How Electrolux Professional Achieved Strategic Resilience in the Face of the Global Pandemic

How Electrolux Professional Achieved Strategic Resilience in the Face of the Global Pandemic

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Written by Rowan Gibson

Best Selling Author & Award Winning Innovation Expert And Thought Leader

electrolux professional innovation

Never before in history have companies all over the world and in every conceivable industry been simultaneously challenged to rethink and reinvent their core business strategies overnight. This imperative was unexpectedly thrust upon all of us in the early Spring of 2020.

Prior to that point, we may have acknowledged that we live in an age of turbulence where the threat of disruption is ever-present, but none of us were truly prepared for the figurative meteor strike that came in the form of COVID-19. With cataclysmic force, the Coronavirus pandemic literally changed everything, everywhere, all at once. Yet, in the face of such an unprecedented crisis, some organisations managed to display the most amazing capability for resilience, reinvention and renewal.

One outstanding example is Electrolux Professional.

This Swedish multinational company, headquartered in Stockholm, is one of the world’s largest professional appliance makers, and was until recently a subsidiary of Electrolux Group. Its products and solutions are mostly aimed at food and beverage industries – restaurants, hotels, bars and cafes – as well as professional laundry applications – for example, in hotels, hospitals, care homes, apartment blocks, or commercial laundry businesses.

When the health crisis hit in the first quarter of 2020, and the company’s sales suddenly dropped off a cliff, the people at Electrolux Professional took swift action by focusing all their efforts on customer-centric innovation and bold strategic renewal in the shortest possible timeframe. The results have been astounding and serve as a true inspiration for would-be innovation champions and business model strategists in all kinds of industries and markets.

Let’s examine their story.

The worst timing in the world?

Electrolux Professional, formerly a division of Electrolux AB since its inception, was registered as a stand-alone company on March 23rd, 2020. In retrospect, of course, coinciding as this did with the widespread outbreak of Coronavirus, it might appear to have been the worst time in the world to separate from the mothership. On the other hand, this move may also be precisely what gave Electrolux Professional the autonomy and self-determination it needed to drive rapid and rampant change through strategy innovation.

Obviously, the transition to a new corporate status had been planned far in advance, so the date was simply an unhappy coincidence. But, by around mid-March 2020 – exactly when the global health crisis was at its inflection point and about to go into a steep exponential curve – the people at Electrolux Professional found themselves setting out on an ambitious new business venture just before the pandemic was to slash their sales.

The foundations for the company’s success had seemed sound enough. A long and proud history of innovation. A globally respected brand. A solid financial record. A loyal international customer base. A wide portfolio of world-class products. An amazing team of people. A five-year strategic plan. A legacy of excellence as part of Electrolux AG.

What could possibly go wrong?

All hands on deck!

In the space of just a few weeks in March 2020, our world became an unrecognisable place. Empty city centers. Closed businesses. Collapsing economies. Quarantined citizens. Overcrowded hospitals. A crisis like none of us had ever experienced. How would Electrolux Professional fare in such a precarious environment?

It’s not hard for a company to look good when the sun is shining, but it is the storm that tests the true character, capability and culture of any organisation. When times get tough, will the company’s people pull together to cope with the challenge as one big team or will they pull apart and become divided against each other?

During an economic crisis, the knee-jerk reaction of many organisations is to quickly start reducing headcount. Unfortunately, this response was all too common as soon as markets first went into COVID-19 lockdown. By contrast, Electrolux Professional invited all its people to join the effort to weather the gigantic storm, deploying their creativity to help the company rethink and reinvent its way through the crisis.

Within a few weeks of the first signs of trouble, the call went out for everyone in the organisation to participate in the innovation process – “All hands on deck!” The entire workforce was asked to think up and submit ideas for dealing with the increasingly critical external situation.

And that’s exactly what people did. Just over a week later, the company’s executives were already sifting through a rich portfolio of potential opportunities for solving customers’ problems and driving new growth, some of which were completely new to the business.

Rethinking strategy from the bottom up

Traditionally, strategy-making has always been a top-down, forecast-laden exercise, after which the goal is to get the strategic ideas of the company’s leaders into the heads of the people so that they can run off and obediently implement them.

Electrolux Professional took the opposite approach.

By involving the whole company in a highly inclusive and democratised process of strategy innovation, the leadership team was able to quickly generate a companywide perspective on truly unconventional strategic options for addressing the crisis. Over the designated one-week period, a wide variety of ideas bubbled up from every part of the organisation, coming from the minds and the hearts of the people, and built on their passion and their insights.

In this emergent, bottom-up approach to strategy-making, the company’s leadership team became less the authors of strategy and more the editors of strategy. Their role switched from generating the company’s new thinking to ‘connecting the dots’— carefully evaluating a portfolio of possible options and searching for the opportunities that would be the most promising strategic directions for the company’s short-term innovation efforts.

If we unpack all the options and ideas that were submitted during that one-week period, we can see that the fundamental principles of innovation were clearly at play. Just as I have argued for over two decades, big breakthroughs always come from looking at things from four particular perspectives, or innovation ‘lenses’.

The first of these lenses is focused on trends.

Rapidly adapting to change

How quickly can a company adapt to a major shift in market trends?

One of the megatrends over the last decade has undoubtedly been the pursuit of sustainable, environmentally-friendly solutions. Up until COVID-19, much of Electrolux Professional’s innovation strategy was centered around reducing the consumption of water, detergent and energy in its professional appliances – such as washing machines and dishwashers. The company’s five-year strategic planning, along with its budgeting and bi-annual controlling, firmly reflected this.

But then the world changed.

In Spring 2020, almost overnight, Electrolux Professional realised that by far the most acute and important trend for its business – and for its customers – was hygiene in addition to sustainability. Whether in food, beverages, or laundry, the central issue for all the company’s markets suddenly became how to quickly and effectively sanitize or disinfect.

Restaurants were forced to close for regular business but could deliver their food to people’s homes. So, understandably, home food delivery services boomed. But how could customers be sure the restaurant’s kitchens and the boxes used for delivery were hygienic enough to avoid virus infection?

Hospital services went into overdrive to cope with the exponential rise in patients testing positive for Coronavirus, many of whom required treatment. That, in turn, put massively increased demand on hospitals’ laundry facilities to quickly and effectively clean the washable PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) of their doctors and nurses. Many healthcare workers were also forced to make multiple use of single-use PPE such as masks and head coverings, due to shortage of these items.

The trend toward increased hygiene extended into other markets, too, where things had previously been much more relaxed. Fashion retail is one example. It suddenly became apparent that even if stores could eventually re-open, their fitting rooms would be a huge hygiene risk as multiple customers tried on the same garments right after each other. Some countries passed new retail legislation reflecting this concern.

Based on these trends, Electrolux Professional made a radical strategic pivot towards hygiene in addition to the sustainability. The urgent new questions for the company’s innovation strategy became:

  • How do we create customer solutions that put virus-related health and safety concerns first?
  • How can we redeploy our existing products not just to wash but also to sanitize or disinfect?
  • What can we do to make professional kitchens and laundry services safer and more hygienic for everyone?
  • Should we consider new solutions for other markets, too?

This was the thinking that drove many of the new ideas that were put forward by the company’s people.

Addressing urgent customer needs

Another key lens of innovation is the perspective of the customer. New trends can – and often do – create new needs. Sometimes urgent ones. Companies need to be constantly asking themselves where customers’ emerging ‘pain points’ and frustrations are. And then come up with innovative ways to solve them.

As the COVID-19 pandemic began to spread wildly and governments everywhere reacted with lockdown measures, what was the impact on Electrolux Professional’s customers? These were restaurants, hotels, bars and cafes, facilities for education, leisure and sports, hospitals, elderly care homes, commercial and self-service laundries, as well as other business and industries. Suddenly, for all these sectors and countless others too, stringent hygiene became the paramount concern for the future of their organisations. At the same time, many of the company’s customers found their financial resources rapidly drying up.

The people at Electrolux Professional knew they had to respond fast. And they did, rising to the challenge of addressing these urgent new needs with radically innovative solutions. From all corners of the company came fresh ideas aimed at providing hygienic safety and psychological reassurance in this time of fear and uncertainty. Ideas for products and services that could play a role in easing the deep anxieties and very real problems being experienced across businesses and societies – not just temporarily but as permanent, long-term solutions for the altered needs of an emerging, post-pandemic world.

Some of these ideas were for high-risk hotspots like hospitals and care homes for the elderly, where sanitization and the tracking of wash batches had become critical. Others were for apartment blocks and local launderettes where people share communal washing machines. Still others were for professional kitchens, where the focus was now on disinfecting preparation utensils for food and beverage hygiene. Further opportunities encompassed new markets such as food delivery and fashion retail. Or new business models that would make financing easier for cash-strapped customers. They all reflected the passion for customers that is keenly felt across Electrolux Professional’s entire corporate culture.

To sum up the attitude behind this customer-focused lens of innovation – and by this slew of new ideas from the company – I’m always reminded of a brilliant advertisement that was run by IBM in 2008, the year of the Great Recession. The headline was the following statement: ‘STOP selling what you HAVE. START selling what they NEED.’ I can’t think of a better customer-centric message for companies at any time, but especially at a time of crisis.

Challenging traditional assumptions

If an organisation is going to avoid strategic rigidity and embrace resilience, it must always be ready to question and even discard some of its fundamental beliefs and assumptions about its current strategy or business model. This is a third key perspective or ‘lens’ for any company that wants to achieve reinvention and renewal.

Innovators tend to be contrarians. They are not wedded to anything. They are the rebels who always ask, ‘What if?’ and ‘Why not?’ This was the blue-sky spirit that was unleashed when Electrolux Professional asked its people everywhere to come up with innovative new ideas.

Why can’t a washing machine become a sanitization machine? And, similarly, why can’t a dishwasher disinfect while it cleans dishes and kitchen utensils? How would we need to alter our current products to achieve this? Would it require a specific wash cycle? A higher temperature? A different kind of detergent? And if we could make this work, could we get the process validated and certified by an external bacteriological laboratory? What if we could very quickly start offering our customers not just industrial expertise but also hygiene and safety expertise? What if we could even make it possible for hospitals and care homes to turn scarce, single-use PPE products into sanitized, multiple-use items? These were just some of the questions the company began to ask itself.

Other people stretched their new thinking along different lines. They asked, What if customers can’t afford to buy our products at the moment because their own businesses are in financial trouble? Why can’t we offer them renting or leasing options?  What if we explored new business models that turn our products into services, like pay-per-wash or pay-per-use? And what if we added consulting services to our offering to help our customers select the right solutions for their needs?

Then there were people who considered completely new markets. Some wondered if they could turn threat into opportunity by coming up with products for non-traditional businesses like fashion retail and food delivery. What if we could provide a solution for apparel stores that would swiftly sanitize garments right after customers have tried them on in the fitting rooms? And what if we could come up with a new kind of insulated food delivery box for restaurants and fast-food chains that would keep meals and beverages in a safe, hygienic container during transit to the home? In other words, why limit ourselves to our legacy businesses when there are new markets out there that also need our solutions?

One of the underlying assumptions inside most manufacturing companies is that new product development and commercialization takes a long time. However, the R&D and manufacturing experts at Electrolux Professional got together and asked each other, What would it take to rapidly fast-track some of these opportunities so that we can dramatically reduce the time it takes to move ideas from the mind to the market? How fast can we deliver these solutions to our customers?

Leveraging resources in new ways

Completing the set of four innovation lenses, or perspectives, is the ability to look across an organisation – as well as beyond its boundaries – and identify resources that could be repurposed, redeployed or recombined to create new opportunities.

Obviously, the first resource Electrolux Professional tapped into was the brainpower of its own people, with spectacular results. But the ideas generated in the company’s widely distributed ideation effort would have gone nowhere without leveraging skills and assets from every single part of the organisation. The firm’s marketing and sales people, for example, focused on tracking external trends and customer needs. The R&D people and their research labs began to delve deeply into the field of sanitization. The supply chain and manufacturing people sought creative ways to obtain necessary components despite the crisis – one was to simply hire a truck and drive from Sweden to Poland to personally pick them up! The finance people temporarily redirected R&D funds from the firm’s previous strategic plans and allocated them instead to developing the new ideas.

Being related to the larger Electrolux Group had advantages, too. There was a lot of know-how available across the organisation, including the Electrolux Global Connectivity & Technology Center (GC&T). Then there were possible external resources to consider – partner firms in the detergent business, research institutes and independent science labs, among others. One interesting company was Getinge, which had been spun out of Electrolux and is today a global leader in infection control and the sterilization of medical equipment. The R&D team at Electrolux Professional was able to compare notes with their counterparts at Getinge in the search for new answers.

Making innovation happen involved many existing resources that were cleverly combined. An older white paper laying out the parameters for disinfecting from Corona-type viruses. One of the company’s own detergents that happened to have the right pH value to be converted for use in sanitization. Appliance cabinets in Electrolux Professional’s product portfolio that could be redeployed for new solutions. The RISE institute in Sweden that could provide vital research and validation of the company’s new sanitizing solutions. UL, a worldwide independent lab that could certify Electrolux Professional’s dishwashing range from sanitization to disinfection level using relevant DIN standards. All of this added up to a set of exciting innovation opportunities that could very quickly become realized.

Leading innovation from the top

It’s one thing to generate ideas from everyone, everywhere in a bottom-up, democratized approach to strategy innovation. But actually driving ideas forward is always going to require the full and active commitment of a company’s top leaders.

This was certainly the case with Electrolux Professional. After collating all the ideas that were submitted during ideation – 162 ideas generated in only 8 days – the executive management team sat down to categorize and evaluate them. They were first sorted into two major categories based on their implementation timeline – short-term (2-6 months) and longer-term (6+ months). Around 70% of the ideas fell into the first category. Then, they were segregated into four sub-categories in terms of the nature of the ideas:

  • new products and solutions
  • new ways of working or selling
  • new ways to reduce spending
  • other kinds of ideas

When evaluating the potential of all the ideas, leaders were looking for three criteria: short-term realization, minimum investment, and maximum value creation for the customer in terms of solving today’s most urgent problems.

Based on these factors, ten ideas were shortlisted from the original portfolio of 162 ideas, and from these a final selection of four ideas was prioritized for immediate development. These were:

  • A washer and dryer for medical-grade sanitization of PPE (including single-use) in hospitals, clinics and elderly care homes
  • A dishwasher for professional kitchens with a similarly certified disinfection cycle for food and beverage utensils
  • A new solution for fashion retail – called a ‘Serenity Cabinet’ – for sanitizing garments with steam after they have been tried on
  • A ‘Safe-Box’ for insulated food delivery that keeps food and beverages in a sanitized environment while in transit

The rest of the idea portfolio is being mined by Electrolux Professional’s Innovation hub as a source of mid-term to longer-term innovation opportunities. Some of these include the service-based business models referred to earlier.

Once the four ideas above were approved for development, individual leaders from executive management were assigned as sponsors to realize each one of them, working with small multifunctional teams to drive them forward. As a result, the first three ideas were launched into the market within just two months. The fourth idea – ‘Safe-Box’ – is currently in a mature state of development and is heading for imminent launch.

Amazingly, all this was achieved in record time even though many people across the company were working remotely or had limited access to the organisation’s labs and manufacturing facilities. Regular progress reports on all four projects were presented by the designated leaders in the company’s top management meetings, which were also held virtually. Everything humanly possible was done to catalyze and streamline the development process so that time to market was reduced to almost nothing.

From continuous improvement to continuous renewal

One thing is for sure: our world is becoming more turbulent by the day. Correspondingly, the need for strategic resilience – the capacity to adapt our business models and strategies dynamically as circumstances change – will only become greater in the future.

We can learn a lot from Electrolux Professional’s example as outlined above. But the real challenge for every company today is not just how to act during a global crisis but how to make strategic renewal a part of the everyday fabric of the organisation. We need to institutionalise this mindset and behaviour so that it becomes part of the company’s DNA.

In short, we need to shift our corporate focus from continuous improvement to continuous renewal.

The 4 Lenses of Innovation can help us do just that. As we have seen, these lenses or perspectives are fundamental to rethinking and reinventing strategy in turbulent times. The first two lenses we examined – harnessing trends and understanding needs – are about acute awareness, paying very close and constant attention to what is changing in the external environment. The other two lenses – challenging orthodoxies and leveraging resources – are more about adaptability, giving us the capacity to continuously respond to external change by thinking and acting differently as an organisation.

None of this can be expected to work on a continuous basis without embedding innovation and strategic renewal as an ‘all-the-time, everywhere’ capability inside the company.

This calls for visionary leadership, like that of Alberto Zanata, CEO of Electrolux Professional, and his entire executive team, who actively encourage and support strategy innovation across their organisation, firmly believing it to be the backbone of the company’s continued success.

It calls for flexible management structures that can free up talented people to do whatever it takes to make innovation happen, especially when there is an urgent need to turn threats into opportunities.

It calls for a joint effort. A common culture of engagement and inclusion where ideas are welcome from everyone, everywhere. A culture where passion for the customer and a prevailing can-do spirit are the prime drivers. A culture where people truly believe they can overcome great challenges and solve big, important problems if they work creatively and tirelessly together as a team.  

Towards Innovation Excellence

What about your own organisation? When the world went into crisis-mode in March 2020, you were no doubt also forced to reexamine your strategic plans and perhaps radically reprioritize your project portfolio.

What became abundantly clear, to quote Swapnil Choudhari, Director of global R&D for laundry systems at Electrolux Professional, was that “rigidity fails, while resilience prevails”. Of course, it’s fine and entirely necessary to make mid- to long-term corporate plans, but they must never be too rigid to allow for short-term, emergent ideas and perhaps abrupt shifts in strategy as circumstances change.

*This article was originally published to The Leadership Network on August 11, 2020 by Rowan Gibson.

To learn more about Electrolux Professional, visit


Allo Chef: A New Online Technical Help Service by Les vergers Boiron

Online help, just a click away.

To make chefs and pastry chefs’ job easier, Les vergers Boiron launches Allo Chef Les vergers Boiron, an online technical support service.

After publishing the new tables of use for frozen fruit purées, Les vergers Boiron has broadened its range of services with an online technical support for chefs. Now that restaurants are reopening in many countries, this new service, which is being launched starting today on Les vergers Boiron website, will help food and beverage professionals by making their daily lives easier and guiding them through their creativity.

Available in English, French, Spanish and German, Allo Chef Les vergers Boiron allows chefs and pastry chefs, in Europe, to benefit from expert guidance on using Les vergers Boiron fruit solutions. The consulting chefs behind this tool offer their expertise like they usually do during technical courses or demonstrations.

If they have any questions about creating/making a recipe with Les vergers Boiron products, chefs or pastry chefs may use the online service Allo Chef Les vergers Boiron to seek advice from renowned professionals. Then they will be contacted by phone within 48h of the request and guided in a personalized manner through the recipes. This will make their job easier on a daily basis, by being provided with personalized technical support and fast and reliable solutions!

This service is offered unconditionally by Les vergers Boiron until the end of September. Chefs may submit their requests online either from Les vergers Boiron website or on the dedicated page.


Start the Barbecue Season Safely and Stylishly

F. DICK is starting the new barbecue season safely and in style this year. A leather apron and matching leather roll bag perfectly complement F. Dick’s high-quality barbecue tool range and can be used stylishly and safely by all barbecue enthusiasts.

The two products are made of supple 100% buffalo leather, naturally tanned, with a vintage look, while the colour-contrasting logo appliqués add a touch of refinement. Handmade in the Netherlands.

The apron adapts perfectly to the body thanks to the flexibility of the high-quality leather. The adjustable solid leather straps with a buckle fastener at the neck and hip make it comfortable to wear. At 82 cm (32”) in length, it provides reliable protection, especially at a hot barbecue. With a practical hanging loop, a tea towel and other tools, such as barbecue tongs, are always close at hand.

The apron measures 82 x 60 cm (32” x 23.5”).

The leather roll bag, which matches the leather apron, has 5 pockets that can be individually equipped. Here too, the supple leather impresses with its vintage look. Knives and tools can be transported safely and stylishly thanks to the adjustable solid leather strap with a buckle fastener.

The roll bag measures 45 x 47 cm (17.5” x 18.5”).

Friedr. Dick is the only manufacturer worldwide who offers a complete range of knives, sharpening steels, ancillary items for chefs and butchers as well as grinding machines, sharpening machines and knife cleaning devices. The long-standing tradition and experience of manufacturing products for chefs and butchers allow a continuous development of innovative products. Input from customers, especially end-users and our own ideas are converted into high-quality products.

Further information is available from:


Skill Up with FREE Access to The French Chefs Handbook

Keep honing your skills! This summer, Worldchefs has teamed up with The French Chef Handbook – the most complete book of technical bases in the kitchen with more than 500 techniques described step-by-step, 3000 photos, 118 videos, and 1000 recipes worksheets.

Written by the visionary Chef Michel Maincent-Morel, this book revolutionized the learning of cooking by offering solid techniques to beginners.

First published in 1995, La Cuisine de Référence has trained over 800,000 chefs in French cooking techniques. Translated into English for the 25th anniversary, it’s now available to the Worldchefs community in digital format FREE for a limited time only.

Get immersed online, the next best thing to a stage in a kitchen!

Worldchefs Summer Camp with the French Chef Handbook is available for free until August 31, 2020. Don’t miss out!


Meet Your New Customer

Here Come the Flexitarians

Vegetarians and vegans aren’t the only ones looking for plant-based proteins. Increasingly, many people around the world are following a flexitarian diet, which means they actively choose to eat less meat. Here are some of the reasons that may influence their dining choices1.




  1. Dataessentials plant-based entry, 2018

This article was originally published the Make it Sizzle — The New Plant-based Meat Alternatives issue of Nutripro: Nestlé Professional Nutrition Magazine. To read the full magazine, click here.


4 Must-Try Middle Eastern Flavors

4 Must-Try Middle Eastern Flavors

Warm, aromatic spices. Flavor-packed meat and meatless dishes. Craveable dairy-free cooking. Unique condiments—wow, are we glad that recent years have brought a rise to Middle Eastern cuisines. What was once mysterious and unexplored, now continues to climb on U.S. menus. The extensive range of flavors, ingredients, and dishes goes far beyond hummus and falafel. We’ve been tracking these four intriguing ingredients that you can introduce to your customers in easy and accessible ways. 
Fermenting, pickling, and aging have been hot topics for us the past couple of years, and Middle Eastern foods naturally fit into this trend. Have you tried torshi seer yet? This Persian staple is garlic pickled in vinegar. A variety of vinegars can be used from red wine to balsamic. Rather than being hard and pungent, the cloves evolve into soft, sweet, mild bites. Some even say it melts in your mouth! Make it an accompaniment to a meat or fish entrée, create a yogurt-torshi seer dip, or once it’s soft enough, use it as a spread on sandwiches.


The pickling continues with amba, an Iraqi condiment made of pickled green mangoes with vinegar, salt, turmeric, chili and fenugreek. It’s tangy and somewhat similar to a savory mango chutney. You can traditionally find it with shawarma and falafel, but it can easily be incorporated on an American menu. Give it a try on a grilled chicken sandwich, add it to a charcuterie board, or create a savory-sour side dish by mixing it with rice. Amba can really pack a punch, so play around with the correct level of flavor for your application.
Our next hot item hails from Yemen, and we’re serious when we say hot. Schug, also spelled zhug or skhug, is a savory hot sauce that brings the heat from fresh green peppers such as serrano or jalapeno. However, that heat is balanced with bright, fresh notes from ingredients like lemon, cilantro, and parsley. It’s most commonly found at Fast Casual and Fine Dining restaurants, but schug is taking off with +219% menu growth over the past four years. While this hard-to-pronounce condiment is imbedded in Middle Eastern cuisines, incorporate it into Western dishes to encourage trial with your guests. We know you’re well versed in what to do with a spicy sauce, so go for it!
Last but not least is tahini (also referred to as tehina), which you may be more familiar with than you think as it’s a staple ingredient in hummus—toasted ground sesame seed. An upward trend in menu growth for the past decade and a boom in Middle Eastern fare proves this ingredient isn’t going anywhere. But have you really explored all that tahini can do? Its creamy and nutty nature makes it perfect for dips, sauces, glazes, marinades, and even desserts. Have you seen the Goldie Tehina Shake? It’s a delectable take on a milkshake from a vegan, Israeli-style falafel shop in Philly. This guest favorite comes in flavors Original, Turkish Coffee, Mint Chocolate, and Date.
Sampling these flavors is sure to excite your taste buds. We hope you’ll seek them out soon and find creative ways to incorporate them into your own menu items. We’d love to help you create your next hit menu item, so let’s talk about a FlavorIQ® approach that’s right for your operation.  For a further look into Middle Eastern Eats, see our trend spotlight for menu inspiration and a recipe video. Or read what Chef Michael Hornback has to say of these cuisines in his recent blog post. Happy taste testing!

Joe Beitzel
Brand Marketing Director
Custom Culinary, Inc.

This article was originally published on Custom Culinary’s Chef Talk. To learn more about Custom Culinary, visit



What’s Cooking? Surprise, It’s Not Meat!

It’s not often that the industry gets to welcome a whole new category to the menu. But that’s exactly what’s happening with the latest plant-based alternatives to meat.

In response to a rising demand for sustainable, healthy ways to eat, plant-based proteins are popping up on menus all over the globe1. And unlike traditional tofu, tempeh, or even early meat alternatives, these new foods capture the taste and texture of real meat and poultry, making them a hit with all kinds of consumers, from vegans and vegetarians to flexitarians.

These advances come as many consumers are looking for ways to reduce their meat consumption. Whether they’re changing their eating habits out of concern for their health, the environment, animal welfare, or other reasons, people are actively looking for options when they’re dining out.

While this trend began in fast food, these products are becoming widely accepted in different channels around the world. It all adds up to create an exciting opportunity for you. To help you make the most of it, we’ve put together a primer on these new products, who’s eating them and why, and how you can make the most of them to satisfy this new demand.

History of Meat Alternatives

history of meat alternatives

People have been using grain to make the center of plate for a long time, but the products that recreate the look, taste, and texture of beef or chicken so closely are more recent cooking innovations.

Some key historical dates:

200 BC: Soy-based tofu is invented in China by the Han dynasty. 

535 AD: Use of wheat gluten as protein is recorded in a Chinese agricultural encyclopedia. 

1800: Tempeh is made from fermented soybeans in Indonesia. 

1877: John Harvey Kellogg develops meat replacements from nuts, grains, and soy to feed patients in his vegetarian sanitarium in the US. 

1902: Dietitian Sarah Tyson Rorer publishes Mrs. Rorer’s Vegetable Cookery and Meat Substitutes in the US. 

1962: Marushima Shoyu K.K sells wheat gluten as “seitan” in Japan. It is imported to the US seven years later. 

1985: Soy schnitzel is created in Israel and mushroom-based meat alternatives in the UK. 

2015: Realistic raw-to- cooked beef alternatives become mainstream in consumer and quick service restaurant markets. 


  1. Eat Lancet, 2019

This article was originally published the Make it Sizzle — The New Plant-based Meat Alternatives issue of Nutripro: Nestlé Professional Nutrition Magazine. To read the full magazine, click here.


Ozone: A Powerful Weapon to Combat COVID-19 Outbreak

For more than 100 years, ozone, considered a killer of viruses in nature, has been widely used by people for disinfection, sterilization, deodorization, disintoxication, storage, and bleaching thanks to its strong oxidablity.

And because of this, ozone should be adopted as a weapon in the global fight against COVID-19. It has three following attributes:

  • Full coverage: Ozone created by ozone generators or electrostatic air purifiers can reach every corner of the environment, which can overcome the problem that ultraviolet sterilization can only go straight up and down, leaving some places unsterilized.
  • High detergency: Oxidizing bacteria and virus is how ozone works, with no poisonous residue. On the contrary, the chemical disinfectant we use now is not only harmful to human body, but also will cause secondary population of poisonous residue. During the current epidemic, the overuse of disinfecting water has been a serious problem that we should pay attention to.
  • Convenience: Ozone can be produced by simple equipment. The equipment, large or small, can be used for a single room, a large public space, or public transportation modes such as buses, high-speed railways, ships and airplanes.

The effectiveness of ozone in treating bacteria and virus is not only related to its concentration, temperatures, humidity and exposure time, but also related to the strains of bacteria.

According to results of the experiment on how ozone kills SARS virus conducted by the national P3 laboratory headed by Professor Li Zelin, ozone is effective in killing the SARS virus inoculated on green monkey kidney cells, realizing a killing rate of 99.22%. The virus found in Wuhan and SARS virus both belong to the coronavirus. Researchers found that the novel coronavirus is 80% similar to the SARS virus in their genome sequences. It is reasonable to predict that ozone is equally effective in preventing and controlling the new coronavirus.

Ozone, though highly effective for sterilization and disinfection, will cause discomfort, or irritate mucous membranes, when it reaches a certain concentration level. Therefore, it is mainly used in unmanned environment.

If ozone can be used in a human environment to kill the new coronavirus and clean air, it will be a blessing to use it in crowded hospitals, factories, public spaces, closed public transportation, and indoor homes.

Whether ozone can take effect heavily depends on our ability to control its concentration levels. The volatile gas is easy to produce, but difficult to be controlled at a certain level, because of the cost of ozone sensors. Without the real-time test of sensors, it is out of the question to control its concentration.

If ozone can be controlled under a safe level by cheap and effective measures, ozone can be more easily used by people, which will lead to its use in human environment. Therefore, how to dramatically reduce the cost of ozone sensors is the challenge to be addressed at the moment.

Amid the epidemic, it is suggested that we can reasonably heighten standards for indoor ozone levels and try using ozone for disinfection and sterilization in human environment. Fortunately, Zhang Yue has donated ozone-generating purifiers to Huoshenshan Hospital and cubic hospitals, hoping this equipment can play a role in protecting medics’ lives and saving infected patients.

The relationship between ozone and microorganism demonstrates the exquisite balance on living bodies on earth. On the one hand, without the protection of the ozone layer, bacteria and virus cannot be found on earth, and on the other hand, ozone with strong oxidablity will kill bacteria and virus. People’s knowledge of ozone is still far from enough. We should abandon the prejudice of ozone, the over vigilance of ozone, try to solve the puzzle of ozone, and fully explore the characteristics of ozone for human use. We must secure the help of ozone at the time of the new coronavirus epidemic. We must work together to make good use of ozone to defeat the epidemic.


Worldchefs’ Global Partner Q Industries‘ Medklinn product with CerafusionTM Technology helps to kill the virus accordingly. Explore in the graphic below how CerafusionTM create O3 like the nature does as well as how O3 work to kill virus & bacteria.

To read more about Medklinn technology, check out this article in Issue 24 of Worldchefs Magazine.

Learn more at and contact their team via for more information.


The article’s author, Zhou Muzhi, is a professor of Tokyo Keizai University and president of Cloud River Urban Research Institute.

This article was originally published on

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