We asked our judges what innovation means to them when considering the winners for this year’s World Dairy Innovation Awards. Below are some of their responses, which can help you when entering our Dairy awards scheme, to be held at the Global Dairy Congress on the 26 June.
To find out more about the awards, click here.
I am absolutely honoured and thrilled to be on the judging panel for the 2019 World Dairy Innovation Awards.
Dairy products are incredibly versatile and offer a wide range of opportunities to innovate on many different levels. I am looking forward to be surprised and inspired by the ideas of innovative entrepreneurs who will present their products to the panel.
As a nutritionist by training I will be obviously looking at the aspect of nutrition. Consumers become more and more aware of the health benefits of dairy and I would love to see how smart innovation can further boost the already enormous natural health potential of dairy.
At the same time, taste is a crucial factor for the consumers and this should never be compromised. Novel, exotic flavours are definitely intriguing but it is also smart to bulid on what consumers love about the traditional dairy products – milky flavour, creaminess, freshness. I believe that simplicity and a right balance here is a key to success. As a passionate foodie, I truly regret we cannot taste the samples in this exercise!
Convenience for the consumer is another factor which plays an important role in our busy everyday lives. This takes into account intelligent and intuitive packaging that makes the product handy, and easy to use and consume. At the same time, the environmental impact is incredibly important nowadays, as this awareness is globally growing amongst consumers. I am sure that many innovators will be able to find great technological solutions to meet these high expectations.
Last but not least, the visual aspect of the packaging is crucial to attract the attention of the consumer in a competitive purchasing situation. I am looking forward to be aesthetically pleased but also surprised by beautiful designs. A lot of marketing is done via the packaging and consumers are becoming more sensitive, not only to the design of the package but also to the content of the food label – this is for me interlinked, and altogether should give a coherent and credible message about the product.
All these major factors combined should in the end create a value added for the consumer who would not hesitate to buy the innovative product again.
Not an easy task I imagine, but l am sure we will see some truly amazing products in this year’s World Dairy Innovation Awards competition! Best of luck!
I’m humbled and excited by the opportunity to have one of the first looks at the newest wave of emerging dairy brands at this year’s WDIA!
As a judge, I’ll be looking for the same things we look for when evaluating potential investment opportunities at AccelFoods:
Big Ideas: These are what create change, but they need to be actionable. It’s important that the brand or concept presents a significant market opportunity and path to scale in one or more categories that are large or growing quickly.
Challengers: Aim to throw the status quo out of the window. I’m looking for innovative products, packaging, and go-to-market strategies that push the boundaries of today’s food and beverage industry. Companies that are truly differentiated, and can uniquely fill the needs of consumers, are eye-catchers and ultimately the most successful because they have a true right to win on (and off) shelf.
People/Team: The thing that separates the good brands from the great ones is oftentimes who is at the helm. We consider management and leadership to be one of the most important factors in earlier stage investing. I want to support and reward entrepreneurs who hold themselves to the highest standards, prioritise doing things the right way, and live their brand ethos.
I’ll also more generally be thinking about the following aspects of a company when evaluating it:
I look forward to seeing what the applicants this year have in store for us, and wish them all the best of luck!
Innovation in any industry can be tough, but in the world of dairy, where the sub-categories are evolving, and trends and sentiments are shifting quickly, new dairy products face unique hurdles in the journey to market. That said, opportunities are also greater than ever.
There are so many more ways to engage target audiences and get messaging out there. More and more, consumers are seeking products and companies that speak to them and meet their needs as individuals. Personal values are driving purchase decisions as much as, if not more than, functionality. With these elements in mind, what I am hoping to understand from the entries can be encapsulated into two camps: The Idea and The Execution:
Congratulations to all the entrants on their submissions and I look forward to seeing your ideas!
Robert Van Gasteren
Like consumers, I believe corporates have discovered the importance of healthy nutrition and sustainable packaging at a fair price. I find it essential to get close to the end user and engage with them, almost personalising the experience through smart combinations of product “purpose”, design, branding, IT tooling and data.
My primary selection focus would be about:
Whenever we develop a new product I always look for three things and it will be the same when judging the awards.
Does it answer an unmet consumer need?
Coming to the UK from my native Russia, I couldn’t find a kefir that met the standards I expected, so I went about creating one. Similarly, I am expecting the entrants to have spotted a gap which can be filled by a value-adding product. Often people don’t know what they are looking for until it is presented to them and that is the real art in innovation – seeing what people want before they see it themselves.
Is it the best quality, most natural product it could be?
There is no excuse for poor quality. We are lucky to live in a time where ingredients and processes are better than ever before, so skimping on the best to save a few pence is in my book inexcusable. Better to offer the best product and win disproportionate volume because you are superior to the competition. And all-natural has to be a given. What we put into our bodies is so important that compromising with artificial ingredients just does not make sense to me.
Does it taste so good you want more?
None of the above matters if the product isn’t enjoyable. Food should be a source of pleasure, not an endurance test. If I go back for a second bite you may just be onto a winner.
The only constant is change. Consumers are demanding more from food innovators and producers and its tough to keep up. It’s amazing to be a part of these changes as the Dairy industry evolves and responds to what their customers are increasingly demanding.
As a judge, I’ll be looking for the same things we look for at Big Idea Ventures, specifically companies and founding teams with:
A big idea – How they’ll make their chosen category better and more relevant for consumers. A big idea responding to the increasingly demanding and educated consumers and a big idea which will make this innovator one of the leaders in their category over the next decade.
A vision – Identifying an opportunity in the market, a strong affinity to where consumers are moving. Not duplicating or mimicking other brands and products but being prepared to be give the consumers a better product.
A clean execution – A simple, clean execution of the idea in terms of the product, its packaging and communications strategy so it’s instantly apparent how the product meets its consumers’ needs and desires.
A great team – A team who can pull off the full potential of the brand and products being built and realise its place as a leader in the market.
Big Idea Ventures is particularly interested in the new category the World Dairy Awards have just added to recognise excellence in innovation in the alternative dairy sector: Best dairy alternative. This is another example of forward-thinking of the Dairy Industry as they see this new category as an opportunity for them and their consumers.
I’m really looking forward to seeing the applicants and finalists for the World Dairy Innovation Awards for 2019.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019
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