The food and beverages industry has moved from imitation to innovation in recent years. However, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic halted the growth of the industry. The pandemic significantly disrupted the businesses’ daily operations as well as consumer behavior across the industry. Increased demand for packaged food and beverages, cashless payments, improved safety measures, online delivery, are some of the prominent trends introduced by the pandemic.
To thrive in a competitive space like the food and beverages sector, companies have to adapt and keep up with the latest trends. Leaders in the industry also need to be vigilant and have a flexible leadership style to embrace the change. They must be acquainted with the changing dynamics of the industry and have an insightful approach to take their company forward in these challenging times. Joseph Best (Founder and CEO of Ideation) is a prime example of an astute leader diligently marshaling his troops to take the company towards growth.
An Esteemed Career
Joseph is a serial entrepreneur having started more than ten different businesses in seven different industries. He pursued his undergraduate degree in Marketing and Management from the University of Southern Mississippi. Later, he completed MBA in Accounting and Finance from the Emory University Goizueta Business School. Joseph started his career with what is now called Accenture and focused on growing companies for other owners. He worked with several companies such as Quality Wine & Spirits, Atlanta Wholesale Wine, Inventor’s Universe, Directional Software and Project Management Services.
In 2008—while serving as the President and CEO of Quality Wine & Spirits—Joseph founded H&F Bread CO, LLC (H&F) to offer the best fresh bread in the Southeast to the Atlanta Market. After twelve years of supplying the finest bread solutions to restaurants throughout the State of Georgia, joseph recognized the devastation the restaurant community would face due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He orchestrated a dramatic shift in H&F’s business model. “Changing our business model, and company name from H&F to Ideation to focus on the ‘better for you’ lifestyle products and selling to retail channels saved the company,” he states.
Throughout his distinguished career, Joseph has received several awards and accolades including the Boardman Entrepreneur of the Year from the University of Southern Mississippi. He also supports the local community by serving on several advisory boards including past board positions with Staplehouse and The High Museum of Art. Presently, he is looking forward to working with Ideation’s partners by providing world-class solutions to an ever-growing customer base.
Enhancing the Dining Experience
Joseph established Ideation with an aim to fill a niche, supplying Great Bread to restaurants that wanted “To enhance the dining experience with artisan baked goods of the highest quality and consistency”—which is the mission statement of the company today. Starting with a single baker and three assistants in 2008 operating in an 1800 square foot facility, Ideation has expanded to a staff of more than 190 employees with four Head Bakers, two R&D teams, and ten Baking Managers operating two facilities with nine different production lines.
Turn-key Solutions and Products
From its world-class research and development team to innovative manufacturing and packaging solutions, Ideation provides turn-key solutions for all its customers. Its R&D department keeps the customers’ businesses competitive by providing insights into the market and developing new services/products or improving the existing ones according to the brand tenents.
Moreover, the company has massive production capabilities—that utilize the processes and techniques that convert raw materials or semi-finished goods into finished products or services using various tools and technology. Alongside production capabilities, Ideation’s packaging capabilities are in line with the latest packaging offerings in the industry.
The products made at Ideation include,
- Gluten: In its 20,000 Square foot facility, the company has lines to manufacture and package cookies, brownies, edible cookies dough, and more.
- Gluten-Free: Ideation has a myriad of product solutions and fully integrated market offerings for emerging brands in its 50,000 square foot dedicated gluten-free facility.
- Allergen/Allergen Free: The company processes Allergens in a controlled environment with a strong commitment to food safety, to meet individual unique food needs and concerns.
- Band and Rack Ovens: With all of its ovens, Ideation has wire and rotary capabilities to manufacture an assortment of crackers, cookies, bites, granola, and assorted snacks.
Besides these, Ideation is also planning to launch Cold Line—a dedicated cold farm bar line with built-in enrobing stations that can process and pack up to 300 bars a minute.
Prioritizing Customer Satisfaction
Customer satisfaction is one of the ultimate goals of any business. Ideation also emphasizes customer satisfaction with its innovative solutions. The company is often heaped with praises from its customers. Satisfied with Ideation’s service, Austin G., one of its customers says, “Working with H&F has been phenomenal and we are blessed to have them as a partner. Their staff is friendly and they produce high-quality, consistent products. Their R&D team too has been a great benefit to our business and has allowed us to quickly develop new products to be more competitive within the space.”
Aspirations for the Future
Ideation is presently expanding the Gluten-free facility to allow for growth. Part of the expansion will allow the company to add cooling equipment which will enhance its products and improve product shelf life. Moving forward, as customers grow, Ideation is looking to add levels of automation that reduce headcounts and increase profits. These new equipment will also offer manufacturing and packing capabilities to the company’s customers.