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What is the “Free-From” Food Movement?

If you or a loved one have food allergies or sensitivities, then chances are you are somewhat familiar with “free-from” food, which is food that is lacking in a certain ingredient. Free-from food has been around for years to help accommodate those with intolerances, making it that much easier for them to find foods that won’t put their health at risk.

Now, however, free-from foods are more popular than ever, as people without medical needs are also searching out and consuming these kinds of products. What is driving this free-from food movement? Let’s take a closer look.

What is “Free-From” Food?

Before we get further into the movement itself, let’s clarify what is typically meant by “free-from” food. This is an umbrella term that refers to the absence of a particular ingredient in food, like “peanut-free”, and the preparation of food, such as GMO-free. Some other common examples include:

  • Sugar-free
  • Gluten-free
  • Fat-free
  • No additives
  • No preservatives
  • Egg-free

What is Driving the Free-From Food Movement?

There are several things that may be contributing to the free-from food movement, such as the demand for more natural foods, food as a status symbol, and the improvements in taste.

Increased Interest in Natural Foods

Free-from food encompasses foods that are lacking in colour, texture, and flavour enhancers, which are often the result of artificial ingredients. Now, there are natural additives out there, like citric acid for example, but some people consider any kind of additive to be unhealthy or at the very least undesirable in their food. Therefore, any kind of food that is labelled as additive-free may be seen as more natural than others, appealing to those who are trying their best to make more natural food choices.

Celebrity Influence

There are certain celebrities and wellness influencers who insist that free-from foods are some of the healthiest options out there, even if you don’t have any food intolerances or allergies. Those who admire and want to be like these famous people may decide to join in on this free-from food movement to demonstrate that they too are trendy and modern when it comes to making food choices. 

A lot of celebrities also follow certain diets to look the way that they do, so their followers may try to eat the same types of foods to emulate their looks. Some of these influencers’ claims aren’t always entirely accurate, of course, but the power of celebrity can sometimes outweigh a lack of scientific data.

Improvements in Taste and Texture

The effects of an increased interest in natural foods and celebrity influence may not be nearly as prominent if not for the fact that free-from foods have generally come a long way in terms of taste and texture. Some people still associate free-from food with an undesirable or complete lack of flavour or texture, but the truth is there have been marked improvements in both categories throughout the years. The fact that a free-from food label doesn’t automatically turn a lot of consumers off these days has been essential to the free-from food movement, as there is no good reason to not at least give it a try anymore.

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7 Essential Purchasing Practices for Food Companies

Purchasing practices for food companies can have everything to do with the quality of the final product. We’ll look at what to keep in mind and why a food industry consultant can help you instil better metrics without overspending.

1. Check Your Suppliers

Do you really trust the suppliers you’re using? Food companies rely on suppliers for healthy, quality products, so this relationship is critical to your organization. Everything from communication to oversight on the production line needs to be spot on. If you’re constantly worried that shipments will be delayed or delivered with the wrong ingredients, it’s a sign you need to change vendors.

2. Compare Cost and Quality

There’s usually a middle ground here. You don’t want to go too low or you’ll likely compromise the quality. Of course, going too high can quickly price people out of the market. A food industry consultant can show you how to find the best deals by thinking outside the box.

3. Find Out for Yourself

Before you sign anything, you should be visiting operations, verifying equipment, investigating reputation, etc. The more you know, the easier it will be to feel confident about moving forward. This information can also be vital in a negotiation procedure. Always set any terms you agree to in writing so there’s no confusion in the future.

4. Have a Replenishment Strategy

When you’re ready to replace your stock, you need to have a clear procedure in place. Everyone should know how new orders will come in, when they’re going to ship, and how they’ll arrive. There is a lot of room for confusion here, so it all needs to be spelled out here.

5. Streamline Your Relationships

Decision makers at food companies might be inclined to branch out in terms of suppliers. This is a great way to save money, but the reality is that it can cost you more in terms of time and paperwork than you realize. Relying more on one or two suppliers can make it easier for everyone and still wind up being a cost-effective solution.

6. Be Respectful of Your Suppliers

Supplier relationships go both ways. The more communicative you are and the more you look for the win-wins in every scenario, the more positive interactions you’re likely to have. When you have consistent suppliers, you have consistent products (which is ultimately what any customer is looking for).

7. Consider Technology

Technology is changing quickly in food product tracking. If you’re working with suppliers who aren’t willing to update their processes, it could easily hold you back. A food industry consultant can tell you more about how enterprise software is improving a variety of processes and how you can incorporate this into your daily operations.

Implementing Better Practices with a Food Industry Consultant

The Greater Goods was founded to give you a clearer picture of how to grow your bottom line. Our clients look to us to ensure that they’re operating as efficiently as possible, so they’re prepared for whichever direction the industry pivots. The right food industry consultant can do wonders to double-check your current practices and adjust them when necessary. Contact us today if you’re interested in learning more about how we can help.

Why Consumers Should Read Ingredient Lists

Are you trying to make healthier choices when it comes to the food you eat? If so, you should be carefully reading the ingredient lists before filling up your cart with so-called “healthy” foods. A lot of people think that they know a healthy food when they see it, but unless it’s something like a whole piece of fruit or vegetable, this, unfortunately, isn’t always the case.

Luckily, don’t have to be a nutritionist to get something out of an ingredient list – you just need to do it! If you need more convincing as to why you should be more closely examining your food choices, keep reading for some of the most important reasons why consumers should be reading ingredient lists.

The Front of the Box Can Be Misleading

The front of a box, can, or package of food may give you a general idea of what’s inside, but it really doesn’t tell you any specifics. For example, a container of yogurt may claim to be “high in protein”, which sounds good, but what else does it contain? 

You may be surprised by the amount of added sugar, sodium, and other preservatives and additives that may make up some of your favorite “healthy” foods. Because of this, it’s best to think of the label as more of a marketing advertisement than an honest representation of the food inside.

The Nutrition Facts Aren’t That Helpful

Do you know that little panel on a food’s packaging that includes information such as carbohydrate and protein content, and any included vitamins and minerals? These nutritional facts do give you some idea of whether you’re getting any kind of health benefits from your food, but they certainly don’t provide the whole picture.

The real question is, what is the source of these nutrients? If something is touted as high in protein, for example, it’s important to still look for the source of the protein. There are plenty of ingredients out there that are high in protein but are otherwise bad for your health, so it’s important to be mindful of the difference between healthy and unhealthy sources.

It’s Not the Responsibility of Food Manufacturers to Keep You Healthy

Keep in mind that the number one priority of most food manufacturers is to sell food, not to keep you healthy. A lot of people are becoming more health-conscious these days, and manufacturers are responding by doing whatever they can to make their products seem healthier. 

The keyword there is seem. They will find the one potentially healthy nutrient in their food and run with it, downplaying, or outright ignoring, any of the unhealthy ingredients that may make up the bulk of their product. It may seem sneaky, but ultimately, it’s not their responsibility to ensure people are making healthy choices.

That is why it’s so important to look at ingredient lists and take an active role in your own health. The information is there – you just need to read it!

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Leveraging Technology to Stay Up-To-Date with Food Industry Trends

With margins slim and competition fierce, you understand the importance of staying ahead of the competition as a food company. And food startup consulting firms tend to agree that keeping informed about food technology trends is one of the best ways to achieve this.

If you have to work harder (or pay more) than the competition to achieve a similar product, you’ll struggle to compete. Food industry technology can level the playing field and help even small-time food startups more quickly gain market share, maintain market agility, grow a successful food business.

This article will discuss two key areas you can leverage technology to outmaneuver and outperform the competition.

Labour Technology

This is a hot topic in 2021 when so many companies struggle to maintain adequate staffing and those who come into work every day feel overwhelmed because they have to carry more than their fair share. This phenomenon isn’t completely new, as a 2018 Deloitte Report estimated that 4.6 million industrial positions will go unfilled in the next ten years.

Labour technology can provide some solutions here. Many established companies are still relying on outdated legacy systems, and many think they’re saving money by running their systems until their last leg. But the truth is, modern technology can significantly improve workforce efficiency, allowing fewer employees to do more with less. The right technology pays for itself.

Technology such as the Food industry-specific enterprise resource management tool (ERP) can address labour shortages by:

  • Tearing down silos, so people feel connected
  • Showing people how what they do directly impacts the company’s mission and goals (That’s critically important for attracting and retaining Millennial workers.)
  • Reducing frustrating miscommunication or communication delays that lead to bottlenecks and missed quotas.
  • Automating monotonous tasks while reducing error
  • Providing useful reports and analytics to leadership to continually improve conditions, safety, productivity, and perceptions

Trade Technology

As the world markets open up, even food startups have their sites set on expanding to international markets and may start planning for that eventuality now. Even if you see a two year or more horizon for this move, food startup consulting would often recommend that you start planning for this now and determining the trading technology you’ll need to tackle the unique challenges of global market expansion like:

  • Keeping up with regulations and tariff changes in different countries
  • Market and exchange rate volatility
  • Country trends and cultural differences driving food-buying decisions

Here, technology can help as well:

  • Track vendor performance
  • Manage accounts payable across borders
  • Automatically update the tools and resources employees use as regulations and trends change
  • Quickly identify changes in buying, ingredient costs, warehousing, logistics through real-time reporting, analytics, and useful business intelligence, so you can make data-driven decisions.

How Food Startup Consulting Benefits Your Food Business

A food consulting company can help you identify the technologies that deliver the most value to you and your customers. We can help you evaluate new markets and enhance product development to stay ahead of consumer food trends. Our unsurpassed sourcing knowledge can ensure you’re getting the best price on the highest quality food ingredients. To learn more about food technology and consulting, we encourage you to book a free consultation.

How to Find the Right Product Manufacturer for Your Keto Food Brand

The Keto food market is experiencing increased growth. And that’s not surprising considering that so more people are now discovering the lifestyle and health benefits of the high-fat, low-carb diet.

But Keto food startups need to carefully choose the right product manufacturer when launching an innovative Keto product. That’s because the manufacturer can mean the difference between turning a great product idea into a successful business and a complete flop. 

Before you take the leap and sign your first contract, here are some tips and considerations that can help you find the right product manufacturer for your Keto food brand. 

Knowledge and Experience

The right product manufacturer would be one with sufficient knowledge and plenty of experience tucked under their belt when it comes to the low-carb market.

It is usually helpful to check out some of the best manufacturers used by competing Keto food brands, as these will have lots of experience in producing high-fat, low-carb products.

Certifications and Ratings

Make sure to choose a manufacturing firm with all the relevant certifications. But earning certifications is one thing; being able to satisfy clients is another. 

For this reason, it is a good practice to always look up manufacturers on popular B2B platforms to read reviews and see their ratings before signing a contract. If possible, reach out to past clients and ask for both positive and negative feedback.

Track Record

It is not out of place to find new manufacturing firms that outperform some old hands. However, before signing a contract with any manufacturer, it is important to research how long they have been in business. 

Remember to find out the number of successful contracts the manufacturer has executed. This will give you a good idea of their track record and help you decide whether they are reliable enough to handle your food business.

Necessary Connections

The hassles of searching for different consultants for the various stages of your Keto product can be exhausting. Thankfully, you can cut this down by choosing a manufacturer that has a robust professional network. 

For one, the right manufacturer should be able to recommend or link you up with a qualified food chemist with up-to-date permits and all the necessary licenses. 

Reputation

Lastly, you want to choose a manufacturer with an above-average reputation, industry experience, and fair labor practices. 

A manufacturer that checks all of the above boxes will not only help you produce high-quality Keto products but also guarantee customer satisfaction. 

Ignoring these considerations, perhaps to cut costs, can lead to glitches in the manufacturing process. And that’s a quick way to lose customer loyalty. 

The Next Step

The Greater Goods is a top-notch food business consultant focused on helping startups thrive. We take pride in guiding young companies to finding the perfect manufacturers for their businesses, sourcing the right ingredients at the best price points, developing brand concepts, and more.

Book a free consultation today, and together, we will explore the various options that will enable you to find the perfect fit for your business.