While on a recent break in Majorca, I spent some time wandering the aisles of the supermarkets. It’s a popular pastime for us Engineers, with products coming back to Beaconsfield from all over the world. A handful of products I saw there stood out for their innovation, so here’s a rundown.
First on the table is a premium beer from Spanish brewery S.A. Damm. Estrella Damm Inedit is a unique blend specifically created to complement ‘the most exquisite and challenging foods’. Positioned under the Estrella Damm pilsener brand, the beer was developed by the brewery in conjunction with chefs Ferran Adrià and Juli Soler, and sommeliers Ferran Centelles and David Seijas.
Estrella Damm Inedit: designed to accompany fine food
Blending lager and wheat beer styles, the brew retails in 750ml bottles and is intended to be served with food containing citrus, oils, bitter notes or oily textures – so think salads, asparagus, fish and cheese.
The makers recommend serving in white wine glasses, while the bottle should be kept in a wine cooler during the meal.
Each of the distinctive dark, low-key bottles is presented with a removable neck tag of background information, including serving suggestions and history.
While Estrella Damm Inedit isn’t the first beer to adopt a premium positioning to compete with dinner wines, it’s a lovely example of a local brand supported by a clear, simple proposition, product and marketing.
Next up is DIY salad dressing, courtesy of specialist Spanish vinegar producer J.R. Sabater under its Merry brand. Sabater products are normally sold in half-litre bottles or larger, making them less than convenient for desk lunches, picnics and less formal meal occasions. Merry’s answer is a handy pack of extra-virgin olive oil, gourmet wine vinegar and salt.
Merry's DIY salad dressings to go
The pack contains five individual sachets of each ingredient, neatly sealed for convenience. Simple instructions suggest sprinkling the salt over the salad, followed by the vinegar and olive oil. Thus seasoned to taste, the result is a no-mess, no-fuss dressing. For those who prefer their dressings more complex, of course, there’s always the option to keep the ingredients separate – hardboiled egg dipped in salt, anyone?
Merry’s new pack is another illustration of the way in which food producers are tapping into people’s well documented desire to add an element of customisation to their consumption. By providing high-quality products in a DIY format, Merry offers a tailormade experience to suit the tastes of its audiences.
The final example is somewhat more prosaic – a new variant in the successful Président dairy brand. Président Snacking is the latest pack introduction from the brand best known in the UK for its wheels of brie and camembert. Introduced in Spain and the US, the new pack contains 180g. of brie in the form of a tube or ‘log’, specifically designed for easy serving in roundels.
President Snacking uses format and pack design to establish clear usage occasions
The thing that caught my eye wasn’t so much the format as the positioning. The US and Spanish packs are designed to tap into the different habits of consumers in those countries – so that the Spanish pack positions the product as perfectly designed for serving as hot and cold tapas. In contrast, the US design focuses on dinner party-style cheese and crackers.
It’s a neat example of an established product proposition tailored to suit varying audiences with the help of packaging and marketing, and goes to prove once again that innovation needn’t be restricted to high-investment, long-term projects.
So there we are: three more additions to The Value Engineers kitchen. We’ll keep you posted on the success of a forthcoming brie-beer-and-salad tasting session…