
Information & Sales:
I have been thinking a lot about the tradeshows we used to do. Back when we first entered this industry, I did about 15-18 trade shows annually. They were domestic shows, customer trade shows and international tradeshows. We exhibited as a company or represented our company in our customer’s stand and offered as much support as we could both physically and monetarily.
I still recall some of my most favorite international shows:
This year, we will bring our Private Label message to the World of Coffee in Vienna.
After about a 4 year haitus from exhibiting internationally, our company is once again going to have its own stand and will actively target customers that are looking for a private label specialty beverage programs. Please stop by our booth if you are also there!
On a visit to SE Asia to one of our customers we were introduced to a new craze…. Flavored beer. Truthfully, I do not like beer. There’s something about the taste and smell and that I do not like. However, when flavored, the taste was masked and the drink seemed less bitter to me. In cafe shops around Indonesia, imagine a long tall beer glass alongside a syrup bar. Various syrups with pumps for you to squirt into your beer. The surprising standout flavor, for me, was Kiwi. The color of the beer is only slightly tinted; the flavor, surprisingly good. Other popular flavors are Peach, Raspberry, Orange, Lychee and Lime. Have you tried flavor beer? What was your impression?
It is with great excitement that I start to write for the blog again. First of all, Happy New Year to all of you. From us at Eagle, we wish you all a very prosperous and happy new year. Second, I apologize for such silence on the blog. Last year was busier than could have been imagined, considering I was covalescing for the greater part of the year. I am back to being mostly functional and for that, I am very grateful. Over the next few posts, I hope to share with you some of the facinating and exciting things that we expect for 2012, along with some of what we learned in 2011.
I am an Apple(R) addict. I am an early adopter of all Apple products and I see nothing wrong with owning all iPhone generations and the iPad and iPad2, at the same time. A forage into my closet doesn’t yield designer shoes, but rather, vintage Apple products, like the Powerbook 145B, and multiple colors of interchangeable track balls that were sold that year.
Is it any wonder then, that Eagle Beverage now was an App for the iPad? You can download the app at the App Store. An App? For Private Label? But of course. How else can our sales team remember each detail of a custom private label program? The app is designed for food service professionals who are interested in selling a custom private label program for speciality beverages. It’s nifty because you can see more detail of flavors and actually create your own program. Do you want to match a brand? Enter the info in the field. Do you want choose your capsule color? Click your color. Need to print the sales sheets or email directly to the person across the table from you? Select print, email or download to PDF reader.
I’m not recommending that everyone downloads the app. It is a very specific app for a specific market segment. In addition to helping our sales team promote private label programs, this app asks the question… how useful are apps for business to business generation? Or is the market share for one billion plus apps predominantly B to C? Or did I miss the platform of where B2B apps belong?
I should point out that the app is not free and Eagle Beverage does NOT offer refunds for those who download the app because they download everything there is out there whether they need it or not (yes, I know I have 650 apps of which I only actually use about 20). But we will refund the price of the app if someone actually uses it to create and buy a private label program from us!
I am enjoying the process of learning how to integrate technology into the selling of custom foodservice items. And I have enjoyed learning how Apple has developed a whole platform for the creation, maintenance and distribution of apps. The reviews from the sales team who have seen the app working have been great. I really hope I don’t have to buy them all iPads now…!
Conducting a blind tasting takes an assortment of skills and a variety of characters. First, the skills:
Now, to the characters
Over the next few posts, we will evaluate these issues. Conducting a taste test is fun and engaging, but it takes a lot of work.
Sometimes, we move too fast. One May day, I was excited to be presenting a margarita mix to a local Mexican chain that has about 60 stores. I arrived at the location, picked up the box of samples out of the truck, turned and landed on the ground. The samples (fortunately plastic bottles), went rolling. A colleague was with me, and luckily, he was able to retrieve the bottles, help me to my feet and get help. In the end, I suffered two breaks in my left foot and an ugly elbow.
During the process, however, two things became apparent quickly. One, I need to slow down and accept help when offered and two, I must always be thankful. Not knowing how I fell, the injury could have been more severe and everyday, I am thankful that I am being looked after.
Having been literally chaired (grounded, or otherwise told to stay put), I’ve had the opportunity to reconnect with many of our customers and really understand how our team does such an excellent job of getting their work done. I’m sure that they would rather not have me scrutinizing everything, but there is always room for improvement and hopefully they recognize the value of having another perspective to solving problems and exceeding on customer care. Being at the office for such an extended period of time, brings home to realization that a company that does not have direct oversight and management by owners runs the risk of having decisions made for the company instead of company management making decisions for the company. The flipside is micromanagement tends to make the team nervous or suddenly unsure of themselves. I have tried to find a balance, but I do believe everyone is ready for me to start visiting customers again!
The origin of vodka is heavily debated between Poles and Russians as no one can for sure say when the knowledge of distilling spirits spread from France and northern Italy to Poland and Russia. Nevertheless, both countries make great vodkas. And during a trip to Poland, I found myself enjoying a few sips of vodka at Qube, Poland’s first specialty Vodka bar.
Vodka was originally considered to be a medicinal drink, supposedly curing ailments and promoting longevity and youthfulness. My take on that would be that if you drank enough you didn’t feel anything and therefore appeared to die healthy. But back to vodka. Polish vodka is typically distiller from rye, while Russia and Sweden distill from wheat and Finland from barley. The East and Scandinavian countries tend to have more flavor in their vodkas than those distilled “neutral” or flavorless.
Since we specialize in Flavors, I had the Wisniowka Cherry Cordial in an ice glass. One sip at a time was delicious. Not fruity, not sweet and very balanced. But I have to admit I prefer cocktails. And vodka’s strength in the cocktail market is king. It is a completely versatile drink, with enough price points to make it affordable to all and a luxury to some. All of the mixers we manufacture and many of the syrups find themselves paired in alocholic drinks, typically made with vodka. So drink up but drink responsibly and be safe.
I’ve been to Dubai about five times in as many years and this most recent trip in November was definitely different. In years past, Dubai was a city under construction. Building shells outlined the “new Downtown” looming like spectres over the city. Construction workers were everywhere, prices were high and business were bursting with business.
This trip, however, was dfiffernt. Glorious buildings are finished, yet empty. The massive number of construction workers are fewer but I was happy to see, that people were still buying.
The specialty beverage market in Dubai, and in the Middle East, is growing rapidly, largely in part because of the heat and the limitation on alcoholic beverages. But the drinks are expensive. At Colors Café I ordered a Mocha Frappe, made with Stasero’s Mocha Frappe. It cost 17 dirhams, or $5.50 for a 16 oz glass. At Starbucks, a tall decaf latte and tall caramel latte cost 32 dirhams, just under $10.
Specialty coffee shops are abundant; unfortunately the customers were not and at these prices, not likely to be. As I make the tour around the Middle East, I am keeping my eyes open for new trends, current flavors and sellings concepts that will benefit all our customers.
Louis Pasteur said “Chance favors the prepared mind.” In competition, this is key because most of the time, people only see what they want to see. This is commonly known as “inside the box” and when we all want to highlight our strengths, we identify ourselves as “out of the box thinkers.” I have sat through many interviews discussing with candidates their work ethic and the value they could bring only to hear “I always find solutions, and I think out of the box.” I would like to know what it means to think “out of the box” and to be prepared in the changing landscape of commerce and capitalism. If we are continuously thinking outside the box and preparing our minds for eventualities, will our business be favored?
In a product driven company, there are three dimensions of competition – product leadership (otherwise known as innovation), customer knowledge and operational efficiency. If we just look at product innovation, the sad truth is that no-matter what innovative or ground breaking product you are able to bring to market, eventually, someone else will copy it, and most likely do it better. I mention this because recently Sony announced that after 30 years, it was stopping production of the Walkman as it is no longer relevant in the world in iPods and MP3 players. Truthfully, I was surprised it took them this long to make the announcement. In our industry, we watch our competitors and see what new and innovative products they believe will be the “next big flavor” and prepare ourselves for creating innovative and relevant flavors. And then we will watch someone else do it!
The south of France is a a delight to the senses. Visually exquisite, cuisine that is simple, fresh and flavorful, sounds of wildlife, birds and rustling trees, and the sweet fragrance of lavender, olives and grapes. It is easy to want to sit back and let nature take over your senses.
On my last visit, I did a lot of sensory tasting. The south of France makes some of the best products in the world… Wine, olive oil and honey and I tried them all. Here are a few of my most favorites tastes.
Wine…because I prefer white wine, I visited Cassis,, a small fishing village near Marseilles, known for its exquisite whites I ordered a bottle of wine and paired it with battered sole. The wine was crisp, with a golden hue and an aroma that brought to mind the fresh outdoors. The taste was a delicate flowery, with hints of Cherry and cassis. Domaine du Paternel is a very fine house and each sip was delicious.
Olive oil…. Now here is where things get complicated. There are many, many types of olive oil, but you don’t fully appreciate how much effort goes into each bottle of olive oil until you have been to the vineyards and seen the olives on the trees. They are treated almost as delicately as grapes and have a processing that was brought over by the romans centuries ago. Typically we pour olive oil over dishes. The new technique is to use a sprayer to spritz, instead of pouring. It is less wasteful.
Pastis… Never having really tasted pastis, I decided to linger over one on a sunny afternoon in Marseilles. Generaly, pastis is a licorice flavored drink. It arrived to the table as a concentrate, to which I added water. I decided for the slightly sweeter version, which had orgeat in it, giving it a very almondy flavor, similar to sambuco, or ouzo. Paired with a tomato and mozzarella salad, the pastis went down very smoothly.
Lavendar grows in abundance in Provence, but I had not figured out how to use it in a culinary setting. Well, I found two delicious examples of it. The first was a goat cheese spring roll with lavender honey. This was amazing – the sweet and sour taste, combined with the crunchiness of the spring roll set off the lavender honey. It was not too sweet as the cheese mellowed it, but you clearly had the sweet and sour sensations. The other yummy taste was a Lavender creme brûlée. The first thing I noticed was the creme brûlée was 1) not as thick and firm as our Amercian version and 2) not as sweet. The brûlée had the pods of the vanilla bean and a carmalezed lavender layer. The whole dish was devoured within minutes. I have brought lavender home to use in cooking and we will see how that turns out.
I hope you have enjoyed the culinary tour of Provence. I can’t wait to taste more.