What are your customers thinking when it comes to your product? Is it time to gather feedback, and are you ready to review the results and make a change?
TMF Foods is ready. The Canadian meat processing brand has been serving foodservice and retail sectors for years, iconic brands like their award winning “Lou’s BBQ” fully cooked line up of products such as Pulled Pork, Pot Roast and Ribs among other items and “Peameal Bacon of Canada”, is taking its business to the next level with an extensive rebranding and packaging relaunch effort to capture an even greater market share and take all of Canada and beyond by storm.
“In Canada, the fully cooked category still a fairly new category,” says Dameion Albanese, Executive Vice President at TMF Foods. This makes any insight into consumer opinions all the more valuable. As the company found, that even though they are the leader in its sector currently capturing 62-65 percent of the market share, there was still room for improvement.
“We found that our old packaging was causing confusion among the consumer, there was a lot going on within the package, and that was turning people away from buying our products.” Through this extensive research and close relationship working with marketing company Stir Communications, TMF Foods successfully launched a new look with Lou’s BBQ, featuring mouth watering graphics and simple readable packaging that just screams quality and consistency which has been the everlasting message of founder and CEO Lou Albanese.
A Focus on Development
The best way to understand what your customers need is to work with them directly, and TMF Foods has invested in a 2,500 square foot state-of-the-art research and development center that will help them collaborate with clients using the same top of the line equipment those clients would use in their own facilities.
“When we’re dealing with our customers and understanding what their needs are, it’s a lot easier for us to have them to come to our facility and use our kitchen as if it were their own operation,” explains Albanese. Outfitted with high-end equipment like Garland ranges and flat top grills, Frymaster double basket fryers, Salamander ovens and more, TMF Foods’ new facility allows clients to create test menus or meal ideas that they can recreate in their own kitchens. “A lot of the equipment that we do have is “plug and play”, so clients have that flexibility to use our products in the setting that they have in their everyday restaurants. It also helps elevate us and bring us to the next level when dealing with top grade customers.”
The new Culinary Center is also outfitted with a cutting-edge video and computer system, plus a new projector system and two 72-inch flat screen panels, giving clients options for meeting and presentation space. “A lot of our customers are always looking for offsite facilities to hold corporate meetings, and this is a great place where they can come in and do Powerpoint presentations or other large presentations to the rest of their team,” says Albanese. “They can come here and have a presentation going on one screen, and then pictures and logos on a different screen.”
Updated research and development capabilities can only go so far if they are not backed up by improvements at the production level as well. At TMF Foods, rebranding goes hand in hand with updates at every level including production.
One recent important update has been the installation of a new Curruthers shredding machine to improve the strand and definition of pulled pork, plus new TMF products like pulled beef and pulled turkey.
In addition to the New Culinary Centre on the second floor of the new 5000 square ft. expansion, another update takes place on the first floor. TMF has added a brand washing station equipped with an automated rack washing system. “Before we were washing all of our racks that would go into the cookhouse by hand, which was very cumbersome and time consuming,” notes Albanese. “So we’ve invested in a wash system not unlike a mini car wash unit which was brought in from Italy. So now all of our racks go through this “car wash” which saves us time and allows us to have them back into production as fast as possible.”
Growing and Evolving
TMF Foods has grown substantially within the last few years, but it is not finished yet. “As of right now, we are one of the very few companies that has brand presence right across Canada, – we own the category, and we see huge potential for growth in the fully cooked category,” says Albanese. “Our goal is to continue growing that category and our market share within it.”
In particular, TMF Foods plans to focus on building stronger relationships with their partners in both the retail and foodservice industries by delivering the best possible solutions that meet the customer’s needs. “Whether it’s restaurants or end users at home, everybody’s strapped for time,” Albanese adds. “Consumers are looking to get a delicious, high quality home cooked meal in front of their families, and restaurateurs are looking to get a quality and consistent product from order to the plate as quick as possible. This market for fully cooked products is continually growing and we will continue to grow along with it.”