June 9, 2015

Changing Trends – Almond Breeze Roadshow

Café Culture Consulting recently partnered with well known Australian foodservice business Freedom Foods to launch their latest Barista Almond Milk, manufactured under licence in Australia for Blue Diamond Brands. 

The product, called Almond Breeze, was launched at Fine Foods last September in Melbourne, winning best new product on show. This prompted the Blue Diamond team’s head honcho Roger Ringwood and National Account Manager for Almond Breeze, Renee Rogers of Freedom, to get their thinking caps on and get this popular product to market.

This is where the team at Café Culture International came into the scenario and set up a national roadshow, taking a team of baristas to every capital city to launch Almond Breeze directly to café owners, who would push back to their distributors to stock the milk. Café Culture, through their established networks, set up a series of latte art smackdowns, where the best barista from the hosting states came along to win the cash prizes offered on the nights and of course, the prestige of winning. This activity brought many late nights in November and December, as the barista parties raged on after the smackdowns.

The sales push was very successful, exposing the benefits of an alternative healthy milk choice for café owners and helping convince baristas that this specially designed milk would perform under the pressure of a full café espresso service. Many of the cafés put immediate orders in place once their eager customers sampled the product.

A memorable café experience in Sydney was at the Corner Café, located on a busy walkway from George Street to Central Railway Station, who is now selling eight litres a day of Almond Breeze due to the fact that the owner, Deanna Myer, has put up a sign saying she is offering this choice. Deanna knew she had issues when selling coffee to those with lactose free diets; it was affecting her coffee sales. Deanna went forward to solve this problem by creating more choice for her customers, instead of ignoring them, and offered a range of alternative milks. She struggled getting good supply of a product that would work well with her coffee, and Almond Breeze solved any quality issues. Many almond milks she tried would split when heat was applied, affecting the look and taste. The Almond Breeze acted like real milk and steamed perfectly, allowing for latte art practices.

Another good story from the Breezey team, who were having a hard time convincing the café owner to give the sample a try, was when in less than an hour later they received a phone call from the café asking for another litre, because of the immediate take up from customers. This happened more than once and proved that the café owner needs to listen to their customer base.

It was a great project as a supplier to go out and spend time with the market and get real feedback about what the industry really wants. Too many foodservice companies just drop the product and run, and feedback is rarely given and data is not collected. Freedom Foods now understands the needs of five thousand café owners, and they also have a very good concept of what the next food trends will be by working from the café floor.

Freedom Foods was very excited about the project and decided that the New Zealand market also would be assisted in undertaking a similar initiative. This led to the full resources of the New Zealand Freedom agents and Café Culture International going into full swing to deliver the same sales results in a not too dissimilar marketplace.

Almond Breeze is suitable for many dietary situations, such as vegan and lactose intolerant people who may not like the flavours of some soy milks. Almond breeze is low in sugar and calories, so many users are switching mainly for the heath benefits that the product offers. Freedom Foods is predominately a health food business and was started, and is still owned by, an Australian rural family.

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