Making sure that ‘Great Taste’ is never lost

August 3, 2017

The Great Taste awards, described as the ‘Oscars’ of the food world are organised by the Guild of Fine Food.

They are the acknowledged benchmark for fine food and drink, and when a consumer sees the Great Taste logo on an item it is a sign that they will be buying a great tasting product.

This year (2017) Food and drink producers entered 12,300 products with 4,347 earning 3, 2 and 1 star ratings of which 444 originated from Ireland.

Overall just 165 products earned a 3 Star rating and 1,011 a 2 star rating with Irish products well represented in both of these categories.

PatWhelan, james Whelan Butchers - Great Taste Awards

The Golden Forks (the big winners) will be announced at a celebration dinner at the International Park Lane Hotel, London on the 4 September.

Great Taste, values taste above all else, with no regard for branding or packaging. Whether it is gin, biscuits, sausages or coffee being judged, all products are removed from their packaging, wrapper, jar, box or bottle before being tasted. Furthermore the judges have no idea the price that these products normally retail at.

It’s all about the taste!

The judges then savour, confer and re-taste to decide which products are worthy of a 1, 2, or 3 star award.

As you can imagine the judging panel is very illustrious and this year it included; chef, food writer and author, Gill Meller, MasterChef judge and restaurant critic, Charles Campion, author and Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen chef, Zoe Adjonyoh, baker, Tom Herbert, and food writer and baking columnist, Martha Collison, as well as food buyers from Fortnum & Mason, Selfridges, and Harvey Nichols.

These esteemed palates have together tasted and re-judged the 3-star winners and will finally agree on the 2017 Top 50 Foods, which will be announced in August, with the Golden Fork Trophy winners and the Great Taste 2017 Supreme Champion unveiled on the 4th September.

Just Taste!

Judging the food and drink products on their taste seems very fair and as you would expect – the packaging and branding is removed so that the judges are able to experience the products in their pure, true state, without any interference or bias.

Sunnes Stores - Sticky Toffee Pudding

When do we ever, truly taste anything?

The minute that award winning cake goes into a wrapper, it changes the taste for the consumer.

  • Once we see the packaging, the colours, the type of paper and the visuals, it changes the taste.
  • Once we see the brand name, it changes the taste.
  • Once we read where the product is made and we see the ingredients, it changes the taste.
  • Once the product is placed in a retail outlet, it changes the taste.
  • Once we see where it is placed in the store, it changes the taste.
  • Once we see some POS and the product displayed on a promotional stand, it changes the taste.
  • Once a price is put on the product, it changes the taste.
  • When the product is on special offer, it changes the taste.
  • When a well dressed sampling person invites you to taste a thumbnail of the product, it changes the taste.
  • When we see that the brand is endorsed by a well known personality, it changes the taste.
  • When we see adverts for the product in a newspaper, it changes the taste.
  • When we see adverts for the product in a glossy magazine, it changes the taste
  • When a respected food journalist tells you the product is superb, it changes the taste.
  • When we open the pack at home and we are in a great mood, it changes the taste.

Today’s consumer is influenced by everything they see, hear and taste. We are also influenced by a lifetime of experiences, good and bad, by our peers and we all carry with us a lorry load of biases.

With great products our job and the job of everyone else in the chain that brings the product to the consumer, is to make sure that person can actually ‘taste’ the product.

The Great Taste Awards and that big round logo that you will see on products will also help!

Congratulations to two of our clients, James Whelan Butchers and Simply Better by Dunnes Stores who scooped up Great Taste Awards, once again this year.

James Whelan Butchers are Great Taste 3-star winners with their Pork Lard, a natural and clear lard made from slowly rendered back fat, with a “fabulous long lasting and clean pork flavour” – it’s all about taste!

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full-service agency that offers Marketing, PR and Branding  services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

You look good!

July 31, 2017

I’ve just received a connection request from a person on LinkedIn.

I don’t recognise the person’s name and they describe themselves as being the General Manager of a company.

On the face of it, maybe a good person to connect with?

But….

..the person’s profile pic (not that young) is a selfie of them wearing shades and a baseball cap, pictured alongside another person. They are clearly having fun at some event and in their eternal wisdom have decided that this pic was a good one to use for their profile.

I am fascinated by LinkedIn and must admit that most users seem to have figured it out, and are quite good at putting their best foot forward.

However, I am still seeing oodles of accounts with typos, all lower case for their name, no description of what they do and really poorly chosen photos – holding a pint at a function does not make a great business photo!

LinkedIn is your personal, business website – it’s not Facebook!

Think carefully about the image you choose for yourself (and those in your team) as we all tend to judge each other by how we look.

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion Communications offer Social Media Consultancy and Training from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

Did you hear the one about the “Kerry” man?

July 24, 2017

Kerry

Did you hear the one about the ‘Kerry’ man?” was the joke that we heard often years ago.

We don’t hear that joke being told too much these days and maybe, that’s because “Kerry” has become worthy of respect for so many reasons including prowess on the sporting field, the most beautiful of places, links golf courses, fantastic hospitality, success in business with huge companies such as Kerry Group and FEXCO and even politicians that should never be underestimated!

There is something very special about Kerry and this is recognised in Ireland and internationally.

There is something so special about ‘Kerry’ that a huge legal dispute has been rumbling for the last few years between the food giants, Kerry Group and Ornua.

Kerry Group introduced their Kerrymaid butter product into the Spanish market a few years back and Ornua, the makers of Kerrygold have legally challenged their right to do so.

While this case is complex it looks like Kerry Group have won this battle (according to the European Court of Justice) as:

  • both have been selling in the EU already, for quite a while alongside each other (in Ireland and the UK) and
  • the word ‘Kerry’ is okay to use as it is an indication of geographical origin as long as this is true and honest

I read the legal jargon about the case and there are many subtleties to each of these points but this was the gist of it (please read the case in detail if this is an important issue for you).

Kerry!

In a way this opens up a huge can of worms for both of these brands as it implies that if you are in Kerry and you produce a product then you can use the word ‘Kerry’ as part of the name.

Kerry is obviously a fantastic brand right now with many positive attributes – there are no right or wrong answers here as the brand attributes are what each of us believes them to be.

When I think of Kerry I think of positive things such as nature, beauty, the coast, agriculture, hospitality, quality, sport, literature, music, business success, resilience but I also do think of negative things such as poor roads, too many American tourists, cute politicians and a few rough towns.

This is my version of  ‘Kerry’ but for others it will be quite different and we all carry things in our heads that make up what the brand is for us.

If Kerry suffered from a major incident such as a gigantic oil spill that contaminated the whole coastline then maybe the use of the name on products may not be as positive as it is today – while this is hard to imagine, having your brand attached to name that is largely out of your control could be risky.

Kerry – is it good for the butter?

While Kerrygold is a very successful brand, is it because it carries the name ‘Kerry’ or is it because it is a great product with great packaging and marketed really well? – I’m sure all of these elements contribute to the success.

Kerrygold and KerrymaidIn the case of the ‘butter wars’ I suspect that one part of the argument is about the ability to use the word ‘Kerry’ as it borrows all of the positive attributes of the place but for others who may not be as familiar with the place, a different argument could be that they are borrowing the positive attributes of the other product.

Would the Spanish know enough about the Kerry region to now the attributes of the location?

The Reverse Argument

In this particular case one could make a strong case against any company being able to use the name of a place in their brand and not actually producing it in that location – is this an even more serious issue for another day?

Place of Origin Branding

When we incorporate the name of a place in our brand or company name, we do automatically benefit from the positive attributes but, most importantly, if we are to use that place name, we also have a responsibility to uphold that name and not damage it in any way.

Did you hear the one about the Kerryman who thought he could sell his butter in Spain – he was right!  

If you need to chat about your brand, give us a call!

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full-service agency that offers Branding  services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

Dancing trees and perfect evenings..

July 17, 2017

This was a perfect night – friends came over, we enjoyed good food and good wine.

We cooked, we chatted, we shared our stories and we laughed together – about what?..I forget

The trees in our neighbours garden caught my attention as they were swaying from side to side in the evening breeze, dancing elegantly, moving to their own rhythm. They seemed to be having their own great night.

I sat and relaxed and did my best to soak up everything that was going on around me on this gorgeous summer’s night – it’s not the South of France but it is Ballincollig in Cork and it is my garden and it is absolutely perfect.

Of course there are a million things going on in my life and in the world and of course all of these things are much bigger than what was going on in my back garden, but those trees were dancing and I was happy.

Right here, right now – It’s all just perfect …

#WinHappy

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full-service agency that offers Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Some eggs are gold

July 11, 2017

Golden opportunity

Do you serve any eggs?” my buddy asked

Were they even serving food I wondered at this stage? It was 3:30 in the afternoon but he was starving and needed something before he hopped in the car to drive to Dublin.

I had recommended the place so I hoped he would be looked after.

The waitress in the bar/restaurant assured us that the kitchen was still open and handed us the menu.

We can’t do eggs, you can only order from the menu” she explained.

Oh no I thought – here was a golden opportunity for the outlet to shine, go on grab it.

My buddy glanced through the menu and I reckon for dietary reasons he didn’t want to order anything that was on offer.

I suggested that he ordered a steak sandwich – he didn’t want the fries that came with it so he asked could he get the steak sandwich with an egg?

No sorry, you can only order what’s on the menu” she emphasised again.

Hmmm, the place was really quiet. There was a chef on duty – how difficult could it be to put on an egg to go with the steak?

It was clear that there was no flexibility so the steak sandwich was ordered. It duly arrived with the chips that he didn’t want, which he pushed towards me to eat – they were really tasty and he scoffed down his steak sambo.

What was so difficult about doing an egg?

– were there no eggs in the kitchen?
– is the chef only able to make what’s on the menu?
– is there no button on the till to handle a deviation from the menu?
– was any deviation just too much for the staff to handle?
– could the team that were working that day just not care
– was there a fear that if you actually gave the customer what they wanted, they could be asking for anything next??!!

Whatever the motivation for the lack of flexibility the result was really poor for the outlet.

My buddy won’t be back there and while I like the place I won’t be back there in a hurry either as my recommendation left me a little red faced.

A simple egg and the outlet would have had two happy customers.

That was a very costly egg…

Are you rigid with your product and service offering to the extent that it is costing you customers?

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full-service agency that offers Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

The Great ‘Dog’ Welcome

July 3, 2017

Honey and Bert

I never thought that I would ever feel this way.

I just don’t get it” I would quite openly say to others.

Maybe it’s because we never had them when we growing up so I never had the chance to properly understand what other people were feeling, maybe I was just different?

Maybe I’m just not a dog person” I would hear myself say.

A dog person!

That sounds weird, but you know what I mean.

After a days work we pull up outside the house. They recognise the sound from our car so we listen out for their barks – they know it’s us and they always bark.

The barking gets louder and louder while they wait impatiently for us to come in (sorry dear neighbours!).

We open the front door, walk through the house and into the kitchen and go to the sliding glass door to the back garden.

They are both there looking in, hardly able to contain their excitement.

Little Bert just leaps up and down continuously as he waits for the door to open.

Shy, delicate Honey (she was mistreated before she came into our lives so is still very nervous) stands behind him trying to decide between rushing in and hiding.

We slide open the door and bang!!

Bert just rushes past us into the hallway, into the front room – he runs back and forth, up the stairs, back down again. He does this over and over at breakneck speed until his excitement eventually calms down a notch. He runs to you and shoots off again .

Eventually the little Princess will come in on her own terms.

When we are away in Dublin for a few days the excitement is even greater when we come home.

I’m writing this as we are on the way home after 11 days away – I can’t wait for the special welcoming committee and that overwhelming feeling that they give us unconditionally.

A dog person..

How could you not be, once you have experienced their love in your life?

Greg 

Expressing what you think of others..

July 3, 2017

Trump

Sometimes when you make your feelings known about others it can end up saying even more about you than it does about them:

Trump tweets

Be careful what you say online..

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full-service agency that offers Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

Happy New 172!

July 2, 2017

Mad Men new car, Cadillac

So it’s the beginning of Part Two of 2017.

Maybe, like the car registration system we can now have two starts to the year?

If you think about it the idea of breaking the year into two parts was a really clever one. In previous years there was a huge buzz about the start of the year.

We all wanted a new car but once you had gone past April you probably started to think that it may be worth waiting until the next year as ’17’ was starting to age a little – you definitely did not want to buy something in the latter part of the year.

How about we make it ‘171’ and ‘172’ and get two bites of the cherry?

Great thinking by the motoring sector!

Maybe you can start the second part of your year with all of the buzz, vigour and great intentions that you had on your first day back at work this year?

So, what are you going to do with your ‘172’ ?

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full-service agency that offers Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Doubters to Believers

June 28, 2017

Jurgen Klopp - Doubters and Believers

When Jurgen Klopp took over as manager of Liverpool FC in October 2015 he made a huge statement to the worldwide fan base through the media with a simple message:

We have to change from doubters to believers

Jurgen is clever, he quickly picked up on the mood at this famous, previously successful club and he knew that very often it is strangled by the quick loss of faith by the fans if something doesn’t go the team’s way on the pitch during a game.

The fans groan “same old story“, “we’ll throw this one away“, “that fella’s useless” ..when that negativity creeps in it spreads like a virus and before you know it everyone is a doubter.

Fans stop cheering, fans leave early, players get nervous, they choke, fans stop attending, the team starts losing, corporates stop entertaining clients at games, sponsors move on, the best players at the club want to leave and others don’t want to come to the club, success gets further and further away.

Jurgen understood this and from the beginning he sent messages to fans in his press conferences, in the match programmes and during the games he encourages them (by gesturing frantically!) to support and scolds them for not doing so – at a match that wasn’t going according to plan at the very beginning of his reign he scolded the fans who left early in his post message press conference – you can play your vital part in the success of this team.

We are all like Jurgen with the teams that work with us, with our customers (or clients if we are being posh) with those who we would like to be customers and all other stakeholders.

We have to change them from Doubters to Believers.

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full-service agency that offers Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

Back to life

June 20, 2017

Back to Life

….another holiday done.

This time it was with Dee and a gang of family and friends who went to Arezzo in Tuscany in Italy for their very tribal Jousting Festival – if you haven’t been, then check it out as it is a very special ritual that happens twice every summer in the city.

For the most part the whole of our gang stayed together in an Agri Tourism holiday farm development in the country about 15 miles from the city.

We lounged by the pool, we walked in the soaring heat into the local town of Subbiano for the cheapest fresh bread, rolls, prosciutto, cheese and fruit, we enjoyed our coffees and delicious pastries, we joked about how it was impossible to break 5 Euros (it was incredibly cheap everywhere!), we went to a vineyard, we had meals out, we drove to the wonderful Sienna and we sat about day and night sharing beer, great wine, delicious food, endless chit chat and lots of laughter.

Dee and I also spent two days at the beginning of the holiday by ourselves in the beautiful city of Verona, the home of Romeo and Juliet and many superb restaurants.

And now it’s all done, I’m sitting in the temporary boarding lounge at Bergamo Airpost as we make our journey “back to life“, ordinary life, until the next time.

I did manage to unwind a little, I stayed on top of work by keeping an eye on emails each day and I did really enjoy the time with friends and loved ones. 11 days is never enough time to properly relax but you have to make the most of your downtime.

So …normal life waits, the sun is shining in Ireland thankfully, I’m looking forward to seeing the two dogs, Honey and Bert, I’m looking forward to catching up with friends, mum and dad, I’m looking forward to seeing my work buddies and then there is the work itself.

Work – that thing that I seem to spend most of my life on, that thing that seems to give me a sense of purpose, that thing that definitely consumes me.

People talk about Work/Life/Balance and this is mostly measured by how much time you spend working and how much time you have for other things.

For me it all depends on what the “W” looks like – if it’s a grind, providing no satisfaction, then a minute spent working is a minute too much.

I love what I do as we have carefully created something very special, that is interesting, rewarding and challenging. I do know however that you have to have downtime, so that it stays interesting, rewarding and challenging and you are able to apply yourself to it fresh, with energy and enjoyment.

I run that battery down a little too much so I do need to be careful, which is my big post-holiday resolution to myself.

So, back to life?

I’m lucky, It’s a good life..

#WinHappy

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full-service agency that offers Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland