Despite the growing number of dietary requests among consumers, dairy products are more popular than ever, and major suppliers are working hard to keep up with demand, both in terms of ensuring consistency of supply and in developing new variants to meet the changing needs of the marketplace.
“More than ever, chefs, restaurateurs and foodservice professionals are looking for natural products which have low food miles and are derived from sustainable resources,” says Fonterra corporate chef Peter Wright.
“Dairy products fit into all these categories and they offer positive nutrition benefits as well.”
Fonterra’s approach to dairy product innovation is to design products for specific foodservice channels ranging from pizza making establishments, pubs and clubs to cafes, restaurants and catering. It’s a strategy that has seen the development of a variety of products, including Perfect Italiano Ultra Mozzarella, which is specifically designed to perform in high temperature ovens, and Anchor Extra Yield Cooking Cream, which chefs can work with at high temperatures over extended period. Fonterra’s Anchor Butter Sheets have been designed with bakeries in mind to give consistently better and easier lamination, while Anchor Burger Cheese Slices have a vibrant orange colour to complement the growing trend for American style burgers.
Fonterra director of foodservice Jeff Dhu says Fonterra’s approach to product innovation is to identify gaps in the market and develop products to meet the needs of foodservice professionals and consumers.
“We are passionate about food quality and recognise that foodservice professionals rely on us to provide products which deliver in the key areas of performance, consistency, presentation and flavour,” he says.
“That’s why we work closely with our end-user customers to understand their needs, and with our product development team to develop innovative solutions that meet these needs. For example the case of Anchor Extra Yield Cooking Cream, where we identified a need for a high-yield cream that is heat and acid stable as well as pre-reduced – it’s about recognising where there is a gap in the market, and then coming up with a product which ticks all the boxes while still delivering the quality and presentation that the end-user requires.”
While new product development is a core focus for Fonterra, Dhu says core products like butter continue to be in high demand.
“There is nothing better than butter for delivering taste, texture and mouthfeel in a range of sweet and savoury dishes,” he says.
With so many products and suppliers to choose from, Dhu says brand and supplier reputation becomes increasingly important in influencing the professionals’ decision to purchase.
“Because dairy products so often provide the foundation of recipes, consistency is terribly important to ensure that your dishes meet customer expectations – so chefs and cooks purchase dairy brands that they are familiar with and have grown to trust,” he says.
“We focus on delivering the best in dairy from grass to glass and complement this with our sales and marketing team to ensure we understand customers’ needs and consistently deliver trusted business solutions to help grow their businesses.”