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Erudus 2016: A Year in Review

As 2017 is now upon us, and the door on 2016 is firmly closed, we wanted to take a moment to look back at the past year and share our thoughts, findings and plans with you.

2016, the year that Brexit divided Britain, Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton in the race to the White House and underdogs Leicester City did the unthinkable by winning the Premier League. A little closer to home, it was another strong, albeit extremely busy, year for Erudus.

We released a number of new features and enhancements to the various Erudus products, improving quick search, data validation and speed to name a few. 2016 was the year we launched our API program, News Takeaway and Support Desk. We relocated offices and made some key operational decisions and [appointments] to help Erudus to deliver a better product and service to our users and the food industry.

Over the course of the year we’ve had countless conversations with food manufacturers, wholesalers, foodservice companies, caterers, industry bodies, developers and government departments. The single recurring topic we keep hearing is ‘Product Master Data’. Granted it has many different meanings and even phrases to describe it depending on which sector of the food industry you speak with, but fundamentally everyone across the industry and beyond is looking for better ways to access, manage and maintain ‘Product Master Data’.

‘Product Master Data’ has fast moved up the agendas of many wholesale and foodservice companies in 2016 as they search for a solution to feed their ERP systems and websites. Big brand data appears to be the main concern with own label and local suppliers being more accommodating. We keep hearing that a single wholesaler is too small to influence a global brand, in order for the brand to provide the data in a manner or format that is helpful to the individual wholesaler.

We understand the issue. There are hundreds of different systems and solutions out there which wholesalers are using and this would be an enormous undertaking for a global brand. That’s where we believe our collaborative approach is the answer. A single place for the brand to feed ‘Product Master Data’ to multiple wholesalers easily, quickly and at low cost.

‘Product Master Data’ has fast moved up the agenda for many wholesale, foodservice and food manufacturing companies as they search for a solution to feed data to their customers and systems.

Feedback from food manufacturers also seems to reinforce that the topic of ‘Product Master Data’ is moving higher on their agendas as they search for improved solutions to streamline the communication of their product data to the wider industry.

We believe Erudus is that solution and we must be doing something right, as we welcomed a number of new wholesalers and manufacturers onboard in 2016. Erudus remains a collaborative solution. With each individual wholesaler, manufacturer and caterer that comes on board the overall value received by each user group increases.

We are sure in 2017 we will welcome more and more users to Erudus and continue to increase the value it provides. We are reaching out to all corners of the food industry to get behind us and join our collaborative solution.

Our solution relies on all corners of the industry coming together and despite 60 manufacturers deciding to cease use of Erudus in 2016, mainly due to the introduction of a charge, we still made an overall net gain of +84 manufacturers, finishing the year with 1,219 signed up manufacturers hosting 30,237 products, live and available to 49 wholesale/foodservice companies using Erudus.

Our Top Four 2016 Highlights

1) News Takeaway

We wanted a better way to communicate upcoming changes, industry news and ways to help you make the most of Erudus so in June we launched ‘News Takeaway’.

News Takeaway is our latest news webpage, which you can view here and monthly email newsletter, which we hope you’ve signed up for! Since launching in June we have received 7,500+ new subscribers. On average that’s 1,200 new sign-ups per month.

2) Support Desk

In August we launched our Support Desk to better serve our users when they needed help. Since launch we’ve helped 576 users, averaging 115 users contacting us each month. The Support Desk helps us to respond quicker and ensures we don’t miss any emails. We will be working hard in 2017 to improve the speed of response and the quality of help we provide.

3) API Programme

At the beginning of 2016 we launched our API Program for developers, with the first phase of the API Program being the ‘Manufacturer API’. The API enables machine to machine data entry allowing manufacturers to enter and update their product specifications to Erudus. Internally this was our highlight of 2016, requiring a lot of work from the Erudus team to make it happen. It is just the start but it signifies where we want to go longer term with our API Program.

4) Allergy Icons

We use icons in our ‘Allergen & Nutritional Data Search’ product to graphically represent food allergen ingredients. This standardised visual approach allows the user, at a glance, to easily recognise and quickly interpret if a product they are selling, cooking or eating contains any of the 14 major food allergen ingredients.

We decided to share our icons with the food industry in a bid to drive a standardised approach to the graphical representation of food allergens. They are free to use in your own media both online and offline and we would encourage you to take a look.

Interesting Stats from 2016

  1. For the second year running, ‘Cranberry Sauce’ is the most searched for product during the months of November and December.
  2. Overall Erudus usage up 154% on 2015. Users are visiting and utilising Erudus products more often and for longer.
  3. Mobile usage continues to rise with iPhone and Samsung Galaxy devices leading the way. Mobile up 210% on 2015.
  4. Tablet usage rises 280% on 2015 with iPad the most popular tablet device.
  5. The user base is getting younger! 34% of all Erudus users are under the age of 30, up 12% on 2015.

Looking Forward, 2017

2017 is upon us and can you believe we are halfway through January already? Christmas, turkey and searches for cranberry sauce are already a distant memory. We’ve started the year as we ended 2016, with a lot in the pipeline, and here is what you can expect in the not too distant future:

Recipe Builder – Our latest product is now live and available for Wholesalers and Caterers to sign up to. Learn more about the Recipe Builder.

Wholesale API beta – We have an API ready to go live for wholesalers, foodservice companies and other demand users wishing to extract data out of Erudus (machine to machine) to feed their ERP system, website or mobile apps. Discover more about the Wholesale API.

We’ve got plenty more new features and enhancements up our sleeves for later this year, more details to follow so watch this space!

From all the Erudus team, Happy New Year to you and thank you for your support in 2016. May 2017 be a great year for you all!