Sustainable Growth Requires Innovation…and Food That Tastes Good!

Published on: November 28, 2012

“Generating significant and sustainable growth will likely require an emphasis on innovations that capture the imagination of consumers, possibly in terms of new flavors, preparation methods, nutritional benefits, etc.”“Chefs have to find that right balance that makes their new products exciting,” says Allan Kliger, President and CEO of Victory’s Kitchen, a Toronto-based custom manufacturer of frozen and fresh foods. “You want something new that can draw interest, but at the same time you don’t want consumers to say, ‘What the blazes is that?’ It should be new and compelling, but still familiar.” [I actually used some more “colorful” language, shall we say, when interviewed for the article].

Kliger, whose company has had success as a niche manufacturer, says that some of the trouble in frozen entrees comes from food “that tastes like it comes out of a food plant.

“The way to do it is to not put crap in your products. The ingredient deck needs to have real ingredients in it. If you have good, fresh ingredients, you can make food that people really want to eat.”

Ethnic flavors long have been a staple of frozen meals, but expect that trend to continue as the U.S. population diversifies. With flat sales, you can expect manufacturers to use innovation to try and attract more consumers.

Victory’s Kitchen launched a Mexican mole sauce earlier this year. The dark, tangy chocolate-based sauce is more commonly found in Mexican restaurants than grocery freezers, but it taps into two hot food trends – Hispanic flavors and gourmet tastes as seen on cooking shows.

“I think you’re going to see strong growth in these peripherals,” Kliger says, “We’re seeing a lot of spinoffs, in the marinades and the sauces that help you create something unique at home.”

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