‘Now is the time for people to think more critically’: Griffith Foods' ambitious growth plans

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Griffith Foods Flavour Sustainability reformulation SNACKEX

Griffith Foods is celebrating 100-plus years as a product development and service partner for some of Europe’s biggest food brands, building a reputation on its ability to optimise taste, texture and nutrition to specific ontrend requirements.

The fourth generation family-owned company continues to tell a powerful story around its growth programme, with an aim to double in size and triple its bottom line by 2027.

We caught up with Rochelle Schaetzl, VP of marketing for Griffith Foods, at Snackex.

“I'm not going to lie to you, business is tough,”​ Schaetzl told us, noting that the Ukraine conflict-led shortage of sunflower, in particular, is having a major impact on the snacks industry.

“A lot of snack products are fried, so that is creating a bit of conservatism at the moment. Business is down a little bit as a result of the overall climate, but we’ve not had massive upsets yet other than on the raw material side and obviously utilities, you know, having a massive impact as well as a result.

“But, all in all, we’ve always prided ourselves in our stability and the reliability of our service.”

Ahead of target

Griffith has impressive growth plans to 2027, pushing to be much more forceful and directive in promoting health and sustainability in the food choices that people are making.

The first part of that strategy, said Schaetzl, “is looking at the products that we provide to our customers to say, how do we transform our portfolio internally? How do we ensure everything that we're selling today is the best that it can be?”

She noted the company has also made the commitment that, by 2027, 50% of its product portfolio will meet the company’s internal health nutrition criteria and sustainability principles.

“I'm happy to say that four years away from the target date, we’re already meeting our criteria,”​ – with ‘52% of the volume of snacks we are using’ in fact – meaning that criteria has evolved and expanded.

“It’s an evolving target, but at least we are moving and are very intentional about our aspirations,”​ said Schaetzl.

Helping customers meet targets

One of the big milestones the Chicago-headquartered company achieved in the last couple of years is developing a tool to help customers reformulate in an easier way to improve the nutritional score of the products.

“It’s a big milestone for us to embed that nutritional thinking in everything we do from a formulation perspective, and for our teams to think ‘nutrition’ as opposed to thinking ‘flavour’ and then doing a nutritional tick in a box exercise.

“Another big milestone for us is obviously the innovations that we’ve launched,”​ said Schaetzl, noting Griffith has always been very strong on reactive services, but is “now much more proactively get where the gaps in the market.”

Snackex – held in Hamburg, Germany, at the beginning of July – presented a unique opportunity to showcase its capabilities across its Delicious & Nutritious culinary concepts.

Griffith Foods’ R&D division has developed prototypes that highlight strengths in creating authentic, healthy and nutritious products with bold flavours, original ingredients and beneficial front-of-package claims.

Such as Infuso, a customisable flavoured oil that delivers on taste in a single step process with clean label benefits and a wealth of options for controlling bold flavour profiles. Another is Sodium Flex, designed to reduce salt content on non-fried snacks without compromising the taste experience. It lands B on Nutri-Score and is HFSS-compliant.

The company’s ‘Made with Natural Ingredient’ seasonings grade C on Nutri-Score and tick the sustainability box, with full traceability in the formulation. On the nut side, its powder-based vegetable coating systems are high in fibre, and it hasn’t left out the more complex consumer lifestyle choices, with a vegan cheeze seasoning, along with an Indian BBQ seasoning.

When times are tough

“Despite the external conditions that are perhaps gloomy at the moment, I am still very optimistic about all the opportunities that we have,”​ said Schaetzl.

“And I do believe that when times are tough, the tough get going and now is the time for people to think more critically about what they’re working on, how they’re working on things, what they are bringing to market and why.

“The ‘flippancy’ that we sometimes used to see – with lots of long LTOs and trial and error launches – has been replaced with more solid, strategic thinking.

“And I believe the industry is still in a very good place despite the toughness of the climate outside.”

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