Mark Duffy, Vice President and General Manager: At Spicetec Flavors & Seasonings, for us it's about purposeful passion. We take it real personally when our customers are successful because we think that if we've had one small part in that, then we've added value to their success. We take it personally in making sure our customers have a great experience because it's personal to us.
Lori Evans, Senior Director of Technical Services: We try to make it a great experience working with SFS through really dialing into the overall objective you’re trying to accomplish, not just the flavor aspect of it. For example, you might be trying to adjust multiple aspects of a food system and those all interplay together. So we work with you to accomplish all of those along with our flavors to deliver that desired eating experience for your customer.
Mark Duffy, Vice President and General Manager: When we're working with our customers, it's all about a customized approach. It's not just the custom flavors that we bring, it's really about how we listen, how we allocate resources, how we make sure that we understand their business, how we bring unique flavors to the ultimate solutions that make consumers say, "Wow, these products are great."
Joanne Ferrara, Senior Director of Research & Development: Listening to the customer, understanding what their goal is, and bringing our resources together to meet those expectations. It’s all about the customer, when the phone rings and you pick it up and they have something for you that they’re asking for help, and you’re helping to deliver on that, that is the most rewarding experience.
Lori Evans, Senior Director of Technical Services: We like to keep things simple, work smart, not make everything over-complex when it doesn’t need to be. We collaborate with you closely because we’ve found over and over that when we work closely we understand your needs more quickly and we’re more accurate with our responses. And then we try to imagine not just what your food system is today, but what it could be if we completely worked together to redesign it and rebuild it optimally.
Mark Duffy, Vice President and General Manager: We love it when our customers come visit us at our facilities because invariably, when they do that, when they have a chance to work side by side with our team and our talent and our flavorists, they walk away feeling as though it was really a personal experience, and they walk away thinking, “Wow, we've got to do business with Spicetec Flavors & Seasonings.” On behalf of all my colleagues at Spicetec Flavors & Seasonings, I'd like to invite you to our flavors facility. Come see us. Come experience what we're focused on every day, and that’s building your company's success. I look forward to your visit. I look forward to seeing you.Close Transcript
Mark Duffy, Vice President and General Manager: We love our position in the marketplace. We kind of have the entrepreneurial spirit of a boutique flavor house and yet we have the tremendous resources of a world-renowned food company in ConAgra Foods. So, for us, as we look to position our capabilities, it's really about how do we leverage that entrepreneurialism, that speed, that sense of urgency, that willingness to think differently, and complement that with resources about food safety and quality, consumer insights, resources from ConAgra Foods that helps us understand the importance of brand and reputation; and those are things that Spicetec Flavors & Seasonings® that quite frankly we do differently and better than our competition.
Lori Evans, Senior Director of Technical Services: By being part of ConAgra Foods, we understand all the aspects of the ingredients in your finished product and that it has to be successful all the way to the store shelves.
Joanne Ferrara, Senior Director of Research & Development: It’s truly an advantage to be part of ConAgra Foods. We work on many, many of the brands all the way from concept to commercialization. Healthy Choice®, Banquet®, Reddi-wip®, Fleischmann’s Margarine®, Orville Redenbacher’s® Popcorn. It gives us a full understanding of what the customer all the way to the consumer expectations are, and how we can assist it all the way through.
Mark Duffy, Vice President and General Manager: We recognize as being part of a food company how important this proprietary information is. So, when we talk with our customers, we often start off with ensuring they understand how we have firewalls built into our processes so that their confidential proprietary information is really protected, because we live that every day at ConAgra Foods, so we know how important it is.
Joanne Ferrara, Senior Director of Research and Development: For over 40 years, Spicetec Flavors & Seasonings has been responsible for servicing key-food service accounts as well as food manufacturers with the best savory flavor solutions we can deliver upon. Our key categories could be soups, sauces, gravies, side dishes, meat entrees, and also low sodium solutions.
Andrew Bosch, Manager of Technical Services: We really understand the final application. It makes a huge difference when you're developing a flavor for a customer that you know exactly what they're going to use it in.
Lori Evans, Senior Director of Technical Services: We don’t just grab a flavor off the shelf for you. We try to understand first what your application is. So for example, if you asked for a lemon flavor and we know that it’s for a lemon herb sauce to be served with chicken, we’re going to design that much differently knowing it’s a savory application than a lemon flavor that would be selected for a beverage or a candy.
Sean Craig, Senior Executive Chef: Gold-standard development is something that we develop here in the kitchen at SFS and we create from scratch ingredients. In the very end we always create the best product.
Joanne Ferrara, Senior Director of Research and Development: So the first step is the gold standard created by the chefs, tastes wonderful. Then we will evaluate with the food scientist and also the flavor chemist. And what they need to do is translate that to the commercialization process, so from the bench all the way to the factory, and we have a commercialized selling product that the customer is very happy with and can use in their finished product.
Andrew Bosch, Manager of Technical Services: At SFS, we have a lot of experience in terms of reaction chemistry and compound chemistry. And being able to use these tools in developing new flavors, customized for the customer, really helps us get there much quicker, helps us get a better product to what the customer is really looking for. Manipulating these reactions time and time again and getting the right thing for the customer really gives us an expertise at a level that I don’t think anybody else can attain at this point.
Sean Craig, Senior Executive Chef: Whether it be flavor, whether it be seasoning, or whether it be a reaction flavor, we’re able to take something from the very beginning from gold-standard scratch, create it in the labs, and then also have a product that comes out of the pilot plant that we taste and say, “Hey, you know what? This is spot on.” Here at SFS, we try to paint a full picture. Instead of just a tree that’s in the middle of the canvas, we try to create that sunrise, we try to create that dew that’s on the ground, so when it all comes together it’s a wonderful painting.
Lori Evans, Senior Director of Technical Services: So flavor delivery is about the balance of an entire flavor system, not just dropping one flavor in or out. That’s the difference in our approach. For example, if you wanted to work on Alfredo sauce and your objective was to deliver more cheese flavor, one of the things that we would ask you is if we could work a little more closely with you on that project overall, break it down, and see if you wanted to rebuild this from start, what else would you want to accomplish at the same time in addition to liberating more cheese flavor? What we often find is that when we understand your total objectives we also begin to elicit other things that you want to get accomplished, like reducing sodium by 10%, increasing the fatty mouth feel a little bit without changing the nutritional profile. By having that better understanding of your total system, we can help you deliver the right balance of flavor and overall eating experience you’re trying to achieve. One of the benefits of working with the whole system is that we can identify cost drivers up front and work to manage those throughout the process while we’re achieving the flavor profile desired.
Mark Duffy, Vice President and General Manager: We think that, when we leverage our procurement capabilities, we have great global knowledge, not only as Spicetec Flavors & Seasonings, but we also leverage the resources that ConAgra Foods and our enterprise procurement team. And, by doing that, we are very confident that we can not only manage costs, but we can also identify the right combination of unique ingredients and great flavors. So ultimately the customer benefits from our ability to leverage our strategic sourcing.
Joanne Ferrara, Senior Director of Research and Development: We come together from the concept all the way to the regulatory paperwork to make sure that we meet the customer’s expectations from a flavor standpoint, from a quality standpoint, from a regulatory standpoint, whatever it takes.
Lori Evans, Senior Director of Technical Services: Our technical services team works with you out in the field at your facility in your R&D lab in your plant to make sure we understand your process, your application, and any restrictions you might have.
Mark Duffy, Vice President and General Manager: I love the idea of house calls. We actually love to go to the customers' locations because then not only does it allow us to really understand the customers' business, but it really allows us to immerse our capabilities and our thinking process and our flavors into ultimately how we can work hand and glove with that customer on the bench so that we're creating a unique flavorful solution that consumers love.
Lori Evans, Senior Director of Technical Services: I remember once working with a customer and explaining that we were going to deliver cost savings, sodium reduction, deliver the flavor profile they desired, and do it in the timeframe requested. And they said, “It sounds like you’re promising me magic.” It’s not magic; it’s just good food science with talented people working closely together, and that’s what we do.Close Transcript