New food trends heating up 2014

Ronelle Roberts_of_Claman_and_Sunelle_Roux_of_McCormick_South_Africa_at_the_annual_SAAFFI_seminarAt this year’s South African Association of the Flavour and Fragrance Industry (SAAFFI) annual seminar, the industry’s ability to keep up with global trends and embrace young local talent was the main focus.

The event, themed ‘What’s happening’, offered attendees insights into ways of cutting costs within companies in the personal care, food and beverage environment. Presentations, a group challenge and networking sessions made up this 12th seminar by the association, which was held at the Bytes Conference Centre in Midrand, Gauteng on 12 March. 

Non-core categories in business came under scrutiny in a presentation by Sergio Lopez, sales and marketing director of Expense Reduction Analysts, where the speaker showed that re-evaluating a business’ suppliers could expose unnecessary expenses and lead to visible cost reduction. Oliver Ronaldson, CEO of the market research company Interserv, and Lizalle Delport, a director at Market Instinct, added to this topic with a discussion on cutting costs in consumer research.

Sunelle Roux, consumer insights coordinator at McCormick’s South African branch, gave members of the flavour industry in the audience a real taste of the flavour trends of 2014.

According to the global flavour company which celebrates its 125th year as a food industry innovator, the hottest of the top 10 trends for global cuisine include a chilli obsession, as the fiery side of consumers seek out the next big chilli thrill, and Indian food is finally having its moment, breaking free of its traditional confines with modern interpretations.

The two ingredients to really make their mark include Aji Amarillo, a hot Peruvian yellow chilli with a bold, fruity flavour; and Kashmiri Masala, a blend of spices from northern India featuring cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, black pepper, cloves and ginger.

‘This year’s forecast reflects how today’s unparalleled connectivity is driving faster-than-ever adoption of new trends and tastes around the globe,’ adds McCormick executive chef, Kevan Vetter.

To mark its anniversary, McCormick has launched a Flavour of Together programme that includes insights from 125 flavour ambassadors. They’re also inviting consumers to connect with each other regarding flavour, and, for every story shared, the company will donate US$1 (up to US$1.25 million) to the non-profit organisation United Way to help feed those in need.

Focus on young talent

Presentations at the event concluded in a light-hearted discussion on generation gaps within the workplace by Marcel van Rooyen, key account manager at Sharon Bolel Chemical Marketing.

After laying out the differences between the baby-boomer, generation X and generation Y age groups that currently make up the workforce of most companies in the industry, Van Rooyen was able to show managers in the audience how the preferences and behavioural patterns of these groups can be leveraged to get the most of each employee and team.

Her presentation showed the remarkable contribution that generation Y, the age group of people born between 1990 and 2005, is expected to make in the work environment in the coming years and how a management approach of dynamically flexible working hours and people-friendly office spaces will allow this generation of employees to thrive.

Image Description: Ronelle Roberts, involved in sales and marketing at Claman and Sunelle Roux, consumer insights coordinator at McCormick South Africa.