Influencers are what it's all about in consumer marketing nowadays and also the team with BASF has heard this message. That's why BASF has teamed up with SORTEDfood, a UK-based YouTube cooking channel and global online community of food lovers. Set up in 2010 by school friends, SORTEDfood now unites over 3 million, mainly 18-34-year-old, digital ‘foodies’ globally, helping each other cook and eat smarter every day. Their most recent video, showing the BASF trial gardens, already has 250.000 views and was published only a day ago. Breeder Ben Silvertand with BASF is talked of as a tomato magician.
The partnership between SORTEDfood and BASF was established in early 2020, aiming to give this online community a ‘behind-the-scenes’ look at where their food comes from and showing how agricultural science and technology contribute to producing nutritious and sustainable food.
In the most recent video Youtubers Ben and Mike are challenged to create a dish celebrating a tomato with a difference… the Intense Tomato! "But first of all they’re hearing from the experts at BASF about how seed breeding is used to create this super flavoursome ingredient - will they learn enough to show it off in the most creative and interesting way? Can Mike beat the chef? Or will the pressure just get too INTENSE?", the introduction reads.
So far the responses on the video's featuring BASF are very positive. "I'm gonna be honest, if there are people out there breeding tomatoes for good flavour, I'm all for it. Too many varieties of store tomatoes are basically just water", one of the responses reads, where another says "What do you do for a living?" "I'm a tomato breeder." I am in the wrong job.". He's not the only one impressed by this job. "The absolute power of introducing yourself as a “tomato breeder”", somebody sighs, whereas the Youtubers themselves are quite impressed by the activities. “Is it like cross breeding dogs?” says one of them, whereas the other one explains what breeding is. “It’s like they took the flavour and turned the volume up on it.”
Great work of growers
“Modern farming is changing constantly, and it is our job to help food producers find the right balance between making a living, protecting the land and meeting the ever-changing consumer demands,” said Rob Gladwin, Head of Technical Management and Sustainability at BASF Agricultural Solutions UK & Ireland. “With this partnership we hope to highlight – particularly to younger consumers - the great work farmers do and the challenges they face, and also how our business supports them.”
The team’s first visit was to Hannah Darby, an arable farmer from eastern England and part of BASF’s Real Results Circle. SORTEDfood’s James Currie and Jamie Spafford went to Hannah’s farm to find out what goes into growing wheat, when and why she applies herbicides, fungicides and fertilisers and how varieties today differ from those of bygone times.
After speaking to Hannah, James reflected: “I don’t think, as a chef, that I know enough about where ingredients come from. So, doing this is very beneficial and it does make me appreciate where foods come from and how much effort it takes to make these things available to us. We have a lot to learn.”
The 20-minute YouTube ‘wheat’ episode went live on 20 September and received 250,000 views in the first 24 hours. It includes interviews with Alex Waugh, Director General of the National Association of British and Irish Flour Millers, who outlined how wheat and related grains like Emmer, are milled and processed for use in the kitchen, as well as Mike Green, BASF’s Agricultural Sustainability Manager who explained how farmers are growing wheat sustainably on UK farms.
Asked about SORTEDfood and the partnership with BASF, Mike explained: “What we love about these guys is how they inspire a young, engaged group of consumers passionate about their food. The SORTEDfood team are such great ambassadors for telling the real story of foods, and, with their strong emphasis on cooking with what you have in stock and can afford. Given the increase in home and whole-food cooking seen during the Covid-19 pandemic, we felt it was the right time to add to the conversation the tangible farming stories”.
After their farm visit and interviews, the SORTEDfood team took to the kitchen to create wheat-based dishes, using flour, wheat beer and semolina, celebrating the ingredients.
The BASF and SORTEDfood partnership will continue to run until the end of the year and highlight a range of farmers, experts, foods and recipes from all over the world.
BASF Vegetable Seeds