Processor of the Year: World on a plate
September 12, 2008
They say it pays to think big. And considering that the world’s foodservice market is valued at about $366 billion, Nestlé SA is indeed thinking big. In fact, establishing a singular global foodservice business, Nestlé Professional, was one of the food industry powerhouse’s four strategic goals last year.
This February saw Nestlé appoint 30-year company executive Jorge Sadurni to president and chief executive officer for Nestlé Professional, Americas. Working from the company’s Glendale, Calif., offices, Sadurni is responsible for a broad product portfolio that includes frozen entrees, appetizers, side dishes, soups, sauces and more - distributed throughout North America, Latin America and the Caribbean.
Sadurni articulates the change this way: “Becoming a global organization means we are bringing all the resources of being the world’s largest food company to our foodservice customers. This includes leading brands, research and technology, consumer insights, a global network of chefs and product innovation from our beverage and culinary centers,” he says. “All of these resources will be utilized as we work in partnership with foodservice operators to develop the right solutions to grow their businesses. The change in structure also means that we will be more effective and efficient cross-fertilizing from market to market the winning proposition, gaining in speed and competitiveness.”
Nestlé Professional Americas has more news to share. It expects later this fall to open a 67,000-square-foot “Nestlé Professional Customer Innovation Campus” in Solon, Ohio, to serve the entire Americas region. The facility will house several functional areas ranging from marketing and product development specialists to chefs and food science technologists.
“The Nestlé Professional Customer Innovation Campus will operate as a regional hub for foodservice collaboration, creativity and innovation,” Sadurni says. “We’ll bring our foodservice customers here to work side-by-side with our culinary and beverage teams to develop ideas, concepts, products and solutions that are right for their segment and business.”
Speaking of teamwork, Sadurni says Nestlé Professional Americas has refocused its culinary marketing experts by menu orientation, instead of brand orientation. Specialists now fall under the following areas: “Saucier” (bases, flavors, sauces, gravies, soups), “Center of the Plate” (entrees, sides, dips) and “Perimeter Menu” (appetizers, snacks, desserts).
Despite all its organizational activities, Nestlé Professional Americas has kept pace with menu trends that favor bold, on-trend flavors, ethnic cuisine and home-style foods. In the latter case, Nestlé has updated several traditional favorites with an artisan twist. For example, new Stouffer’s lasagnas include a Spinach and Goat Cheese variety, Portobello Mushroom variety and Ricotta Lasagna with Bellavitano Cheese. Also debuting this summer were Creole-Style Jambalaya and a Pomegranate Mojito Sauce. The latter item offers operators many versatile applications: a salad dressing, dipping sauce or even a dessert topping.
“We will help our customers increase the value proposition of their menu items by offering high-quality products and innovative integral business solutions,” Sadurni concludes. “In this regard, Nestlé’s transformation as the leading nutrition, health and wellness company will enable us to propose nutritionally better and more balanced products.
“This will help our customers differentiate their operation from the competition’s and will ultimately attract more patrons. Because of this, our customers’ guests will be able to see the benefits of value and innovation, not just the cost of a meal.”