So, you’ve been in negotiations with wholesale buyers for months. They say they love your products, but you can’t get them to place that first order and start carrying your line. You know that if they took a chance on you, your products would fly off the shelves, but you don’t know how to get them to take that leap…

It’s time for Retail Ready, an online course specifically designed to help amazing producers land and grow amazing wholesale accounts.

Enrollment is now open! Check out the Details here: http://www.alliball.com/retailready

Retail Ready will run again from February 20, 2017 to March 17, 2017.

Get A $100 dollar discount by using the code SCIENCE at checkout! 

For producers looking to understand the behind the scenes of wholesale, gain clarity on what a Buyer thinks through as they consider new product lines for their shelves, finally decide if they’re ready for adding a broker or distributor, and confidently outline their steps for growth in 2017, Retail Ready is here for you.

After completing Retail Ready, you will:

  • Finally have a business plan that came together easily, without blood, sweat and tears, and guides you in decision making for your business
  • Have a clear game plan on how to increase your wholesale accounts- outlining what to focus on first, and how to make the right choices the first time around
  • Have Buyers knocking on your door, asking to bring in your product line
  • Get wholesale accounts to say “Yes!” to carrying your products after the very first interaction- no more back and forth for weeks, wondering when they’ll bring in your brand
  • Understand what makes killer marketing material- shelf talkers, promotional material and a sell sheet- and be proud when you see them on the shelf
  • Articulate and leverage what makes your product stand out on the shelf & finally gain understanding on who is actually buying your product… plus how to use that information to gain more sales
  • Happily make sales calls and pitch to new accounts, knowing that you sound polished & confident as you talk about your brand
  • Understand whether adding a broker or distribution is the right choice for you in your current stage of business – so that you continue to grow and start making money
  • Totally feel comfortable negotiating wholesale costs with Buyers, and have a clear picture of how much you’re actually making in your business
  • Have other food producers contacting you, asking “How did you do it?” as they see you gain more and more wholesale accounts

This four week, live online course runs from Feb 20 – March 17 and is uniquely positioned to help you rapidly assess, understand & grow your food business through homework assignments, conference calls, a private online group, and unlimited email support.

Join Food Industry Consultant and former Bi-Rite Market Grocery Buyer Allison Ball this winter to take your business to the next level.

Get A $100 dollar discount by using the code SCIENCE at checkout! 


“It’s his evident cult of personality that’s most chilling. Tetrick used anti-Big Food, pro-animal rights rhetoric to whip his employees and brand ambassadors into a fervor, and the technique was so successful his shady schemes often went unquestioned.” The New Food Economy 9.23.2016

There has been lots of talk about Hampton Creek, buyback programs and other shenanigans! But as a food scientist I have a few obvious thoughts to point out:

Why was everyone so impressed with the following:

• Vegan spread made from oil and modified food starch and flavorings

• Cookies made from sugar, flour and oil

• Salad dressing made from oil, vinegar, xanthan gum and other commonly used hydrocolloids

These are all common stock food items that have been made by food scientists and mommy bloggers alike across the universe. There is nothing unique, special or new-scientific about these products. The famous pea protein that Josh and his team said was such a game changer- has nothing to do with their functionality- it all comes from the sugar, processed white flour, xanthan gum and modified food starch—ingredients that are seen as “unclean” in this day and age.

Investors: Stop being fooled by start-up entrepreneurs who don’t know a thing about food science or how to develop food products. Just because a 30 something year old hoodie wearing kid tells you that he is going to save all the chickens, doesn’t mean that they know how to actually do it!

Do your homework- crosscheck with real food scientists and stop believing the hype!

Yours Truly,

Rachel Zemser, Food Scientist (BS, MS, CCS, CFS)

Tomato Powd
Who said freeze dried fruit powders, foams and sodium alginate balls in fine dining is dead—?! Oops I may have said it a few years ago but clearly I was just thrown off by too much local bay area farm to table natural, untouched and unprocessed farmers market locally grown meals. This years World of Flavors conference reminded me of how much fun food can be and how chefs, especially chefs from Spain, should really have PhD’s in food science with all the research they have done to perfect their freeze dried tomato powder discs with olive caviar sodium alginate balls—AKA “Tomato Polvoron and Arbequina Caviaroli”

I had the amazing opportunity to eat at El Bulli back in 2011, right before it closed. At the time I had mixed feelings about the powders foams and gels on my plate- on the one hand I felt resentful that chefs were getting all the praise just because they were using food science ingredients that had been invented and discovered by the great food scientists of 100 years ago but on the other hand I was in awe of all the artistic food creations that could be made that the food scientist never explored because we were too busy trying to make sure that our salad dressing with xanthan looked as normal as possible in the supermarket. The chefs are artists when it comes to using industrial ingredients to create meals and food scientists are just very dry and practical about the whole thing.

The last few years the farm to table, free range, knowing the origin of the food theme has permeated the bay area like our thick fog! Most dinners are delicious but as Sara Deseran noted in her talk during the “San Francisco A City In Discovery” general session, that elite San Franciscans don’t like their food “messed with”- They like it as natural and recognizable as possible and ideally with no wasted stems, leaves or snouts left behind (that’s gets tossed into the special salad of the day!) I have to say, eating out over the past few years has not been anywhere near as exciting as it was back in the early 2000’s when I would eat tomato salads with ice cream vinaigrette dressing at Coi and edible paper at Moto (Chicago). If I want to eat a plate of beautiful sliced heirloom tomatoes, I may as well pick them up myself at the local farmers market! The Natural food movement is tasty but…well.. it’s kinda boring. How long can we talk about the life that our chicken had, before it ended up on the plate.

But my experience at World of Flavors reminded me just how fun the early 00’s were, and I was amazed at the creativity of chefs Oriol Castro, Eduard Xatruch and Mateu Casanas and the demonstrations we saw based on the dishes from the restaurant “Disfrutar” (to enjoy) in Barcelona. These chefs used to work in the El Bulli kitchen and have the right skill, creativity and imagination to create dishes that are a beautiful blend of natural and non-existent in nature- at the same time. For example, how about that dish where they melted down gelatin and then reformed it into penne pasta—and then covered it in sauce and served the clear glassy penne with a creamy sauce. (for a more visual experience watch the video on the CIA livestream here)
How come I didn’t think of that—! Because molecular gastronomy, as it is incorrectly called, should really be called the artistic, creative fun and completely not productive uses of functional industrial food ingredients. Exactly the opposite of what food scientists do with those very same ingredients.

I was also very excited to see that exotic freeze dried ingredients on display—being sold in packages to chefs—but not the unexciting freeze dried peas and corn that we find in our instant cup of soup. Companies are now selling half slices of passion fruit and cherry tomatoes. Freeze drying is experiencing a brand new wave of existence in the U.S. with the recent introduction of the Harvest Right Freeze Dryer- chefs and soccer moms can make their own freeze dried foods at home.

If you didn’t make the conference this year, you should check out all the video footage that is available, for free from the CIA website. Starting with this 3-minute highlight of the show—you can almost experience the entire show from beginning to end thanks to Rich’s Food and Unilever Food Solutions—the very generous sponsors!

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Cricket Dumplings on the Menu RETHINK FOOD!

Last month was the yearly Rethink Food Conference held in November at the CIA (Culinary Institute of America) in St. Helena, CA. The conference addressed what, how and why we cook and eat the way we do—and what we will be doing (or need to be doing) in the future to improve our lives, our land and the animals that we eat.

Seminars and breakout sessions were a bit all over the place, making it difficult for a food scientist like me to pull it all together. Some topics like “Foods of Tomorrow” had presenters discussing sea vegetables, crickets and fermented foods which I could relate to as future protein sources, future under consumed ingredients that we can start eating—but other seminars like The Flavor Learning Curve, while interesting, didn’t seem to really fit the program and maybe belongs in one of the CIA’s other more creative culinary science conferences.

The speakers came from all areas of the food industry and included Kirsten Tobey, the founder of Revolution Foods, Sara Burnett, director of Wellness and food policy at Panera bread as well as local bay area chefs including Stuart Brioza (State Bird Provisions) and Courtney Burns (Bar Tartine). The wide array of professional food industry backgrounds all came together as each speaker shared their views on why we mistrust technology, robots cooking our food, and how food companies need to be more “transparent” in order to regain consumer trust. Preservation methods of the past are now being revisited in bay area restaurants as a way to be more sustainable (and healthy).

Some seminars were logical and I could see the connection between what was being said and what can and will be done- like the introduction of crickets as a protein source is a reality that we are already experiencing with companies like EXO selling their cricket bars—but other topics were still “far out there” like “Visions of the Future” that discussed how technology will shape how we interact with our foods.

The attendees were just as diverse as the speakers. Key players from McDonalds were there- as well as Google team members, chefs, and Ideo (one of the major sponsors), Coca Cola, and Chipotle Grill. Yes– the big chain companies are interested in making a difference!

An interactive group ideation session that was organized by IDEO allowed us to get into groups and brainstorm questions together while writing them on sticky notes—and using those ideas to come up with hypothetical finished technology concepts. A machine that analyzes what you eat and tells you its time to stop, or more biodegradable and edible packaging—(edible spoons made out of Sorghum). The video with all the team ideas can be watched online on the conference live stream: http://livestream.com/CIAlive/reThinkFood2015

This conference hit a lot of different angles and gave me (the food scientist) much to think about. Trying to understand the role of the food scientist in this changing landscape is challenging. The food scientist is usually just an executor of whatever the marketing and CEO dictates—as well as being a pillar for quality and safety- we rarely get a say in the bigger picture decisions and are mostly part of the execution. This conference served as an introduction to bigger topics that will affect how developers create and bring new food products to market.

 

 

 

 

 

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