#Whatsyourflavour - Interview with Olivier Devaux

EFFA joined Social Media (Twitter and LinkedIn) three years ago, and since then, we have come a long way. The initially more cautious steps are have evolved today into very active accounts with steady organic growth. And what is more important, a very useful tool to engage with our stakeholders, such as the EU institutions or customer associations.

This is what happened with the #reconnect campaign, of Brewers of Europe (@brewersofeurope) where we participated in supporting the importance of reconnecting with the Horeca sector after the first confinement or #EUIndustrialStrategy used by Industry4Europe (@Indutry4Europe) a coalition we are part of, to share with the EU policymakers our vision for a strong EU Industrial Strategy.

An excellent example even closer to our core business is #Whatsyourflavourcampaign, by the European Snacks Association (ESA_snacks), which portrayed the favourite flavours in snacks around Europe.

Read below our interview with Olivier Devaux Senior Public Affairs &Communications Manager at ESA:

Why did you decide to go for the #Whatsyourflavour campaign? Why is flavour so important?

I believe that the savoury snacks category is a wonderful playground for flavour houses! Only in the savoury snacks aisles of supermarkets can people find such incredible and unexpected flavours! Both worlds are intrinsically linked, taste remains the number one purchasing factor and snacks manufacturers are constantly innovating to bring consumers unique taste experiences.

Flavours are also often a powerful cultural and identity marker: “Tell me what taste you like and I will tell you where you come from!”

We wanted to raise awareness on the diversity of taste in Europe, also reflecting different culinary habits - and it was also a way to make a nod at all the Europeans expats here in Brussels and bring them a little taste of home!

Is there a wide diversity among European countries or do you see some trends?

You can find hundreds of different snacks flavours in the European market. The UK, as the number one crisps nation in Europe, offers the largest range of flavours, which can be sometimes a little bit odd to be honest! As said, innovation never stops but if a product doesn’t find its customers, it won’t stay long on the shelves. Manufacturers try to capture and anticipate future trends but also sometimes failed to do so.

That’s said, you can see some strong trends in terms of the most preferred flavours across the EU. Central European countries as well as Germany and Austria are really big fan of paprika flavoured snacks when Nordic countries generally prefer “sour cream and onions” types of flavours. We were surprised though to see that classic salted still remains a top seller in many countries, regardless of the geographical situation. That tells us that if snacks consumers can sometimes be very bold, they would rarely say no to good old salted crisps!

Are you happy with the results of the campaign? Which feedback did you receive from your members?

The campaign was active on Twitter and LinkedIn for about 6 weeks with 20 very colourful visuals, both static and animated. We also used some material developed by EFFA to also give a bit more background about flavourings! We were overall very happy with the engagements during the campaign and got very positive feedback both from members and followers. People found that informative and they could really identified with the content of the posts. That’s the kind of interactions we were looking for, people like when we talk about their origins and in that case, we know that flavours associated to certain types of foods have that power to bring back memories and act as a sort of Proust’s madeleine!

You had recently another successful Social Media campaign, can you please tell us more about it?

Following the cancellation of our flagship outdoor event “Share a Snack” this summer, we decided to develop a new format tailored for our social media channels, something that is fun and instructive at the same time!

During the first two weeks of October, we released a series of interviews with representatives of the food sector who keep a watchful eye on policy developments (including with EFFA’s Executive Director!). We called that “Share a Snack – Share a Thought” and it was articulated around two different sequences where interviewees tell us more about their snacking habits and share their thoughts on issues of interest for the food industry, such as the Farm to Fork Strategy.

We were absolutely thrilled since the campaign has been very well-received and it is certainly a type of format we will continue to explore in the future. Please go check our Twitter channel to see the videos!

Now tell us more about you: What is YOUR flavour?

For the anecdote, I really realised how amazing flavours experts are when I tried a few years ago roast pork flavoured crisps. I had little expectations to be honest and I was absolutely astonished by the accurateness of the flavour. It was just like eating a perfectly cooked roast pork in every single crisp!

I’m usually very open to all kind of flavours, but no really fond of savoury-sweet blends. If I would have to pick one, that would be paprika, no doubts!