Bbq sauce used to be simple – sweet, a touch smoky and the perfect accompaniment with chicken, beef or even lamb. But consumers are increasingly wanting more choice. And with more choice comes a need to expand the range of flavours with a new twist.
Newly Weds Foods marketing services manager, Vivienne Stein, said people still want those traditional flavours, but they like having a more refined version.
“American BBQ flavours are trending. We’ve seen a lot of products with different types of BBQ flavours,” she said.
“In the past it’s been very general with the sweet or smoky BBQ. Now it’s becoming more specific with flavours such as Memphis BBQ and Texas BBQ,” said Stein.
Newly Weds Foods makes customised ingredient creations for food manufacturers.
The food ingredient supplier develops new seasonings, coatings and crumbs to help companies expand their product range. “We look in the market place and show customers what is becoming popular,” she said.
There are two main ways to start the development process, Stein said.
The first is having the customer come to Newly Weds with an idea for a new flavour.
The second is Newly Weds suggesting flavours to customers, which suit their needs and help grow their business.
“We are offering flavour advice in terms of research. We have a lot of research available to us because we are part of an international company. We have access to a couple of databases, including Mintel,” said Stein.
These databases help Newly Weds determine what is trending in the food market, which the company can then use to make the best flavour range for its customers.
“They look to us for what they can be doing differently. They are being more inventive,” she said.
Sharing ideas globally
Because of its international footprint, Newly Weds’ different teams can help out with different products.
“In terms of the Asian flavours, our American counterparts are looking to us,” said Stein.
For BBQ flavours, the Australian-based manufacturer can bounce ideas off the US-based branches to make the perfect American BBQ seasonings.
The company has 26 manufacturing facilities worldwide, with its head office based in Chicago.
Newly Weds Foods flavour developer Thidawan Sa-Uram said the Sydney-based team gets samples sent from America.
“We look at what the unique profile is from each BBQ. We have done lots of testing and evaluation,” she said.
Consumers are wanting variety.
“Now, we can’t just call something a chilli sauce. It has to be chipotle chilli or another combination,” said Sa-Uram.
Creating seasonings for customers was more than just presenting the customer with a new flavour, she said.
“It’s not only presenting the products that taste good. We need to communicate with the customer to make sure it runs successfully in the company.”
Sa-Uram and her team make sure the seasonings run smoothly on customers’ production lines. If it doesn’t work for them, Newly Weds will adapt the recipes and modify the flavours to suit the customer.
Adapting to customers’ needs
Newly Weds also changes flavours in its seasoning to best suit the product it will be matched with. Stein said some flavours didn’t work with some proteins.
“We present slightly different flavours to our red meat producers than to our chicken producers,” she said.
Products can also be customised to ensure they fit with the customers’ vegetarian and vegan products, as these are becoming more popular, said Stein.
“We really have to build that into our flavours to make sure it’s not going to cause any problems to the claims they are making. Consumers are much more knowledgeable. People are becoming interested in trying meat-alternatives,” she said.
“It might not just be a specific flavour to give them the market advantage. It’s the functional factor too – such as not adding artificial flavours,” said Stein. “If our customers have got something they are requiring, we will help.”
With meat alternatives and more distinct flavours trending in Australia and internationally, food manufacturers are looking for new ideas.