This year’s Asia Food Innovation Awards is set to be competitive. Our judges have laid out what they seek to find in successful participants.
For more information about the awards, click here.
Mayank Trivedi – President and CEO of Nestle Xiamen Yinlu Foods
Food and beverage innovation has truly taken off in the past few years and we now see many exciting products around the world – especially in USA and China – which are innovative on many levels: concept, recipe experimentation, packaging format, label design, and so on. However, not every innovation put on the shelf guarantees sustainable success and, hence, it helps to be mindful of the following while judging what a true innovation is.
What’s the consumer insight which has driven this innovation? Why do we believe the insight is deep and sharp and whether it can be applies to a large section of consumers or is niche in terms of business potential?
How simple and strong is the concept and proposition? The simpler, sharper and more focused it is, the easier it will be for the consumer to understand.
Will it survive the long term? Fads come and go but true innovations sustain for the longer term and make better business sense.
Financial viability – can the innovation bring sustainable profitable growth over the medium or long term?
Is sustainability an integral part of the innovation thinking? Environmental considerations, recyclability, ethics, and fair trade are very critical ingredients of a successful innovation.
For Trivedi’s LinkedIn, click here.
Samantha Dumont – Creative director, Cowan London
I am delighted to be judging in the FoodBev Asia Food Innovation Awards this year, and am looking forward to seeing the breadth of innovation submitted. The main aspects that I hope to see in the entries are…
A great first impression
Being a brand designer, I firstly expect the innovation to make a great initial impression, be it at point of purchase or first interaction. It should have real impact and a feeling of ‘that’s new’ and make the consumers want to interrogate further.
I will be looking for a simple, big idea that is genuinely original. This can be either a totally unique concept or idea, or a new twist on a current idea that hasn’t been done before.
I will be looking for an innovation that offers tangible benefits that address an insight or a specific consumer need and make a real difference through concept, service, product or packaging. The innovation needs to be relevant to the audience and the market, should not be a gimmick, and have genuine longevity.
It’s all in the detail
First impressions are key but I would also expect the innovation to be executed really well throughout, so that the whole experience holds together. I will look for attention to detail in design, communication, message and use.
The creator must ensure that the innovation is working, using sustainable practices throughout, and that the product or service is transparent to consumers.
For Dumont’s LinkedIn, click here.
Jason Yu – General manager of Kantar Worldpanel, Greater China
I am delighted to serve the judging panel for Asia Food Innovation Awards 2019. The food and beverage market is extremely dynamic and exceptional innovations are constantly found as key drivers to deliver incremental category growth. Below are a few criteria that I will use to make my decision.
Uncover new consumer needs or moment of truth – truly innovative products are always those that can create new ‘moments of consumption’ based on true consumer or shopper insights. Those ‘moments’ can be a new occasion or a new way of consuming the product.
New and innovative ingredient and product mixes that balance great taste and health – obviously this can mean different things in different market contexts.
Help consumers to manage active lifestyle – today’s consumers are always challenged by a lack of time, and health and active lifestyle needs.
Social responsibilities – this can be manifested through a plant-based ecosystem, or reduced and recyclable packaging.
Eye-catching packaging design – engaging consumers in stores and before reaching the shelves, the product needs to look interesting and create an emotional bond with consumers. Packaging is often the place where your brand experience starts.
For Yu’s LinkedIn, click here.
Jeremy Nguee – Prominent Chef & Culinary Consultant
Bold and Brave
The product should fill a category that has not been explored or meets an unmet need in the market.
Protects our heritage
The product should create opportunity for cottage industries at risk or awareness for environmental protection.
Profitability is important but building a sustainable community around the product creates longevity and up-skilling opportunities for workers.
Demonstrates scalability or viability
A good idea with a proof of concept will only remain that way unless it can be made accessible to the target audience.
The product must make us excited. It could be through the packaging, the brand story or even the promise of infinite deliciousness.
For Nguee’s LinkedIn, click here.
Ben Ebbrell – Co-founder & chef for SortedFood
The beauty of SortedFood is that we sit, as a community of over 2.5 million global millennials, at the heart of a bubbling and vibrant conversation around food, cooking, nutrition and the changing world we live in. The engagement we interact with on a daily basis provides insights into what the current and next generation of consumers are truly looking for.
I’m excited to part of the Innovation Awards, to find and highlight passionate new start-ups who are bringing some of these learnings to life. In particular:-
Effortlessly educating the consumer
Research may well highlight the necessity of sustainability, nutrition, gut biome and diet diversity, but how does the industry reliably educate the everyday consumer? What approach is taken on packaging so that the products stand out for the right reasons?
Reintroducing long-lost ingredients or ideas
We learn so much from our ancestors. It’s always good to reignite ideas and approaches that have fallen out of fashion, or are simply yet to be scaled to new territories where they are less familiar. The richness and depth of some of these stories make for a brilliant narrative behind a product.
Products or concepts that are universally helpful
Many new innovations are launched at the premium end of the market. Yet, we live in a world where affordable, safe, nutritious and interesting food has to be developed for all.
The perfect new innovation is one that sparks the imagination of the millennial consumer, meeting a variety of their ever-growing demands, whilst remaining sustainable and responsible to our increasingly fragile planet.
For Ebbrell’s LinkedIn, click here.
Damien Lee – Founder and CEO Mr Lee’s Pure Foods
Having founded and sold several businesses from Denmark to Sweden, Singapore, France and Afghanistan, Lee expects to see brands with international ambition and intentions to launch within key markets worldwide and outside of their country of origin. Disruption should be a key player in the decision to enter these markets, and brands should display innovative thinking and cutting-edge product ingenuity.
Damien would like to see a brand essence or ‘core’ devoted to good-will, environment agency and corporate social responsibility. This could include efforts towards sustainable packaging, having a low-emission supply chain, and positive social agency through giving back to local communities or governing charitable organisations; committed to hands-on projects and product distribution.
There is an expectation that brands should make efforts towards sourcing more high-quality, healthier ingredients that have positive benefits to their consumers. No longer can brands be ‘untrustworthy’, hiding and deceiving consumers about how their products are produced and what’s exactly inside them. This could include reducing or removing “nasties” from their products, partnering with food certification authorities, or future product launches pushing the boundaries of nutritional integrity.
For Lee’s LinkedIn, click here.
Martyn Garrod – Creative director, Carter Wong Design
It is an exciting time full of opportunity for new brands. However, with more challenger brands in the market, shelf space has become difficult not only to get on, but more importantly to stay on.
There are many ways you can tackle this challenge, but branding is a very powerful tool that done correctly will set you apart. Therefore from a brand perspective, I will be judging with the following in mind:
What makes you different?
What are you offering that no one else is? Are you creating a product that no one else is or are you doing this in a better way? Are these differences clearly projected?
Is it attention-grabbing?
The product could be the most innovative product but if it doesn’t capture the attention then you will never be picked off those shelves, let alone be put in a basket.
Is it positioned well?
You need to know your audience and how to position your brand in a way that speaks to them.
Does it have longevity?
Will it last the test of time or is it a flash in the pan?
For Garrod’s LinkedIn, click here.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2020