The R&D unit of our international coffee company was established ten years ago. The unit is situated in our coffee plant that is based in the city of Lod. This provides a good opportunity to shed some light on the journey we have taken over the past decade.
In its early days, the unit’s activities were focused mainly on the transfer of know-how accumulated in Israel over the previous decades to Group plants and companies in Europe and Brazil. We chose to target several fields:
Sensory professionalism in the coffee world – From the understanding that the best way to examine food/coffee products requires high sensory capabilities in the R&D unit, we found that the sensory issue is a defined discipline in the unit, and we invest numerous efforts in building and retaining a panel of professional tasters that support all development and quality activities in the international coffee company.
Developing an analytical lab. As a fast developing field in the world, many advance testing methods are based on analytical devices. In fact, the “electronic nose” at Strauss is gradually replacing tests conducted subjectively by humans, and can even project what the human nose will smell. Such devices enable us to conduct a large number of tests without fearing fatigue or external influences when forming an “opinion” on the tested coffee.
Focusing engineering and technology on finding solutions to improve yields, cut material and energy costs in the plants, and develop new products and packagings.
The fact that all these disciplines are intertwined within one unit increases their synergy and helps develop innovative products and work methods that improve the quality and life-span of our coffee products. These new capabilities enable us to take a more professional look at the competition map in the markets where we operate and provide recommendations to the market managers and technologists.
What else intrigues us? What challenges does the next decade entail?
We are already in the midst of another change, of which the initial tastes (pun intended) are already here. Firstly, we track and utilize the health benefits of various forms of coffee: over the past two years we found ourselves running clinical tests in hospitals in Israel, while also studying extensive scientific materials from around the world. Secondly, it is important for us to enter the single-serving espresso category, which is a big and interesting challenge for all of us. The espresso coffee market is growing dramatically in Israel as well as internationally, and our R&D unit is uniquely positioned at the forefront of knowledge and capabilities to support the business processes that Strauss chooses to conduct in this domain.
In my next posts you will learn more about the ways in which we accumulate knowledge, the advanced tools we use to this end, and the influence of such knowledge on the ongoing conversation we conduct with consumers: from tasting tastes through to market research and consumer-shelved product interfaces.