Finding the perfect flavor: a conversation with Kerry

Wisconsin-based food science company Kerry is a world leader in taste and nutrition for the food and beverage industry. Boasting more than 900 highly skilled food scientists and nutritionists, along with teams of market researchers, they provide innovative flavor and nutrition solutions for a wide range of companies across the globe.

We recently spoke with Lauren Piek, Kerry’s Digital Marketing Specialist, to get a little more insight on what Kerry’s work is all about and how it impacts the food industry.

Q. What does Kerry do? What types of roles on your team contribute to this work?
A. Kerry began as a dairy cooperative in Ireland, committed to producing real and wholesome ingredients. As we’ve grown, we continue to provide solutions that satisfy a fundamental need: to eat, to eat well, and to be healthy. Kerry’s focus on Taste & Nutrition combines our multi-sensory aroma and texture experience with in-depth knowledge of people, life stage and daily nutritional needs. By partnering with Kerry, customers are taken on a journey to make food, beverage and pharma products that people enjoy and feel better about.

Our teams of chefs, baristas, brewers, mixologists, nutritionists and dieticians, food scientists and technologists, biochemists, engineers, regulatory affairs, sensorial science experts, flavorists, consumer insight experts and marketing experts all work together to address customer challenges and deliver solutions that consumers can feel good about.

Q. Tell us more about what you do.
A. Kerry began as a private dairy company in southwest Ireland before becoming a dairy co-operative in 1974. From there, the company has expanded throughout the globe, with the Beloit, Wisconsin location opening in 2009. Beloit is home to Kerry’s North America Technology & Innovation Center, which is the first of its kind for the company, and laid the foundation for other centers around the world, including our Global Center in Naas, Ireland.

There are nearly 700 employees at the Beloit Center – with a number of research and development labs, customer collaboration areas, and a fully equipped technical center with manufacturing equipment that replicates both Kerry’s and our customers’ production environments.

The Beloit Center is also home to Kerry’s Taste & Nutrition Discovery Center (TNDC), which includes an engagement room and discovery center, where Kerry’s teams work together with customers to brainstorm ideas for concepts, and explore the food and beverage industry through consumer insights and current trends in the marketplace. The space includes a 30-foot interactive screen where customers can explore market research and trends, and a kitchen where Kerry’s chefs can create menu offerings, test flavor options and sample concepts with customers.

Q. What are Kerry’s goals?
A. At Kerry, leading to better is at the heart of everything we do – better taste and better nutrition. We want to help our customers nourish and delight consumers around the globe, through innovative solutions and applications. We are also committed to a sustainable future with our ‘Towards 2020’ program, in which we are working on positively improving our environment, marketplace, workplace and community.

Q: Two hot topics in CPG today are clean labels and sweetening agents. Your Sensibly Sweet study addresses both issues. Can you tell us a little more about it?
A. Sensibly Sweet is a comprehensive study on consumer perception of various sweetening agents, preferences and expectations for new clean label products. We surveyed over 760 American consumers in the United States, utilizing a mix of quantitative and qualitative research techniques in an online survey. The result is a unique insight into consumer preferences of types of sweetening agents, intensity of sweetness and impact on the taste and nutrition of the product.

For more information about the study and to see the results, check out Kerry’s Sensibly Sweet white paper here.



New to Ingredient: Meet Neil Bertucci

Neil Bertucci recently joined us as our new Content Producer, helping to develop and produce recipes for our clients. He grew up in the restaurant industry and has a passion for all things food-related. We can personally attest to his cooking abilities; since he’s arrived, we’ve really enjoyed eating his delicious, creative dishes. We recently sat down with Neil to ask him a few questions and get to know him a little better.

Where did you work before? What did you do there?
Most recently, I was at Bardo Restaurant in Minneapolis. I designed the restaurant and the concept, opened it with a friend, and was the chef there until I left. I grew up in the food industry; my parents owned a restaurant and I owned my first restaurant when I was 23 in Wisconsin.

What made you interested in this job?
I had left Bardo to do freelance photography and help friends with a few restaurant concepts. I found out about this job opening at Ingredient and almost fell out of my chair. If I could design the perfect job, this would be it. I had lived in New York for a while, working for an ad agency and running a restaurant out there, trying to blend my skills. It’s crazy that I found a job that pulled it all together back here in Minneapolis.

Where did your passion for food come from?
From my family, from watching my grandmother. She was a tiny little Italian woman who had 15 kids. She would cook for her whole family, getting up at 5 AM to start rolling out pasta, to make pasta by hand for the whole family. She made insane amounts of food. She was always cooking, and for as long as I can remember, I was right next to her, helping her.

What do you hope to accomplish here?
Of course, I want to create amazing photographs and videos; but even more so, I want to push the envelope. I don’t want to just do what everyone else is doing. I want to create our own niche – to create a trend versus follow a trend. We have all the resources and tons of talent and we are already starting to do that now.

What’s your favorite recipe to make?
I love making pasta!


Food from Our Family to Yours

The holidays are all about food and family; memories of sitting around the table, spending time with loved ones and eating special dishes together. In fact, food memories are some of the most powerful memories we have, because they involve all five senses.

We love hearing about one-of-a-kind food traditions, so we asked our team to share their favorite family recipes – the ones that brought smiles to their faces and reminded them of home. We’re happy to be able to share these family recipes with you!

Tim: Traditional Norwegian Lefse

“Lefse, a potato-based Norwegian flatbread, is definitely a tradition that has been passed down in my family going way, way back. My parents got this lefse griddle as a wedding gift! I make lefse with my family every year around Christmas. I even made it for one of our company’s Monday morning meetings and everyone loved it.”

Ingredients
4 cups milk
¾ cup cream
1 stick of butter
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons sugar
3 cups potato flakes
½ cups flour

Directions
1. Heat milk, cream, butter, salt and sugar. Pour cream mixture over potato flakes. Stir until liquid is gone. Leave in bowl with a towel covering partially, cool overnight.
2. Add flour right before you roll into 2-inch lefse balls. Refrigerate as you keep rolling.
3.Using a rolling pin, roll balls on top of flour until the lefse is very thin. Move very carefully to lefse grill. Lefse may start bubbling. Once you see bubbles, flip the lefse. Coloring should only be slightly brown.

 

Stephanie: Polus Family Noodles & Tomatoes

“I know, it sounds weird. And being around our fancy food all the time, it feels like I should upgrade it. But this is how I ate it (no joke) WEEKLY growing up and so, I treasure it! It was our go-to meatless meal, usually on Wednesdays. It was super easy for either of my parents to make – it took just minutes to put together – so we could enjoy it as soon as my mom got home from work.

It’s served with cottage cheese. Salt and pepper required. We usually didn’t mix it up, but now, as an adult who works around food all the time, I might experiment with adding basil, or cooking the tomatoes in some other spices for added flavor.”

Ingredients
1 package egg noodles
1 can whole tomatoes
Salt and pepper
Cottage cheese

Directions
1. Cook the noodles according to package directions. Drain.
2. Add the tomatoes and juice from the can. Stir to combine.
3. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add cottage cheese as desired.

 

Jenny: Chocolate Whities

“These are my favorite cookies that my mom makes! These chocolate cookies are soft, rich and cakey, topped with a simple white icing – loosely based off an old Pillsbury recipe. Unfortunately, my mom let me name them when I was younger – of course that’s what a kid would name them! – and the name stuck. Tip: They’re actually better the next day. That is, if there are any left…”

Ingredients
¼ cup butter
¾ cup sugar
1 egg
6 level tablespoons cocoa
2 tablespoons oil
½ cup sour cream
1 teaspoon almond extract
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups flour

For the frosting:
1 tablespoon butter, melted
Powdered sugar
Milk
Almond extract (optional)

Directions
1. Cream butter and sugar.
2. Blend in egg, cocoa, oil, sour cream, almond extract, baking soda, salt, and flour.
3. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto greased cookie sheets.
4. Bake at 350 F for 12-15 minutes. Let cool.
5. Combine the frosting ingredients until desired consistency. Spoon over cookies and let harden.