Over the years, McCormick has been uncovering trends and ingredients that spark inspiration for everyone to cook and serve food that will bring people together.
"McCormick has always been in constant search for what is next in flavor. We leverage our global presence," said Chef Johan Movido.
With this in mind, the brand hosted a webinar called Together, We Flavor last September 2, 2021.
The event aimed to help food business owners thrive as they steer their food business to safety. And there was no lack of food innovations and business strategies shared by top chefs and business experts at the one-day seminar.
Chef Johan Movido and Chef Tenten Casasola of McCormick Philippines opened the webinar by introducing the four highlights of its 21st Edition Flavor Forecast.
Plants Pushing Boundaries
Plant-based dishes are now becoming a part of the main dish instead of the side dish. Vegetables such as hearts of palm, cactus, and lobster mushrooms bring a hearty texture to indulgent plant-based meals. Charred vegetables, particularly when used in sauces, give dishes a darker color and a rich flavor and aroma.
The key to this evolving theme is the use of natural plant-derived ingredients, such as ube for color to attract foodies "to eat with their eyes."
Inspired by the word nosh, meaning to nibble on, this trend is about food that people have found comfort and nourishment in while satisfying cravings from around the world.
Featured flavors and ingredients for this trend are chaat masala and lemon, fried crisped chilies, and pandan kaya.
Underwater, under discovered
There is so much under the sea that adds creativity, flavor, and color to every dish. Chef Tenten Casasola shared, "The deep blue sea offers limitless potential when it comes to ingredient innovation. Sustainable and nutritious, seaweed is already having a moment in the spotlight. Saltwater and sea botanicals are just a few of these wonders reinventing snacks, seasonings, and cocktails. It is time to tap into this unexplored flavor potential."
Chef Tenten also shared dishes that use underwater botanicals, such as Seaweed Pesto with Sea Salt Shrimp over Pasta, and miso soup made into seaweed ice cream.
Physiological eating means eating intentionally, but still providing a balance that is beneficial for the body and mind.
This trend focuses on eating in harmony with individuals, flavoring for balance, and acknowledging the symbiotic balance between senses and seasons. The ayurvedic practice also falls in this category as balancing the six tastes results in great mind and body satisfaction.
The key flavors to this trend are coriander, lemon, sea salt, cumin, turmeric, and ginger which gives warming and cooling techniques to help provide comfort to the body.
To learn more about McCormick's 21st Edition Flavor Forecast, visit this link.
Culinary educator and entrepreneur Chef RV Manabat shared his insights and strategies on staying competitive while exploring food innovations that are cost-efficient and appealing to the market.
"For you to remain competitive, you have to make the right decisions at the right time," said Chef RV.
He also shared his experience in keeping his café open for take-out and delivery, improving their ordering system and packaging in the process, and making sure that the products come from a safe and organized environment.
He added new products on their menu that was inspired by quarantine food trends. Just like the Ube Pandesal trend last year which inspired them to create Ube Spanish Bread and Ube Cheese Croissant.
In introducing food products, he reiterated that it is important to consider classic favorites, comforting flavors, soul food, and indicating ingredients used in the food products, as well as its health benefits to give transparency to the customers.
As food deliveries become more and more the norm, Chef Carlo Miguel brought up how to maintain food quality when your product hits the road.
"Delivery is very challenging. For traditional restaurants, this might be easier because they know what to expect. For cloud-based restaurants, this can be a lot more challenging. Through all the changes in the food and beverage industry in the last couple of years, customers are still looking for a quality product at a reasonable price, served in a timely manner," Chef Carlo Miguel shared.
According to Chef Carlo, to ensure food quality in deliveries, it is important to use quality products. Being aware of the optimal shelf life of the product is also another tip. Packaging should be tested to prevent soggy food from being delivered to customers, something Chef Carlo himself has experienced.
Presentation in deliveries should be prepared in the same care as the plating done for dine-in restaurants.
In a very saturated online market, standing out is integral. To help food SMEs, business entrepreneur Miko David shared practical strategies in marketing their brand online.
David said that PR is very important in the food business. "It is very important that no matter what you do, the promotions that you do, people must talk about it because that is a real driver of attention. You have to really work on PR."
In going online, SME owners should know what people want by using available tools like Google Keyword Planner or Google Trends to determine what products are popular in an area.
In creating the right content, he has these suggestions:
1. Highlight the food – show texture and quality. Through a good presentation, customers can see how delicious the food is.
2. Highlight the price – let customers know about the price so that they can decide easily.
3. Highlight reviews and ratings – customers always want to know if the food is good, which is why sharing all the good reviews of your product should be part of your social media plan.
4. Highlight the process of ordering – food business owners should make ordering as easy as possible. Quick responses are also crucial to secure the sale.
Run multiple ad types. If the business offers different products, there should also be a variety of ads, as it is efficient in engaging potential customers. Use practical tools, like photo and video editing apps, and go full force on the creativity to make your online presence known.
Chef Angelo Comsti also shared tips that will help food business owners sustain their business after the current health situation.
1. Let technology help – because of the current situation, turning to social media and other websites to promote products has become the standard in running a food business.
2. Restudy your market – reevaluating your target market helps in widening your audience.
As Chef Angelo said, "Go for a wider audience. Expand your customer base. It can be done simply by offering more value to your product by going as far as lowering your prices to accommodate the tight budget of the market. Remember, the customer will not adjust to you. With the growing number of players in the arena, they can easily go to another."
3. Adjust your menu – learn how to focus on the bestsellers and adjust it to address the cravings of people. Keep in mind that customers want to be comforted when trying new products.
4. Invest in marketing – constantly reminding people of your presence is a must, especially because there are a lot of competitors.
5. Coach your staff – supporting your people results in good productivity. Training staff before letting them do their work makes them aware of how the business operations work.
Meanwhile, Chef Mikel Zaguirre opened up a discussion on shifting to brick and mortar after things return to normal. This is especially helpful to cloud kitchens that have opened within the past year, have adapted to all the challenges, and is now considering setting up a physical store.
To attain this, Chef Mikel shared that business owners should set their goals determined by time. Knowing the goal, timeline, and resources of the business helps in putting everything in perspective. Figuring out the end goal also means knowing the type of store – whether it is a franchise, a concept store, or a delivery point.
Furthermore, owners should treat the brick-and-mortar business as a separate entity from their online business.
"You have to have separate books to keep track of expenses from your online store and brick and mortar. Separate marketing plans. Promoting an online store is different from promoting your brick-and-mortar store. Separate customer acquisition. Separate strategies. Having a brick and mortar has a lot more responsibilities. Realize that what might have worked in your online store may not necessarily work in the brick and mortar," he added.
As a few parting tips, Chef Mikel talked about how location is one of the deciding factors of a successful business, and the target market, data, and rent are all considered in looking for a good location. Finally, the rent should not go beyond 20% of the sales.
Packed with flavorful trends to watch out for and practical tips from industry experts, the Together, We Flavor webinar has hoped to bridge the gap between food innovations and business strategies with all these discussions. McCormick hopes that these suggestions can help aid food business owners in thriving and innovating amidst challenging times.
Visit McCormick's official store in Lazada and Shopee. For more information on McCormick Culinary Philippines, visit its Facebook page.
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