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Coffee culture meets wellness trend


Olibar’s omnivorous approach to new trends has witnessed the likes of ginseng-flavoured coffee capsules and ginseng and matcha tea capsules appearing on its product list. Both are part of Olibar’s special coffees range, which is marketed under its new Food-Ness brand.

The capsules are also compatible with Dolcegusto® coffee machines and greatly broaden the choice of beverages these machines can dispense. “The capsules are a recent innovation that has come about through our desire to target the retail market,” explains Marketing Manager Sara Lusetti.

Specially conceived for the supermarket sector, Olibar has extended capsule technology to cover a variety of different flavoured coffees and infusions. These range from flavours such as Ginseng Life to Golden Milk, an ancient recipe made with pepper, turmeric and brown sugar.

“Golden Milk is known as a super-drink with many benefits,” says Ms. Lusetti. “It is a new product based on an old recipe which features turmeric, a spice that has been known for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine.”

For the past 20 years, Olibar has supplied the cafe sector with soluble and powdered semi-processed products as well as private label sugar and single serving condiments. Its desire to innovate in a staunchly traditional sector has led it to create completely new product categories that combine coffee culture with the wellness trend.

“We saw that consumers were increasingly opting for healthier versions of an ever wider variety of products in their daily shopping, but this trend was not being served by the coffee shops they frequented,” says Ms. Lusetti. “We could see that consumers wanted to buy products that corresponded to the health trends of the day. That is why we came up with the Food-Ness brand to represent products that were attentive to customers’ health needs, up to and including food intolerances.”

That is why Olibar has also latched on to the free-from trend. Its products in the FoodNess range are variously free from gluten, lactose, hydrogenated fats, GM ingredients, palm oil and animal products and use brown sugar as a sweetener rather than artificial sweeteners.

“The free from trend signifies a general return to a more natural approach to food, and we have reflected this in a full range of products,” says Ms. Lusetti. “For example our Back to Origins range of hot chocolate focuses exclusively on achieving an authentic cocoa flavour rather than trying to be innovative with other flavours. After years of being distracted by variants combining flavours such as orange or strawberry all vying for attention in the cup, we felt it was time to let the cocoa speak for itself. Our variants focus on the origins of the chocolate and are made from single-origin cacao from Columbia and Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic.”

Similar thinking is behind a new range of summer granitas being marketed under the name Granita 2.0. With flavours such as Mojito, Marrakesh Tea, Mixed Berries, Tropical Fruits, Jasmin Green Tea, Ginger and Lemon, and Frozen Yogurt all made with natural colourings and flavourings, they reinvent a summer favourite for young and old.

“We decided we did not want to have to label our products in accordance with EU regulations regarding certain E-numbers and their potential effect on children and decided instead to ditch these additives in favour of natural alternatives,” explains Ms. Lusetti. “After all, if you wouldn’t serve something to your children, why would you eat it yourself?”

The FoodNess range already comprises 400 different products and has been welcomed by the cafes that make up Olibar’s core customer group.

“We are targeting the cafe sector in the first instance but are also approaching the supermarket sector with our new ranges,” says Ms. Lusetti. “They benefit from brand recognition at the point of sale and the familiarity that comes from having already tried the product in a cafe. We are also convinced that our products are of superior quality and offer our customers greater choice.”

This is one of the key thoughts behind the choice of products. “We want everyone that goes into a cafe for a drink or a snack to find something that they like and that they want to buy,” says Ms. Lusetti. “Trends arise when producers give people what they want. In that sense we can profit from trends as they emerge and steer them. We are very attentive to the market so that we can develop new products in line with current trends and customer preferences.”

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