He is also an active Twitter personality @hilzfuld.
Hillel has been ranked by various sites as one of the top online influencers in Israel across multiple industries.
He is also an active Twitter personality @hilzfuld.
Hillel has been ranked by various sites as one of the top online influencers in Israel across multiple industries.
In case you haven’t noticed, we are in the middle of a revolution, a real one, not the kind that every marketer uses to describe some new lame product. The mobile revolution, the way I see it, is parallel to the home computing revolution when the first Macintosh was introduced. Apple released it, and then the world followed and brought the personal computer to every household in the western world.
That is what is happening today, as we speak, in the world of mobile. It is still geeky to have a top of the line Android phone or even an iPhone 4S that lets you talk to it and responds with near-human language, but owning a smartphone is no longer reserved for the geeky elite.
In fact, not only are smartphones becoming mainstream, but they are already beginning to affect day to day activities that we have all done our whole lives. Things like shopping, taking photos, playing games, and even talking to our friends. It is all drastically different since the mobile revolution began.
The food industry is no different!
Here are five relatively state-of-the-art mobile technologies that have begun and will continue to affect the food industry until it is changed drastically forever:
1. Barcode Scanning
We have all seen it in movies, and depending on how geeky you are, you might even have a barcode scanner on your mobile device. However, this futuristic yet available technology will change how we shop for food forever.
If you have an iPhone or Android device, do me a favor. Pick it up and search the App Store or Market for the words Barcode Scanner. See how many results that query generates?
That is because developers realize the potential of using a smartphone, which is as, if not more, powerful than a super computer of the last decade to price a product, compare it, and even read reviews on the worldwide Web.
It is just a matter of time before you walk down the aisles of your supermarket and find every person you encounter scanning the products on the shelves using their smartphone.
NFC, or Near Field Communication, will blow you away. Right now, the pioneer of this technology is Google (no surprises there) but many experts believe it will hit the mainstream soon, possibly even in the next iPhone.
There are many possible uses for NFC, but before we get into that, what is it? Simply put, it is the next generation of wireless communication; similar to the way Bluetooth was the next Infrared. You can communicate wirelessly between two NFC devices and transfer information, files, and even payments.
Yes, you can now pay with your phone instead of a credit card using NFC, and the main provider of this feature is called Google Wallet. It is available now and many are using it in stores or even cabs in NYC.
You do not need to have a wild imagination to see how this technology will revolutionize the food industry in the coming years. Supermarkets, restaurants, and even small family businesses around the world will not need to hold a credit card machine or even a cash register for that matter. The future of mobile payments lies in small mobile accessories that have built in NFC chips and enable you to pay with your NFC-enabled mobile device. It’s going to be fun.
3. Social Photography
Well this is not a new technology per se, or at least it is not as exciting as the previous technologies, from a pure engineering perspective. It is more of a trend we are witnessing in the past few years that will continue into the foreseeable future.
If the world of mobile apps has proven anything, it has proven that people, all people, like to take pictures. Not only do they like to take pictures, but they like to edit them, spice them up, and then share them with their social graphs.
Now imagine the potential for food industry players. Instead of spending millions or billions of dollars on marketing and advertising, for which you have no way of tracking the results effectively, try creating a unique-looking dish, and let Twitter do the rest.
For example, last week, I had a pizza designed and created with the Angry Birds theme for a birthday party I organized. I tweeted the picture, posted it on Facebook, and shared it on Google+. Between the three platforms and a tweet from Rovio, the makers of Angry Birds, the picture got well over 200k views. I watched the picture go viral before my eyes, and suffice to say, the creators of the pizza, Giant Pizza, were amazed and baffled.
Given the photography capabilities of modern smartphones, the tremendous potential of the social Web, and photography apps that facilitate snapping, editing, and sharing a picture, the food industry is entering a new era. We are in an era in which good food and service can go a long way, while the opposite can have destructive consequences for food vendors around the world.
4. Targeted Mobile Advertising
While taking out a full page ad in the NY Times might reach a lot of eye balls, is there any way to know who those eyeballs belong to? Are you reaching your target audience? Are they converting into sales? Is that billboard you paid a premium price for even generating a positive ROI? Who knows?
But with Web and mobile advertising, combined with the advanced ability to target consumers based on the app or site they are currently using, the location in which they are currently consuming content from, or even the Facebook post they just shared, the ability to find, reach, and measure your audience is simple.
While the world of mobile advertising is exploding at unprecedented speeds, and the click through rates of mobile ads exceeding that of the Web, it is only a matter of time before food vendors of all types and sizes seize this opportunity to reach their audiences not on billboards, magazine ads, or even television commercials, but rather on their smartphones. As a consumer, I am not sure how I feel about this. As a marketer, I am excited.
What about using a mobile app to order food whether in a restaurant or a supermarket, scanning it for the price, and paying for it using NFC or your credit card, which is already stored in your phone for paying for apps or music? Not gonna happen, too many security issues, right? Wrong!
Apple already did it last month . With a new iPhone app, you can order yourself a new shiny iPad for example, walk into any Apple store 12 minutes later, walk right past the line, and take your iPad out of the store without ever having to talk to an Apple representative. That is not all. You can even take an iPad off of a shelf in an Apple store, scan it with your phone and walk right out.
I know what you’re thinking, “This is Apple we are talking about, but this won’t go mainstream, super markets will never adopt this technology”. Oh really? How about Walmart?
Walmart released an iPad and iPhone app last week that allows you to shop directly from the device as well.
This has already gone mainstream and who knows, maybe soon, we will never have to see the inside of a supermarket again or better yet, as soon as I enter my favorite restaurant, my food will be waiting for me at the table reserved for me, the bill will be paid, and the waiter tipped, all from an iPad. That scenario is a lot closer than you think.
There you have it and guess what? There are many more possibilities. Apps that measure your calories to facilitate an effective dieting plan, apps that help you find the best pizza or burger joint in your immediate vicinity, and many more Like I said, the mobile revolution is happening now!
What are the ingredients of store bought hummus? What is the role of canola oil and what do preservatives do? And most importantly, what are the big myths of the hummus industry and what truth lies behind them?
I will devote this post (and the one that follows) to industrial hummus. As the Food Technologist of Achla (Strauss’ hummus brand in Israel, like its Sabra brand in the U.S.), I receive many questions about various myths and rumors that involve hummus. For instance, that industrial hummus contains large quantities of corn flour, or that industrial hummus is made of 50% margarine. The time has come to share the truth about some of these myths!
I’m not going to talk about the history of hummus here, or about how other people and companies make their hummus. Strauss has years of experience making hummus and the knowledge that we have learned from this experience is, I believe, interesting. So, let’s start by taking a look at the ingredients in our hummus.
The ingredients of our hummus, by their quantity level in each pack, are: cooked chickpeas, water, tahini, canola oil, salt, ascorbic acid, garlic, preservative (potassium sorbate) and seasonings.
Before I describe each component, let me outline the preparation process. We spend several hours soaking, rinsing, cooking, and grinding the chickpeas, which we then cool and insert in a huge mixer to prepare the hummus dip. This is the phase in which all other ingredients are added (mainly seasonings). Simply and beautifully done. I can already feel my appetite building.
It is important to explain that oil is essential in creating the hummus texture. The only way to achieve the right thickness, smoothness and flavor is by using canola oil that contains high levels of unsaturated fatty acids. We can also achieve various texture qualities by adding a significant amount of tahini, but this would result in a slight bitter taste after several days of refrigeration- an after taste that children didn’t like in every tasting test they participated in. Olive oil was disqualified for industrial use because it solidifies under refrigeration. Overall, less than 6% of the entire amount of oil in hummus comes from canola oil.
We add the salt and garlic according to strict taste tests, together with ascorbic acid, which is erroneously called “lemon salt”. We use it to reach the acidity level required under industrial standards. I will keep the rest of the seasoning list to myself, if you don’t mind, because after all without this secret our hummus wouldn’t have the unique flavor that we work so hard to achieve.
As you can see, there isn’t such a difference between home-made and store-bought hummus. We try to tackle the shelf-life issue and lack of bacteria once the pack is opened in the healthiest way possible. In my next post I will continue to discuss other myths about industrial hummus as regards preservatives and percentages of fat.
Water. An element that has always intrigued the human race – it constitutes the main mass of all living creatures’ bodies and most of the earth’s surface. Human beings, just like all other living things, consume enormous amounts of water. In addition, the water purification field is a very wide field that occupies thousands of scientists and hundreds of labs worldwide.
The water purification field has been relatively successful, but there was always one significant challenge that stood between the developers and a real filtration solution. The direction of the water flow cannot be controlled in the existing filters. Therefore, the water cannot go through a full filtration process.
This never stopped human beings from consuming water, but they were always aware that the water isn’t completely filtered which can result in infections.
But then the Maze technology changed the picture.
We are happy to invite you to watch this video post which describes the Maze technology and its revolutionary elements.
One of the challenges facing us as business companies in a changing world is managing long-term relationships with consumers. Relationships that are currently being built in the Strauss Facebook community, must deliver value in diverse areas.
During the learning and work process conducted in the past year, in which the Strauss community was established and developed, we identified three areas in which we can provide value to our community members: content (tips, experts, knowledge), service (customer service including expert advice), and economic value.
I am pleased to say that from the very first moment it was clear that the economic value we provide to our community members must be both attractive and unique. It was important for us not to offer yet another coupon that surfers can find everywhere, but rather provide them with a unique, high-value and more substantial offer.
In a productive collaboration we formed with the Strauss sales division and Supersol, Israel’s largest retail chain, we managed to establish the Strauss Deal, a changing discount on various Strauss product categories.
In order for the deal to take place, it requires a minimum number of participants to join in order to redeem the coupon, and so it encourages people to introduce it to their friends. With this activity we effectively connected to the global trend of “social shopping” that facilitates discount prices just by being a part of the community.
Since its launch, Strauss Deal became very successful – thousands of consumers logged on to Facebook. We continue to examine additional collaborations in order to keep providing substantial value to our community on Facebook.
Nurit lives with Nitzan and is the mother of 18 months old Shira.
She is an MBA student at IDC and is crazy about her job. When not working, Nurit spends time playing (for the soul) and cooking (for health). She also like sewing and even has a variety of Burda at home (although she asked us not to tell anyone).
After working as head of Marcom of Microsoft Israel’s R&D center, Nurit moved to Strauss four months ago, to a new and challenging job of digital content & channel manager. She is very lucky and doesn’t like chocolate because otherwise she would have a problem.
In this blog, she aims to make the new digital world accessible to all, show how these changes impact our daily lives, and suggest how to conduct yourself in this new world.
She will try to examine new trends, revolutionary developments, and important insights.
And of course, she’ll write about our plans here at Strauss – she’d love to hear your ideas!
Doron was born in the year 1948 and works for Strauss since 1987, back in the days when Strauss and Elite were two separate companies.
Doron is in charge of the development of pastry and cereal, and he aspires to pass the knowledge he has accumulated in close to 50 years on to the next generation of pastry and candy technologists.
His confectioner training in Germany and food technology training in Berlin led to theoretical and professional experience in the fields of technology and operations. This professionalism is the foundation of his years of his work.
The innovational thinking, the curiosity, and the ambition to stick to professionalism are part of the identifying marks that contribute to original development in the organization.
These attributes, together with Doron’s talent to motivate his peers have made him the address to consultation and a never ending source of knowledge.
“Look what the Scots are eating!’” my spouse said to me one Saturday afternoon while browsing through one of her magazines. “They fry up sweet snacks in a batter!” I wasn’t as surprised as she was. During the 90′s they served a batter-fried chocolate candy at a fish and chips stall, next to the fish fingers. It didn’t take long until hundreds of stalls adopted the idea and added this product to their menu, in order to appeal to a younger audience.
With the Hanukka Holiday coming up soon, I would like to present you with a recipe I tried and tested at home. It’s made from Elite chocolate snacks fried in a beer batter. You can’t imagine how simple it is to make, and more importantly, how gooey, moist and delicious it tastes. Hundreds and thousands of backpackers in Nepal must know this recipe in various forms. Here is the Israeli version:
Two cups of flour, one teaspoon of baking powder, two eggs, a pinch of salt, two tablespoons of sugar, one cup of beer, one cup of milk, two tablespoons of oil, an assortment of chocolate candies – preferably mini-size versions.
The batter is very easily made: Place two cups of flour in a bowl and mix a teaspoon of baking powder into it. Add two whole eggs and sprinkle a pinch of salt and two tablespoons of sugar. Pour in 3/4 cup of beer, 3/4 cup of milk and two tablespoons of oil. Whisk the batter until smooth.
Important tip: It is important not to prepare a batter which is too thin, so that enough of it sticks to the snacks once we dip them in. To achieve that, don’t pour all the milk in at once, but add it gradually, stirring constantly, until you get the desired consistency.
Heat oil (preferably canola) in a deep pot until it reaches 160˚ (320 Fahrenheit). Use a kitchen thermometer or a wet wooden spoon to check to see when the oil is bubbling. Be careful not to burn the oil.
Dip the chocolate candies in the batter you prepared. The thicker you coat the candies with the batter, the better preserved the chocolate inside it will be during the frying process. Use two forks to transfer the candies into the deep oil. They will sink to the bottom of the pot at first, but will resurface within several seconds.
Fry them for 3-4 minutes until they turn light brown. Using a fork, take out the candies from the oil and put them onto a paper towel or a strainer. Before frying the next batch, using a slotted spoon, remove all the drops of dough and cream that were left floating on the oil.
Happy Holidays to you all,
The question “How did baby carrots come to the world?” was asked for a reason. Baby carrots are one of the most common snacks in the lunch boxes of American children. Yes, you read correctly: a vegetable is one of the most popular snacks among… children. So next time your children refuse to eat vegetables, you may want to ask them if they know how baby carrots came to the world.
All of us have come across an unsightly carrot, at one time or another that looks more like a mutation than a carrot. Well, did you know that these “damaged” carrots resemble the taste and crunchiness of “beautiful” carrots? This is how the story of baby carrots actually began: the “ugly duckling” that became the most desirable swan in the U.S., and is now going to conquer the world at large.
California is the capitol of American carrots. The State accounts for 70% of carrot consumption in the U.S. The enormous “depreciation” quantity of these unsightly carrots made growers lose sleep over it and lose huge amounts of money on excellent carrots that didn’t pass the “catwalk” test like their fellow garden-bed inhabitants. The damaged carrots were sold at ridiculously low prices to the animal food sector or to the beverage industry.
And then came the idea: you take the unsightly carrots, cut them into 4-5cm bits, trim the edges, peel, polish, wash and…sell them as carrot snacks on the market. Success was almost immediate: within a short period of time the depreciation quantities were no longer enough to meet demand for the new snack. Some growers abandoned classic carrot growths and moved to the special types used in the hit that drove America crazy. The average amount of carrots consumed by Americans each year increased by tens of percent.
Once baby carrots entered the snacks category (and effectively opened a new category in the market), everyone profited. Carrots reclaimed their sexy and promising position in a balanced diet, while also becoming accessible and loved as a snack.
Following are several commercials from the world that branded baby carrots as snacks for all intents and purposes:
Israelis and Europeans are also about to enjoy this ultimate snacking hit. Strauss Fresh Foods is currently inaugurating a new production plant designed to develop carrots for snacking. Under a joint venture with Kibbutz Shluchot (a large carrot exporter), we are working on the introduction of this category in Israel. In view of growing awareness of healthy, balanced, enjoyable, guilt-free food products, I am confident that our products will be successful.
I hope that you, too, are clearing a space in your refrigerator for our new rising star, the carrot, and wish all of you pleasant snacking.