Chr Hansen brings innovation to Eastern Europe

Related tags Chr hansen Eastern europe Europe

Chr Hansen's vice president explains why the group is launching an
innovative and highly unusual marketing campaign across Eastern
Europe, and tells us what he hopes to learn from the experience.
Anthony Fletcher reports.

Indeed, the trip, entitled the 'Magical Sensory Tour,' is certainly not what could be described as an ordinary promotional event. Danish ingredients giant Chr Hansen intends to send a team of employees through nine Eastern European countries, including Ukraine, Romania and Croatia, using a 50 square metre mobile show room in order to gain access and share knowledge with as wide a range of people as possible.

The tour kicks off in Prague on 10th March, and is due to finish in Poland on 19th April. And as with many innovative ideas, it grew from a very simple premise.

"It all started from a breakfast table in Kiev, when a few of us were discussing this market and all the fantastic opportunities available,"​ said Jan Boeg Hansen. "The thing was, how do we get these guys in Eastern Europe to see all the opportunities that are available to them?"

Hansen points out that many creative people do not get the opportunity to go to the major international trade events, and that in any case, it is difficult to truly communicate your company's vision at many of these shows. The Chr Hansen team in Kiev then discussed the best means of bringing the company's potential to the customer, and thought about the Beatles' song the Magical Mystery Tour - from here it was a short conceptual leap to the development of Chr Hansen's very own Magical Sensory Tour.

The company hopes that the trip will achieve a number of objectives. For a start, it should help Chr Hansen see first-hand the opportunities available in the region. Indeed Eastern Europe, along with Africa and the Middle East, holds the best market potential for flavour producers, according to a recent market report from the UK's IAL Consultants.

According to the report, strong growth can be expected in many parts of Eastern Europe. Soft drinks based on fruit juices, for example, are a relatively new innovation while functional foods and drinks continue to draw interest. Strong demand for canned foods - which tend to contain more flavours - is likely to continue in some less developed regions of Eastern Europe that have yet to see a strong infrastructure for fresh food supplies.

"And all these countries are different,"​ said Hansen. "In each market, there is something unique. So we'll be looking and asking ourselves what consumers will be spending their money on in the future."

The tour is therefore an innovative means by which Chr Hansen can market its products and vision, and also see first hand the opportunities available. But there is another aspect to the tour, which reveals Chr Hansen's enthusiasm for the global food industry. As Hansen explains, the tour has been designed to show food manufacturers in these regions just what is possible with a little imagination.

By being in all these places and meeting manufacturers and retailers, Chr Hansen hopes to be in a position to facilitate local innovation.

"We have local representation in these regions,"​ said Hansen. "But with this tour, we can take innovation from around the world and put it at their disposal. This is not about cultural export, but about showing the opportunities available - these countries have enough national pride to develop their own ideas."

Indeed, creativity and imagination are very much the cornerstones of the Magical Sensory Tour. Hansen says he'd like Chr Hansen to be seen as a company that is known for selling concepts and delivering products, and the trip should hopefully do much to enhance this reputation. Above all, Hansen expects the tour to be fun. "We're helping to develop a new black-coloured yoghurt in Poland at the moment,"​ said Hansen. "OK, it's probably never going to catch, but this is fun! I love to show crazy ideas; I want people to walk away from this tour thinking: 'Wow. I didn't know that was possible.'"

For more details about Chr Hansen's sensory tour click here

Related topics Processing & packaging

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