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Taylored for Success: A Q&A With Michelle Roberts, Director of Marketing, Taylor Farms Foodservice

Taylored for Success: A Q&A With Michelle Roberts, Director of Marketing, Taylor Farms Foodservice

Follow the plate.

Michelle Roberts brings this idea to the table as she lays out the details of Taylor Farms’ foodservice program and dynamic, ever-evolving go-to-market strategy. Following trends, seeking out the next pivot in the consumer experience, recognizing the needs of operators, proactive strategies and solutions at the intersection of the fork and the knife—these are the ways in which execution is defined by innovation. These are the ways of Taylor Farms.

We often talk about the necessity of embracing change and being adaptable versus the alternative path of fate: getting left behind. Following the plate is both the vision and the way for powerhouse, family-owned businesses like Taylor Farms. And, by extension, their success is contagious—sharpening and defining the success of its partners across the buy-side landscape.

As we recently moved through the thick of the holiday season, Michelle, Director of Marketing for Taylor Farms Foodservice, arranges the complex and coveted insights of the dining sector before us, and pieces together how embracing a partnership with this leading-edge company is a win-win for all.


Jordan Okumura-Wright: Today’s consumer has gone through so much change in recent years, from how they experience time to how their day-to-day tasks and responsibilities have evolved. In what ways do you find their habits changing at the plate, the way they shop, or how they dine? How does Taylor Farms tailor its foodservice mission and vision to entice these consumers?

Michelle Roberts, Director of Marketing, Taylor Farms Foodservice: Taylor Farms’ mission to be North America’s favorite maker of salads and healthy fresh foods continues to drive innovation. We have found that the modern consumer values fast-paced environments and grab-and-go options more than ever.

Dining trends indicate that consumers are also seeking healthy, unique, and quality products. Our value-added product offerings are carefully tailored to meet consumers’ needs while providing time and cost efficiencies to the operator. This leaves the ability for the chefs to focus their attention on creating unique recipes while minimizing labor and reducing complexities in the kitchen.

Between all three of our segments at Taylor Farms—Foodservice, Retail, and Prepared Foods—we work to understand trends and flavors that will continue to increase consumption of healthy fresh foods across North America.


JOW: It’s time to brave another holiday rush! With Thanksgiving planning upon us and the winter holidays just down the road, what can you share with our buy-side audience about some of the more notable food and flavor trends moving into some of our favorite 2023 celebrations? How is Taylor supporting such insights?

MR: Holiday menus offer a variety of veg-centric recipes where we typically see a shift to heartier vegetables. Core items such as broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and green beans are great menu options to utilize for multiple side dish applications. These products are not only used as traditional roasted veg sides but also complement ingredients like celery, carrots, and onions for savory winter soups and stews.

Winter salads are also a notable trend. We have seen a stronger demand for variations of our hearty multi-leaf recipe known as the “Heritage Blend.” Operators looking to build a colorful salad base that stands up to proteins, savory dressings, and even seasonal fruits look to this blend for its plate coverage and loft. We have had success with how this product blends with other unique lettuce items such as Baby Red Butter and Romaine throughout the winter months.

Our chopped salad bases add an even bolder crunch and fresh layers of flavor to a holiday salad recipe. These unique blends offer endless application options and convenience for any chef to “Taylor” to their customers’ tastes.


JOW: What would you say are the key tenets that inspire innovation and value for customers, Michelle?

MR: At Taylor Farms, we strive to bring our customers high-quality, safe ingredients that also bring their visions to life. In foodservice, it is important to help the operator pave the way for new trends while adding value to their needs through product development.

"Between all three of our segments at Taylor Farms—Foodservice, Retail, and Prepared Foods—we work to understand trends and flavors that will continue to increase consumption of healthy fresh foods across North America."

Michelle Roberts, Director of Marketing, Taylor Farms Foodservice

By design, our value-added fresh product portfolio is ever-changing to support every kitchen. From new pack sizes to blend ratios and variety development, we embrace innovation every step of the way while working to be our customers’ one-stop-shop solution.


 

JOW: Do you have any words of advice for foodservice buyers looking to tap into the most promising consumer dining behaviors of the upcoming few months?

MR: If you’d like to make the most out of this holiday season, it is best to follow the plate. Knowing menu trends, customer needs, and making sure to offer a variety of healthy and flavorful applications throughout the winter season will be ideal in achieving this.


There are companies that strive to reach the leading edge. Then there are companies that define it—building its strength, sharpening its execution, honing and fine-tuning its value. In the case of a company like Taylor Farms, its foodservice division has achieved such an edge and its partners are wielding its excellence throughout this holiday season and beyond. Not just following the plate—but leading it.