With one month to go before the early bird deadline, we asked the judging panel for this year’s World Beverage Innovation Awards what they are hoping to see from entrants.
The awards, which will be hosted at BrauBeviale in November, offer brands an exceptional way to enhance the promotion of their latest products and ensure they are recognised at the highest level.
There are 25 trophies to be won in total, and being shortlisted provides a hallmark of success that will prevail long after the awards draw to a close.
The judges’ comments will hopefully offer inspiration and help in crafting the winning entry. The deadline is 27 September.
Founder and CEO, Seedlip
I’m honoured to be asked to judge these awards! Here’s what I’m looking for:
Relevance: Is it genuinely relevant to the way we live our lives today? Does it have the consumer at its core? Does it solve a problem in their life?
Simplicity: How single-minded is it? Is it easy to explain? To recommend to someone else? Does it cut through the competition?
Rigour: From the kind of packaging, the materials, the legibility of the type, the closure, the ingredients, the design, colour choice, branding, taste… does it all add up? Has it all been thoroughly thought through?
Maverick: What’s the scary dream? What are you trying to change? Who is the enemy?
Story: Is there genuine depth? Layers? Does it chime with the way the target audience sees the world?
Founder and creative director, Brandality
I’m very much looking forward to seeing the vast array of entries for this year’s World Beverage Innovation Awards. As a branding agency owner I constantly find myself mentally judging beverage packaging and branding whilst walking around stores, so this seems a natural progression.
When judging the applicants the following factors will be considered:
Design and positioning: For me it’s just not about great design, it needs to be the right kind of great. The packaging needs to be captivating yes, but it also needs to clearly communicate values and USPs.
Need: Is there a space within the market/category and will consumers be engaged by the product and purchase it? It could be the best product in the world, but if no one is going to buy it, it might as well not exist.
Differentiation: How original is the product and will consumers have seen something like it before?
Sustainability: You can’t ignore the fact that consumers are shopping with the environment in mind and this will factor heavily in my criteria. Everything from packaging through to the process in which the product is made.
Oooo: As someone who crafts brands for a living I’m pretty hard to impress, so anything that makes me go ‘ooo’ will score highly – first impressions are important.
Ultimately these are innovation awards, so those that have looked to create something different and with their consumers in mind will do well from my perspective.
Director of Flavor Innovation, Imbibe
Consumers look to beverages for an experience which is influencing innovation. There are many experiences a consumer might seek out like a health-boost from functional ingredients or a cultural journey via globally inspired flavors. I look forward to judging the 2019 World Beverage Innovation Awards and will be paying close attention to the following six considerations for stand-out products:
Meal in a Bottle: Convenience is a key driver of beverage purchases which is why more products are being jam-packed with nutrient-dense ingredients for an all-in-one boost. Combinations of caffeine, protein, superfoods, and whole grains that address satiety and more make meal time more convenient than ever.
Ancient Wisdom: Consumers are becoming more familiar with functional ingredients deep-rooted in Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine because they have appeared in products like coffee, smoothies, wellness shots and cold-pressed juices. These ingredients have been used for centuries in certain cultures and are gaining traction in countries outside of their origin because of their physical and emotional benefits.
World’s Fare: Consumers are expanding their culinary education by seeking out authentic globally inspired beverages. The strongest influences are from Latin American, Asian, and Mediterranean countries. Spicy and exotic true-to-fruit flavors are especially exciting to consumers and will capture my attention.
Fermentation: Fermented beverages can have a multitude of benefits, but improved gut health is the most top of mind. These types of products have valuable enzymes, vitamins and probiotics. The fermentation process also creates new and exciting flavor profiles that consumers are embracing.
Plant-Based: Plant-based ingredients have gained momentum and are not sought out solely by vegetarians and vegans. Many consumers are adopting a flexitarian lifestyle because they believe that plant-based ingredients are healthier and more sustainable than animal products. Use of novel plant-based ingredients or a cutting-edge formulation would be very interesting to me.
Reducing Waste: Awareness about the impact that beverage manufacturers have on the environment has put a spotlight on sustainability in the industry. There has been a lot of buzz about upcycled ingredients and innovative use of spent ingredients or byproducts would get my attention.
R&D Director, PepsiCo
I am excited to be a judge for the 2019 World Beverages Innovation Awards. Consumers are always exploring new spaces and new opportunities in search of something that resonates with them on a personal level or meets a previously unmet need. I am always interested to see how new brands leverage unique consumer insights to unlock a differentiated consumer experience that drives engagement and creates growth. This year, my areas of particular focus are:
Functional Advantage: New formulas and ingredients that drive a functional benefit to the consumer that is backed up with clinical data demonstrating efficacy. My preference is for products with inherent nutrition rather than fortification. Interesting and unique approaches to sugar reduction would also fall under the Functional Advantage category.
Enhanced Packaging: In most consumer goods the packaging is a critical portion of the overall consumer experience. Similar to what is common in spirits, are there unlocks for premium packaging at affordable prices that enable customization and/or personalization on demand, including packages that provide new engagement method for consumers (e.g. closure, smart/interactive packaging).
From a sustainability standpoint, the goal is to enable better packaging solutions from a complete life-cycle analysis including solutions that move away from the traditional can/bottle model. I am interested in new materials and technology that enable packaging to be reused at end of life, preferable again as packaging for the same products, packaging with unique pre- & post-consumer functionality, such as edible, dissolvable, etc.
Finally, with the increase in e-commerce I want to see packaging solutions that deliver new and different functionalities to the primary and secondary packaging used for e-commerce.
Water Innovation: The water market continues to become more competitive and consumers are looking for innovation. The winners in this crowded category will continue to be those that are able to provide a consumer-centric differentiated proposition to stand out. I am interested in new innovations in both still and sparkling water.
Next Big Thing: The advent of carbonation provided an extremely unique experience, over the years there have been others (e.g. Boba Tea w/ multi-texture inclusions, Slurpee – frozen slush, Kombucha – non-alcoholic bio-conversion, etc.) that create an entire new market. I am extremely interested in these type of early stage “white space” concepts.
Program Manager, NX-Food
I am looking for products that promote sustainable living, and move with change with regard to megatrends like population growth, urbanization and climate change. Individuality and nutritional awareness should also be reflected in innovative products.
We as NX-Food are deeply looking into:
Alternative sources of Protein (plant-based, in-vitro)
The questions I want your product description to answer are what problem does your product solve, what is the motivation behind it and what makes your product unique and why should people buy it?
Asia-Pacific Regional Director, ICBA
It’s a great pleasure to be part of the World Beverages Innovation Awards 2019, having participated in the judging of these awards on a number of occasions.
There is an incredible amount of change in our industry and across global markets. I am particularly excited to see how brands will embrace these challenges and turn them into opportunities. I am also particularly eager to see how responsive and intuitive brands are using consumer insights to seize some of these new opportunities in our fast-paced industry, particularly in the areas of sustainability, provenance and innovation. In 2019, I’m looking for:
Sustainability and sourcing: Our world is changing, and we have to be more aware of closing the loop on waste throughout the manufacturing and supply chain processes. As such, consumers are increasingly demanding brands have a strong social conscience. Those brands that have taken bold action on waste reduction, particularly by changing packaging design and manufacturing processes, will certainly grab my attention. I am also interested to see requirements brands have put in place to support the sustainable sourcing of ingredients.
Innovative ingredients: In a competitive industry, I’m looking for new formulas and unique twists on classics. A particular focus on natural ingredients, low and no sugar varieties and innovations in water are top of my list of things to watch out for.
Powerful promotion: Everyone remembers an impactful brand, and packaging is an integral part of our industry. I’m looking for creativity and beautiful designs that reflect the brand’s credentials and make for a memorable moment. I’m also looking forward to seeing the research that has been put into packaging design as another way to engage consumers on Sustainability.
Consumer intelligence: Consumers drive our industry. We rightly spend a lot of time and money getting to know them. I’m looking out for brands that have developed authentic relationships with consumers and used these relationships to drive innovation across their portfolio.
Executive Director, Clean Label Project
An exciting time of year, with the World Beverage Innovation Awards showcasing some of the world’s best new products setting the strategy for upcoming trends. So many amazing judges with a variety of backgrounds, but for me at Clean Label Project, this is what I will be paying careful attention to:
Data: Save the marketing puffery for someone else- this girl wants to hear about new innovations that are backed by data. Substantiate your claims of superiority using quantitative descriptors not qualitative fluffy words
Science: Substantiate your reason for being by convincing even the most cynical of consumers why your product is truly innovative.
Transparency: With hundreds of hot products coming out- explain why your product deserves to win shelf space with retailers and ultimately win with consumers.
Novel: This is the World Beverage Innovation Awards. Can’t wait to hear from those brands that are pioneering new, fresh, uncontested territories and market space
Food Safety/Ingredient Quality: Whether it be heavy metals of glyphosate, the current dialogue around food safety is what’s NOT in your product. Explain how your organization is committed to food safety and ingredient quality. Tell me about how you are measuring and limiting the introduction of industrial and environmental contamination into your supply chain.
Founding Partner & CEO, Lantern
It is a great honour to be a judge for the World Beverage Innovation Awards 2019, hopefully wisdom will come upon me and the rest of judges to evaluate concepts correctly.
To make it a bit different from prior editions, this year I will definitely NOT vote for concepts with some of the following characteristics:
Strange functional drinks that do not have a clear USP or seem fake and un-natural
Mediocre branding, lack of transparency and poor storytelling
Below average structural packaging design, losing the opportunity to stand out on the shelf or solve a particular consumer need
No aspiration for repeat purchases because the brand does not address real human needs or pain points
Based on trends that are overly covered by current market offer (think coconut water or craft beer, no matter what spin you give it)
They use sustainability greenwashing to cover lack of imagination (or even fool consumers)
Luis Felipe Torres
Executive Director, Colombian Soft Drink Association
The criteria for identifying a beverage as innovative can be resumed in four aspects:
Uniqueness: The beverage includes local ingredients, culture, and history of the region or country of production. Likewise, there is a social commitment with local communities or with global initiatives that address the Sustainable Development Goals – SDGs of the United Nations. Overall the product has a unique story to tell.
Packaging: Simplicity, clear designs that pioneer in their beverage segment. Minimization of processing and packaging and less use of non-recyclable material. Packaging has to be sustainable with the environment (recyclable, reusable, energy efficient) and reduce the waste of potentially useful materials. Overall it has to be sustainable and at the same time innovative and fun.
Nutrition: The product needs to provide clear information about ingredients and nutrients so that consumers can know the content and benefits of the beverage quickly. The beverage needs to comply with the highest quality standards, not only of the production origin but also from international markets. Another important aspect is the use of natural or functional ingredients that provide a healthy diet and the use of new ones not yet on the market. Overall, the beverage needs to embrace sustainable nutrition.
Exotic: A product that innovates in high competitive markets with a new approach to nutrition, sustainability, and commercialization. The innovation involves a technological advancement. The beverage has an added value that appeals to consumers in different countries and can be sold globally. Overall, it can become a trendsetter.
Enter the World Beverage Innovation Awards Now
Part two of what our judges are looking for to come next week.
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