Some innovations surprise and others delight: new flavours, new technologies, new marketing ideas and new packaging.
In the last days of March, we ran a story on FoodBev.com about US-based Stonyfield Farm’s launch of Frozen Yogurt Pearls through a collaboration with Massachusetts-based WikiFoods. To my mind, it’s the most important innovation of the year so far.
There’s a video on FoodBev.com and YouTube featuring Stonyfield Farms chairman and founder Gary Hirshberg and Harvard University professor and founder of Wikifoods Inc, David Edwards. It’s worth investing three minutes of your life. I think it’s inspiring.
In the video, Gary says: “We began Stonyfield in 1983 with the idea that business should be part of the solutions to what ails our planet. We should attack ideas like waste, attack ideas like using chemicals, attack ideas like not treating family farmers well … And ever since the beginning of the company, I’ve been obsessed with packaging. I’ve always believed that we should use less. In fact, my ultimate obsession was always when you finished eating the yogurt, you should eat the cup!”
The film cuts to David Edwards, who explains: “Wikifoods is a vision of a totally new way in which we package food and beverage so that we eliminate the wasteful packaging that’s so present in food and beverage. We’re using the rules of nature to wrap food and beverage in edible skins, like grape skins or the white endoderm of a coconut.”
Gary continues: “I first became aware of David’s work reading about him in a magazine article, and I called him right away, because of course this was the dream. This was something I’d been dreaming about for 30 years.”
David adds: “So I was interested in creating, through art and design and frontier of science, completely new ways of delivering food and beverage – delivering excitement and pleasure and deep nutritional value and yet with minimal side effects, either to human health or to the environment.”
Gary concludes: “The important thing to understand about this technology is that the opportunities are unlimited. There are meal solutions, there are snack solutions, there are treats, it’s for kids, for adults, it’s for one-handed eating – which is now very popular – it’s for the on-the-go culture, but also it’s for a conscious culture. So you can have the possibility of food equalling health, no waste, no mess, no environmental footprint … and, unbelievable taste. That sounds like a complete win for everybody.”
But of course, like all great innovations, some aspects can be literally ahead of their time. Stonyfield Frozen Yogurt Pearls are so groundbreaking that retail spaces aren’t yet equipped to sell them completely package-free. So, for now, they will initially be sold in small, biodegradable wood-based cellulose bags located in the freezer section. But that doesn’t matter.
What matters is that this is real innovation … taking a real problem and solving it. And what makes it best of all is that the solution is completely natural. How on-trend is that?
So, real innovation in every sense. Right now, we’re in the run-up to entries closing for the World Dairy Innovation Awards – the annual celebration of the best and most creative ideas on dairy, worldwide.
Do you have you a game-changing innovation? Enter now at our FoodBev Awards website.
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