Archive for the ‘Industry Trends’ Category

Strength Through Diversity

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015
Diversity is important in the workplace.  At Eagle, we pride ourselves on our diverse team who come from an array of countries – Nepal, Somalia, China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Ethiopia, Samoa, and so many more.  We always joke that we have the United Nations represented at Eagle, and our diversity allows us to succeed in a competitive environment.  We always hope that our customers appreciate the diverse points of view we bring to the table.  When we have tastings for new flavors, we ask our team members to evaluate the flavors.  They all bring feedback that we use to improve the quality of our products.  In manufacturing, our diversity is the backbone of our manufacturing.  We are especially proud to be featured in Starbucks’ diversity newroom recently.  Thank you Starbucks for recognizing all that we do!  The full article from their newsroom can be found here.

Best Coffee Cities in the World

Sunday, March 9th, 2014
A recent article at listed the top 8 cities for coffee. ( In reading through the list, I’ve been to most of the cities mentioned and I concur  these cities do have the best coffee.  Here’s my view on 6 of the 8 cities I’ve visited.
  • London – While I do believe you have to venture around the city for your perfect cup of coffee, their cappuccinos and flat whites are really good just about anywhere!   The service in some of the coffee shops leaves room for improvement, but the quality is great.
  • Melbourne – Not quite as big as Sydney, but definitely amazing coffee.  Coffee roasters in Melbourne take their craft seriously and roast coffee that is just sublime.   Next time you are in Melbourne, ask for a tour of the roasting plant.  You won’t forget it and you’ll see their dedication to their craft.
  • Roma – In Rome, coffee is everywhere and you drink it standing up, sitting down, with food, without food, any which way you like.  Espresso is the primary form, but you can definitely find a fabulous cappuccino or mocha.  Paired with Italian Gelato, what could be better?
  • Singapore – While Asia is best known for its tea houses, the coffee scene has really exploded, as a lot of coffee shows are held in Singapore.  The scene is fun, young and hip and is a great place to try new pairings of coffee and food.
  • Seattle – Is there anything to say about Seattle coffee that hasn’t been said?  The SCAA show is coming to Seattle next month and everything coffee will be on display!
  • Vienna – one of my most favorite places in the world.  The Vienna coffee scene is truly amazing as are their pastries and tortes.  Any type of coffee is yours for the asking and the taste complements everything you are eating.
The only two cities I have not been to are: Reykjavik, Iceland and Wellington, New Zealand. I’ll keep you posted when I’ve been.

Vietnam – An Oasis of Beverages

Monday, December 9th, 2013
On a recent trip to Vietnam, I had a grand time exploring the vibrant coffee market.  Coffee could be made hot, cold, sweet, un-sweet, from liquid bases and powder bases.  You name it, they made it.  With two coffee shops per block, there is no shortage of a place to sit and have a refreshing iced coffee.  My personal favorite was an iced coffee made from a coffee concentrate, added to sweetened condensed milk and served over ice.  It is terribly sweet, but once the ice melts and dilutes the drink, it’s heaven. In my quest to find a coffee alternative, most restaurants offer the best fresh fruit drinks you’ve ever tasted.  My favorite was a Passionfruit Soda.  The server recommended it as the drink she likes because of the few calories it has.  Naturally, I had to try it.  It was made with real Passionfruit, evidenced by the seeds in the glass, and mixed with 7-up.  It was delightfully refreshing. If you ever have the chance to visit Vietnam, enjoy their coffee scene but explore their other drinks as the fruits there are really sweet and juicy.  I can’t wait to go back and try more!

Tradeshows, Tradeshows, Tradeshows….

Monday, June 4th, 2012
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:
  • Anuga
  • 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
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!

Flavored Beer

Sunday, January 15th, 2012
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?

Vodka Neat or in a Cocktail

Monday, February 7th, 2011
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.

Dubai, late 2010

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

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.

The Recommended Daily Allowance

Thursday, June 10th, 2010
When it comes to food and drink, everything in moderation is my motto. Within the beverage industry, over the past 15 years, there has been a lateral shift among marketers to persuade consumers that they can and should drink their nutrients. One of the more popular brands, VitaminWater, started marketing in 1996 a vitamin laced drink in water, targeted towards adults who don’t drink enough water or get enough vitamins. Today, marketers tout beverages that can do everything including protect against disease, boost immunity, make you stay more alert, improve skin elasticity, increase collagen production, make your hair and nails grow longer, and so on and so forth. I was reading an interesting article in Forbes this month and there are numerous pages devoted to the functional nutrient category in food and beverage. What stands out the most in the articles is that marketing claims rarely match reality when actual scientific studies are conducted. One of the best quotes was “When the marketing people decide what they want to say, they go try and find some evidence to back it up.” (“Energy Drinks,” Forbes, June 7th, 2010). This opens a can of worms because research tends to be murky, given the FDA’s tolerance towards health claims on labels. That’s another topic however. What intrigues me is that an entire industry of functional ingredients has developed by preying on a consumer’s insecurity that he/she doesn’t do enough or take good enough care of themselves and therefore need additional functional ingredients to be healthy. Everything in moderation should be OK. Ingesting a daily balance of fruits and vegetables, proteins and fats should provide the recommended daily allowance of vitamins and nutrients without the added calories of functional food and beverages. What do you think? I’m anxious to hear your comments!

The Restaurant Show 2010

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010
Every year, small businesses have the dilemna of choosing the best industry trade show to hawk their wares and capture new customers. The National Restaurant Show typically captures a slice of their marketing budget. The NRA brings together the entire industry under one roof and one exhibits and attends with the goal of making new connections and seeing what is new in the marketplace. Over the years we have exhibited at the show, but in the recent past, we have chosen to forgo the experience of exhibiting and enjoy talking with customers and friendly competitors. This year, however, the pickings were slim. There were fewer customers and exhibitors and fewer connections made. I enjoy the trends. I like to see what is happening and what might be new. This year, I found savory food items were more popular than baked goods or sweets. Among the beverage category, bloody mary’s were still popular, and I found a ginger ale company based out of New York, Fresh Ginger Ale by Bruce Cost to be delicious. But some well know co-packers were absent. I enjoy going to their stands and talking about the industry and how business is, so I was sad to see they had passed on exhibiting at the show. Among beverages, one key trend stood out – Iced Tea. Whether they were demonstrating equipment, showcasing small wares or just sampling product, iced tea was everywhere. And it is easy to understand why. It’s a popular beverage, easy to prepare, low cost and yields high profit margins. Now that’s an easy trend to follow.

Sugared Toppings

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010
We get a lot of requests for sugars and toppings. Toppings are beverage enhancements that essentially decorate the beverage. These sweet toppings can range from cocoa powder, cinnamon, vanilla, coconut flakes, mini marshmallows, peppermint bits, ginger bits and many other types. Cafes leave two to three toppings for consumers to “self serve” themselves once they have received their beverage. Most will sprinkle a little cinnamon or a little cocoa on their latte before heading out the door. However, when creating custom crafted beverages, the barista will sprinkle the topping on the finished beverage and serve the customer. This enables the café to charge a higher price for that beverage and the consumer feels they are receiving a “special” or “feature” drink. Sugared Toppings are also used in the bar and restaurant markets. Ever had a salt rimmed margarita? What about a cocoa dusted dirty martini? Bartenders use the same techniques to add flavor and enhancement to bar drinks, as baristas use to enhance coffee beverages.