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The very best of 2023

What a ride we had in 2023!  Just a quick glance backward shows us how much ESA (Elohi Strategic Advisors) has grown since this time last year, and how much we've accomplished in the last twelve months.

Launched new service offerings.

Foodservice is our jam, and ESA has always offered a unique combination of expert foodservice strategy and feet-on-the-street execution.  We don't just advise our clients in a vacuum; our team takes action right alongside our clients. 

Last year we added services that supported goals, filled knowledge gaps and increased effectiveness and efficiency for our clients.  Some highlights:

  • Launched ESA Custom Research and began delivering actionable, insights-based story-telling that bridges the gap between client products and operator trends and needs. Delivered three proprietary consumer research projects, as well as custom insights projects for client companies both large and small.
  • Launched Stand-Alone Marketing Services including Trade Show Management, GDSN Audit and Setup, and Digital Marketing & Content Creation; and partnered with our Culinary team to produce Culinary Recipe & Handling Videos.

Would you recommend ESA to others If so, why Yes. Ryan Manley was the ESA lead for Lux Ice. Ryan was hands on and supportive in customizing the right System for our needs. He was a great Partner t (1)Developed and implemented custom, end-to-end foodservice CRM.

Nothing else is quite like foodservice, and the ESA team approaches CRM technology with foodservice sale ops, analytics and systems expertise. This means our clients end up with a tool designed to provide precisely the information they need, served up clearly and conveniently.  

Our process started with profound discovery up and down the org chart, through a foodservice lens, and then we mapped out crucial business processes to ensure they fit with the ways our client's product and business work.  We built data relationships that mirror foodservice industry-specific relationships, and then implemented rock-solid data governance to avoid the ‘garbage in, garbage out’ scenario.

We applied our winning foodservice sales process to configure a tool that delivers the right information at the right time to the right audience. We left the client with processes, training, and documentation to ensure future success, including reports and dashboards that provide sales leaders and c-suite leadership with exactly the information they need to make both day-to-day and big-picture decisions.  

Launched Navigating the Foodservice Universe.

Our Learning Management System, Navigating the Foodservice Universe, provides the most comprehensive introduction to the foodservice industry available.  Beginning with a big-picture view of the industry, each module then introduces and explains an aspect of the industry, from elements of the value chain to commercial and non-comm segments, to the way foodservice distribution works.

Both new-to-the-world and established companies used the system during 2023 to bring teams up to speed as they prepared to enter the foodservice channel.

2023 (5)Produced relevant, timely webinars. 

Our webinars offer solutions to business problems and answers to business questions.  And we had a great time filming them!

  • How can you use free data from government data to support foodservice decisions?
  • How does innovation happen in foodservice, and how do we measure it?
  • What's the best way to get honest, candid feedback from operators and consumers about your product?
  • Is your CRM doing all it should?  Are your sales and marketing teams using it as well as they could?
  • How does your product solve the foodservice operators' problems or meet their business needs?
  • And more!

Initiated our inaugural IIAP.

ESA Custom Research had a busy first year!  

In addition to custom projects for companies that range from start-ups to billion-dollar food & beverage leaders, we began work on our inaugural IIAP -- Insights Identification and Application Project.  

Larger, established food and beverage companies often purchase data from industry data leaders like Datassential, Technomic, Circana and others, but lack the time, resources, or expertise to get the most out of the data they've bought.  Expert guidance can help maximize the return on those investments. 

Our IIAP process begins with a thorough audit of a company's data resources and any existing insights.  Then we identify gaps between the information the company needs and the information it can access.  We train the client's teams on best practices when it comes to using the data and insights they've purchased, and construct dashboards to allow for regular updates on the data most important to the client -- the trends and categories that matter.   

TItans Headshot

Contributed thought leadership to digital and video publications.

We continued to step out into the limelight and provide information and thought leadership to outlets across the foodservice industry.  In addition to our own webinar series, the executive team appeared on webinars hosted by Prepared Foods and IDDBA.  We showed up on websites like The National Provisioner and NOSH.  Stephanie was profiled on IdeaMensch, and Authority Magazine, and Dimitra appeared on Nick Portillo's Titans of Foodservice.  

Everywhere you looked during 2023, there we were!

Welcomed team members to new roles.

So far, the 2020s have been ... eventful, haven't they?  And through it all, ESA has continued to grow. 

During 2023, we celebrated lots of work anniversaries, plus welcomed some brand-new members to the team -- Laura Flenniken and Dave Smason as Regional Sales Managers, Alex Zelek to the Inside Sales team, and Matt Olejownik to the Marketing team.

Cannies Seddon and Paul Vileno both stepped into new roles as National Account Managers. 

Congratulations, one more time, to the whole team!

2024 BUSINESS RESOLUTIONS (2)Continued to make the most of trade shows and conventions.

Of course we helped clients select, prepare for and maximize their returns from trade shows and conventions, but 2023 saw us broadening our own participation, as well.  

We walked the floor at international shows like Anuga, ran our booth along with client booths at the National Restaurant Show (NRA), presented at IFMA President's Conference and at Plant Based World Expo (PBWE), all in addition to providing turnkey show management services from large to regional events including, NRA, IFMA’s COEX, Pacific Northwest Food Show, IDDBA, Bar & Restaurant Show, NACUFs and PBWE. 

Graduated Veggies Made Great.

We couldn't be prouder of Veggies Made Great, their graduation from our Foundation© Program, and the creation of their new Institutional Sales Division.  

VMG joins some of the most well-known and widely distributed products in the North American market as graduates of ESA’s Foundation©, Accelerated Market Penetration (AMP)©, and Revenue Acceleration (REV)© programs.

Diet Drivers 2: Why we eat what we eat and what we do diferently as a result.Released our first proprietary consumer research reports.

Our Research and Insights team released the first two reports in our Diet Drivers Series, gathering answers to questions directly from consumers first about their dietary concerns, hopes and aspirations, and second about the ways they generally put those aspirations into action in their lives.  The underlying motivators that manufacturers and operators -- and in fact, the whole food and beverage industry! -- need to address came out crystal clear in those two reports. 

Much-watched and often-discussed, cell-cultured meat received approvals from both the USDA and FDA this year, and so we also performed and reported on consumer expectations in our very timely Taste of Change: Cell-Cultured Meat report. 

Celebrated important anniversaries.

For all its ups and downs, 2023 was a great year still to be around! 

The year saw us leveraging the zero-to-momentum expertise we've honed over the years with start-ups to broaden our client portfolio.  Regardless of the size of your company or of how long you've been around, innovation uses a whole different set of skills and resources from those that sustain your established business.  

In 2023, we applied our innovation expertise not only to small start-ups, but also to some of the world's largest, most established foodservice suppliers. 

We celebrated eight years in business, and six years as a WBENC-certified, woman-owned and woman-led company.  We can't wait to see what's next.

From all of us at ESA -- Happy New Year!