Ventura Foods provides high-quality ingredients and food products to both restaurants and grocery stores across the United States and Canada. Whether selling directly to consumers or supplying restaurants with salad dressings, condiments, and other foodstuffs, Ventura Foods is committed to delighting customers with delicious products made from the best ingredients available. Ventura prides itself on delivering the depth of flavor that sets the best restaurants apart in a competitive market.
Serving distinct customer bases across two business models
Although selling to the food industry is Ventura Foods’ bread and butter, the company cannot ignore the importance of the consumer’s voice to its business model. At the end of the day, diners and patrons determine which products are best sellers. If customers don’t enjoy how a certain dish tastes, restaurants will stop buying those ingredients from Ventura Foods. The same basic sentiment holds true for the company’s retail operations as well. As such, every Ventura Foods offering needs to continually meet customer tastes and keep up with shifting preferences in flavor.
Customer insights provide the secret sauce to success
In 2017, Ventura Foods created a plan to reinvigorate its business partnerships by serving up deep customer insights that no other company could deliver. That same year, the company launched its customer insight community, appropriately named Table Talk. Aimed at research and development teams and culinary stakeholders, the panel served as a way to share consumer feedback and input to key decision-makers and guide product development to meet customer preferences. Platform adoption surged right off the bat, thanks to the combination of consumer insights and market analysis.
Through Table Talk, Ventura Foods can validate strategic decision-making, whether launching a new product or suggesting new ways for restaurants to incorporate its foodstuffs into menu items. Every action and recommendation is driven by consumer insights, de-risking those decisions and adding even more value to the company’s business partnerships. With other foodservice providers unable to offer such a distinct differentiator, the choice to work with Ventura Foods becomes clear.
As Ventura Foods has leaned on its insight community more and more over the past few years, the company continues to steadily refine its recruitment and engagement strategies to bring new users on board and get them excited right from the start. For instance, Table Talk’s “Chef’s Tips” section provides helpful advice to home cooks, directly from culinary experts. Nutritional guidance, kitchen hacks, and can’t-miss recipes are all available for insight group members to explore. This content has been wildly popular with the community, generating tons of comments and an overwhelmingly positive response.
Table Talk has proven to be instrumental in charting a successful course through the pandemic, giving Ventura Foods the data-driven insights needed to make smart decisions in difficult times. But the company has big plans for the program even after the crisis subsides. Ventura Foods sees a bright future for the restaurant industry, and with a more intimate understanding of what customers want, it can improve its own offerings while strengthening relationships with its key business partners.
“The continuous improvement mindset is important because it tells you the journey always continues. You can always improve, and that is what has gotten us to this place with our platform that is providing the information the organization needs in such difficult circumstances. We will make it through this. It's just a matter of recognizing how will we get better on the other side of this, and that’s what Table Talk has allowed us to do.”
— Marci Needham, Ventura Foods