Insight with Santa Maria Foodservice

20/10/2015 - 11:30
Lunch Business speaks with Eimear Owens, country sales manager UK & Ireland, Santa Maria Foodservice.

What are currently the challenges and main drivers for your business?

As well as operating in a highly competitive marketplace, in general, there is a lack of knowledge and understanding of herbs and spices – they’re often just seen as a commodity, so price can be a customer’s main focus.

Through our innovative product range, insight driven concepts and expertise in spices, we’re committed to showing how important taste, flavour and quality is to consumers. We’re very much end-user focused and like to work in partnership with our clients to give them a point of difference and help accelerate their businesses.

What advice are you offering your customers?

Flexitarianism and healthy eating continue to be big trends , with customers wanting meat-free menu options and wholesome food that still delivers on taste. 

Spices can play a key role here for operators, ensuring menus are varied and packed full of the adventurous flavours consumers are now seeking. Our Age Cohort Report shows that 32% of people like spicy food more now than they did three years ago, with 37% of people citing their preference for bolder flavours .

Consumers are increasingly demanding quality food that offers good value for money - almost 1 in 2 (47%) go to a restaurant for the food taste and quality . With so much choice and competition on the high street, you need to focus on delivering quality, great tasting food that represents value for money to ensure customer satisfaction and loyalty, as well as giving consumers a personalised experience by offering customisation options on menus.

What are your best sellers in food on the go?

Our Street Food report revealed that wraps, burritos and sandwiches (22%)  top the list of popular street food choices, placing handheld snacks as a firm favourite with consumers. Street food and handheld snacks are predominantly purchased by a younger audience – Millennials (18-34 year olds) – and more popular among young males . Our World-To-Go concept, inspired by street food, features ten sauces and a range of easy recipes, so you can quickly create appealing snacks with flavours from around the world.

With 81% of consumers choosing to eat street food for lunch , offering street food specials at lunchtime can help attract new customers. It’s easy to give diners the choice of cuisines and flavours they want by simply introducing a different street food inspired snack every day. With a simple change of seasoning or sauce you can update your menu quickly and cost-effectively to tap into the demand for Mexican hand-held snacks, like burritos, the most popular street food cuisine .

What menu trends do you see emerging? Where do you get your inspiration for NPD?

Spicier flavours on menus, street food driving product development and the growth of breakfast out of home. BBQ is also a huge trend right now that’s set to get bigger. The consumer demand for Southern American flavours is perfectly met with our new Santa Maria American Cajun.

Healthy eating and premium burgers will also continue to appeal to consumers – they’re expected to be the fastest growing trends over the next 3-5 years (43% and 29%, respectively).

We have a team of chefs and passionate foodies that travel the world to research spices and flavourings and seek out the very best ingredients. They use the tastes and aromas they experience, along with insight gained, to develop exciting new spice blends and products for our customers.

What are your aspirations for the next 12 months?

To continue working with our clients to help them serve great tasting, good value food for their customers, while helping them future proof and grow their businesses.

By sharing our research, insights and expertise, as well as continually innovating with concepts and products that meet the demands and needs of consumers, we can offer our clients unrivalled added value to help them stay ahead of the competition.

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