MONIN explores customer curiosity for quality and locality of products


A positive by-product of the pandemic is customer’s growing curiosity of the products they consume. When it comes to using MONIN’s syrups, only the highest quality ingredients are used, and taste is never compromised.

Gianni Panetta has been making coffee since he was 13 years old. In almost 20 years working in the hospitality industry, Gianni has seen his customers’ relationship with dairy and dairy alternatives evolve.

“Coffee in 95 per cent of the world is a luxury item, but in Australia and New Zealand, it’s a necessity. No matter how high coffee prices go up, even with the base-price of dairy rising in recent months, people still want their coffee,” says Gianni, Co-Owner of Baby Coffee Co in Sydney.

“It’s interesting to see that people aren’t so much price-focused when they’re ordering their coffee. They know it’s going to be expensive. They’re interested in spending a few dollars extra as long as it delivers on taste and quality. At the same time, I think the demand for alternative drinks will go through the roof. People are intrigued.”

For those that are committed to making a beverage choice for sustainability and health reasons, Baby Coffee Co serves Bonsoy for its soy product, and Milklab for its oat, almond and lactose-free milk.

“Not only are we seeing demand for these products, but customers are asking us if we have a specific brand,” Gianni says. “The uptake of lactose-free in particular has been off the charts. We didn’t have it on the menu until six months ago, but once we got into rhythm from lockdown in December 2021, we had big demand for it.”

On the weekends, Baby Coffee Co comes alive with its “boozy cocktail brunch menu”, but during the week, Gianni says it’s been interesting to watch his clientele shift from having a second or third coffee a day, to an alternative beverage.

As such, Gianni says introducing MONIN’s range of syrups and flavours to his menu was a “no brainer”.

“We use MONIN’s staple flavours behind the bar, including its Hazelnut, Caramel, and Vanilla syrups, but we’ve also included their products in about five or six different dishes over the years,” he says.

Currently, Baby Coffee Co uses MONIN’s Passion Fruit syrup in a cream catalana, a Spanish-style crème brûlée; and has a brisket noodle salad with soy mayonnaise, flavoured with MONIN Salted Caramel syrup for a bitter, sweet, salty flavour.

On the drinks menu, Baby Coffee Co serves a Salted Caramel hot chocolate using Mork’s dark chocolate with MONIN’s Salted Caramel syrup, and popcorn affogato with MONIN’s Popcorn syrup that Gianni says “smells like the movies”. Until recently, it also had a toasted marshmallow affogato with MONIN Toasted Marshmallow syrup on the menu, and in the warmer months, Gianni likes using MONIN’s Peach Ice Tea syrup and Lemon Ice Tea syrup for non-coffee beverages.

John Davidson, Head of Advocacy and Innovation at Stuart Alexander, the exclusive distributor of MONIN in Australia, says it’s thanks to the rise of the “conscious consumer” that the brand is reaching a new demographic.

“MONIN largely uses all natural products and aims to use 100 per
cent natural ingredients by 2030. There are no GMOs (genetically modified organisms), artificial flavours, preservatives, or sweeteners in the majority of its products. It relies on the best sugar cane syrup with the most beautiful texture,” John says.

Most MONIN products also gluten free, vegan friendly and dairy-free. Trending MONIN flavours aligned to these credentials include its Almond, Caramel, Chai Tea, Coconut, Hazelnut, Roasted Hazelnut, and Vanilla syrups.

“It’s always an added bonus when you can show someone the drinks menu and point out the row of little icons that say: ‘vegan or gluten free’. That’s when you see a menu come to life and people can feel a bit better about the drink in their hands,” John says.

Past 12pm, John says customers look to a beverage beyond coffee, and a good way to get people through the door is to offer a Spritz with MONIN Roasted Hazelnut syrup, or a really dark ginger beer, rum or cola with an added MONIN syrup.

“Australians are so open to trying new things, and with MONIN syrups, not only is it inviting, but it’s bulletproof on a shelf. You don’t need to think about any harmful ingredients or additives, and that’s the point, because you want to feel good about what you give to consumers,” John says.

All MONIN Syrups are also halal certified.

“Australia is such a multicultural place, with great worldly cuisines, so we do a lot of work with Lebanese restaurants. Where they don’t serve alcohol, they rely on our portfolio of amazing flavours that align with their religious and ethical guidelines to create amazing beverage experiences, which can often be hard to do,” John says.

“Even though MONIN started out with these credentials, it’s looking to keep pioneering and pushing itself and being aligned with the values of consumers all around the world.”

Georges Monin started the company in 1912 during WWI, manufacturing liquor. His son, Paul Monin, took over the reign of the company in 1945 during WWII and steered the product development toward syrups. The current company President, Olivier Monin, has now taken the family-owned business
to a global level, with its collection of flavours available in more than 140 countries.

MONIN sources the best ingredients possible to create its range of syrups. Ingredients that can be picked off a tree, are. The Monin family is so committed to quality flavour production that Olivier Monin himself has created his own Yuzu farm to harvest from.

The company has several factories around the world, including a newly opened facility in Florida, United States, in addition one on the coast of North American and in Brazil.

custoWith access to a broad spectrum of flavours, John says the creativity of using MONIN syrups is limited only by the creator.

“MONIN is the tool in the arsenal that people can use to add intrigue, easy colour, excitement, or life to a serve. It will always let coffee be the hero, much like gin will always be a hero in a cocktail. You might start a customer with a simple vanilla latte, but then there’s a whole host of amazing signature drinks you can create and explore, and we’ve seen people like Danny Wilson (2022 Australian Coffee in Good Spirits Champion) do for years. You just need to experiment,” John says.

He adds that all major cities in Australia are not short of creativity. Baristas and bartenders are influenced by the South Asia Pacific, London, New York, Tokyo, and Los Angeles, but Melbourne and Sydney are still big thought-leaders driving trends in the premium coffee space.

“There’s a really mature place Australia is sitting in right now that considers what we consume, questions live export, and celebrates local and our farmers, which are such a large part of our Australian identity. It goes hand-in-hand with what MONIN produces, what we believe in, and what we serve to customers.”

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This article appears in the August 2022 edition of BeanScene. Subscribe HERE.

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