Australian Functional Ingredients – by Vic Cherikoff

Some recent NPD - not just a big cheese

Part of supplying the best authentic Australian ingredients available is my new product development (NPD) for companies wanting to gain a significant competitive edge in their market.

There’s a strategy of pre-eminence in what Cherikoff Rare Spices does in that new products introduced to market by most companies are merely more of the same. Another flavour variant, different packaging, size adjustments etc. It still leaves the product in the same competitive category.

However, with authentic Australian ingredients adding the Wow! Factor to a new product line and with the proper marketing support, the initiative takes the NPD onto a new playing field. Price is less relevant. Image is more important. Interest factor is high. Trendiness is key. How the marketing support then brings to light the unique qualities of your new line is highly strategic and crucial to the successful outcome of serious sales and getting a lot of often free publicity to push on-going exposure.

Charles Sturt University cheeses
Take Charles Sturt University cheeses for example; The product range is a great initiative for a small scale cheese factory. It started life as a limited few flavours in aged cheddar cheeses for retail sales in the supermarkets. Demand was strong and while stocks and production were expanded, young cheeses before their prime had to be sent to store. Fortunately, while the cheeses now are far more delectable than the early less mature cheeses and the range has quite a following around Australia.

The ideal situation now would be for the range to be packaged as a uniquely and distinctively Australian cheese selection and introduced into export markets. There, they would be in a class of their own with a marked competitive advantage and no price comparisons as no one else sells Australian, mature, flavour infused cheddars. Add to this the expanded range of fetta and labneh both marinated in authentic Australian herb and spice blends I developed for the cheesemaker, Barry Lilywhite and there is a category within a category.

As such, the range is able to use the image of Australia as a clean and green environment and the novelty of indigenous ingredients as the forerunners of a whole inspired cuisine to join authentic Italian, French, Chinese, Thai, Japanese and the other World cuisines. It can trade off the popularity of our wines and in fact, complement them in tastings. And promotions become easy with associative marketing in TV shows such as Dining DownunderTM or in Australian food events and demonstrations by Australian chefs.

The range becomes more than just good cheese and more Australian than other cheeses simply produced in Australia but with no other discerning national character.

Other product lines recently developed include seasoned mussels, beverages, macadamia nut, cottonseed and olive olis, breads, muffins and a beer.

So come back soon for more on these or subscribe to my RSS feed to be notified about updates.

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Vic Cherikoff