Meet Andrea Ramirez
Position: Consumer & Customer Market Insight Manager
Torani Team Member Since: 2001
When most people take a sip of a Salted Caramel Latte or a Cherry Lime Italian Soda they’re unaware of the magic that goes on behind the scenes of flavor innovation and food science. Enter Andrea, Torani’s Consumer & Customer Market Insight Manager. Through her love of trend adventuring and passion for flavor excellence, her distinctly unique skills make her Torani’s secret ingredient to mix up beverage perfection. Not only is she insanely talented, she’s a pleasure to work with. We sat down with her (over a couple of lattes, of course) to learn about her journey at Torani and what gets her excited about being on the Torani team.
WHO IS ANDREA?
What was your first job at Torani?
I started as a temp here and then I became a marketing assistant. Gosh, it was so small back then. Our Marketing offices were in the back of the building when I had first started, and I helped a lot with graphic design back then.
What's your typical day like?
I’m one of the people who’s a little bit of a late starter. We have a lot of early risers but I tend to stay a little later. I usually start out by making a cup of coffee. I participate in sensory evaluation meetings a few times a week where we evaluate new products. I spend a lot of time on email processing, since I’m subscribed to 100 some-odd newsletters. I help provide insights about our industry, what's happening with people in the world, what's happening with flavor, and I’m looking at a number of sources at any given time. My day-to-day involves data collection and analysis, reading syndicated reports, and analyzing all of that content through the lens of what it means to our customers to help them grow their business.
What would you say your favorite Torani drink is?
I'm one of those people whose favorite drink really varies by time of day, by a season, and by a mood. You might see me in the morning having something like a hot caramel latte made with Caramel Sauce. In the afternoon I sometimes will do ice coffee and if we're lucky and somebody has gone out of their way to make cold brew, I'll have some of that too because I do like a little jolt of caffeine in the afternoon.
What would you say are your favorite Torani flavors?
My favorite flavor for refreshments is Ruby Red Grapefruit. I just love it! It's tart and bright and there's a good pithiness in it with zest. It's just a really delicious flavor. For a hot flavor, I love our Caramel Sauce. The new Candied Sesame Syrup is another one that I think is really, super tasty for like an iced milk tea or for cold brew.
“My day-to-day involves data collection and analysis, reading syndicated reports, and analyzing all of that content through the lens of what it means to our customers to help them grow their business.”
Tell us about a favorite moment at work?
We have these monthly trend discovery meetings that are really fun. It's something that put on with our R&D and marketing team. We bring in all sorts of products, and it's a way for us to get excited about new interesting products in the market. Last month, we did one where we brought in 10 different kinds of apples and got to try them. We have people firmly on team Honeycrisp, but I'm on team Lady Alice. It was really fun to learn something new and it gives you a chance to get inspired. It’s fun to dive into nuances of all sorts of stuff.
What would you say is the most rewarding part of your job?
I love the fact that I don't work on the exact same thing every single day. I have a lot of novelty in my job and I am one of those people that has an attention span that's jumping all over the place. It's great for me to get to pursue things that I'm really interested in. I get to figure out larger patterns that are happening with them.
What are the interesting food/drink trends you’ve seen?
Over the last few years, we’ve seen flavors come about from things that aren’t flavors. For example, we’ve seen black colored drinks where the color comes from black sesame or activated charcoal. That’s been kind of an interesting thing because there isn’t a whole lot of black food in nature! You’ve seen things like a unicorn, flamingo, and all these fanciful ideas that are spreading in similar ways.
Are there any interesting flavors you’ve helped create?
Well 10 years ago, we started seeing all sorts of things happening with bacon. I don't typically work on the products themselves. I mean, I’m in some aspects of the product development process, but I'm not the marketer that is helping launch them or create products – but I offer input. The one product that I did launch is our Bacon Syrup that went viral. We never thought it would be as successful. No one is going to have a Bacon Latte over a Vanilla Latte, but it was a lot of fun and a good learning experience.
“I love the fact that I don't work on the exact same thing every single day.”
What's the funniest thing that’s happened to you while working here?
One time, probably, 10-15 years ago, I was at the Fancy Food tradeshow. I ran into Mary Beth Evans from Days of our Lives. My co-worker, Matt, and I were so excited because of our obsession with that show. It was ridiculous but it was awesome at the same time.
What would you say is your greatest achievement at Torani?
I have seen my work directly reflected in watching our shelf sets grow in different retail chains. I’ve seen different programs come and go (in restaurants) and even launched some from scratch. I think those are the best because that’s what ultimately grows our company, and the programs I work on are what helps sell product. It's also pretty cool to see something out in the wild after planning for so long.
What does “opportunity for all” mean to you?
For me, it's given me the opportunity to pursue what gets me fired up and what I’m into. People don’t stay at companies for 18 years when they hate their work. There are a lot of people who have been here for a long time. They give me the ability to pursue something different and meet all sorts of amazing people. I get to see what's happening in multiple markets. I think I’m the only person here who’s taken a trip to Romania in the name of work (note: I visited the International School of Gelato -Talk about an amazing job perk!). Turns out there's a very vibrant café scene there, so it was a very cool place to be and I learned a lot!