Sunday, February 20, 2005

Chefs, manufacturers and foodies - a reality check

A lot of my clients run restaurants, cook interesting food at home or manufacture products which people eat or drink to enjoy or use to add to their well-being. I have clients here in Australia and overseas and I was only thinking about them and my business this morning. You might like to share some of my insights, deliberation and strategy and apply the same analysis to your own situation.

What do I uniquely offer my end-users - chefs, manufacturers and foodies? What do I offer that no-one else can?

I add serious value to my clients by taking commodity offerings (everyday food, ordinary menus, pedestrian products) and introducing a unique, innovative, interesting Australian twist. A chef could serve a steak with mushroom sauce or they could value add it to a Wildfire crusted beef fillet with mushrooms enhanced with Wattleseed, forest anise and munthari berries. A manufacturer could make the Wildfire crusted steak or the exotic and delicious mushroom sauce. I know which dish I'd prefer to eat and which products I'd rather buy.

We all eat. Some of us, more than others and a few of us appreciate new flavours and the concept of wild, healthy foods which really contribute to our well-being. So I know that I do have a market as I know my ingredients are absolutely delicious, versatile to use - loaded with culinary and nutritional benefits.

I also know that I can appeal to my clients who emotionally recognise the marketing importance of not selling commodities where all you can compete on is price or availability.

There is no doubt that any chef, manufacturer or home cook who uses my flavours in the way I suggest or use ingredients I specially make for them, will also add value for their client base.

Sure. The end product still needs to be presented in an appealing way and through outlets where their clients shop. Shelves (real or virtual) need to be stocked or menus well described. But the market exists and can be reached economically.

My ingredients have the differentiation we all look for in following the next trend or looking to new flavours or just something different from what we had last week. My wife Clare, once described the authentic Australian ingredients I have commercialised as being for chefs and manufacturers, what a whole new set of colours would be to an artist.

Isn't that spot on? You don't even have to be a Rembrandt or Picasso to recognise the value in having more 'colours', particularly when the collection can be bundled in a whole new categories of Australian food, beverages, cosmaceuticals or nutraceuticals.

Then there's the consideration of who is behind this new wave of ingredients. Are they ethical, honest, hard-working at the same time as visionary, creative and forward thinking? Every industry has its parasites and the native Australian food industry is no exception but I know my contribution as leader and hope to continue in this role.

If I consider my 'business DNA', I see the new, original, innovative, purpose-developed array of ingredients which I have created and which keep me out there as market leader. It's just a reality check but worth doing if you analyse your own activities in your business, as a cook or chef or in whatever it is that you do.

The next check I came to was frugality. Was there waste in the systems, operations or even communications? Well there's some waste in the interest payments on loans but I reckon that otherwise, I run a really tight ship.

And lastly, the passion. It only takes a single match or spark to start an inferno but to keep it roaring you need fuel, heat and oxygen. A growing list of clients are my fuel, my passion to see these amazing ingredients world reknown could be the heat and the oxygen might be the vision and the faith that the light at the end of the tunnel is not an on-coming train.


If you are a chef wanting to make your mark through the food you serve.

If you are a home cook who likes to explore the world through the flavours you discover and eat for good health and long life as well.

Or if you are a manufacturer who needs to move off the 'level' playing field of competitive products and saturated markets and wants to make your next new product development a success.

Visit my website to discover more. Drop in to my virtual store and get a few items and be sure to grab a copy of my new Dining Downunder cookbook or manufacturers; get in touch with me (particularly bakery suppliers, ice creameries and biotechs) and join me up front as we pioneer these ingredients into world food markets.

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