There’s just two weeks until the deadline for the World Food Innovation Awards 2017, to be presented at IFE in London on 20 March. These awards have been running for many years and are a fantastic way for you to bolster and enhance your brand. By entering the World Food Innovation Awards you can ensure that you get both your brand and your products noticed by top names in the industry.
In our second instalment in this series, we’ve asked three of this year’s judges what they’ll be looking for from the awards to help you with your application!
Mars, Incorporated global sustainability director
As global sustainability director for Mars, Incorporated and a member of the Sustainable Food Lab’s advisory board, I’m most interested in whether entrants understand their supply chains, and how these supply chains interact with the planet and the people working within them. This is a journey that Mars is on currently, and one thing we’re certain of is that real change will only come through a critical mass of companies working together. I’ll be looking for evidence that companies can see beyond the suppliers they buy from to the origins of their ingredients. Then I’ll assess how well each company understands the impacts of sourcing from those locations.
These impacts include social issues such as workers’ rights and farmer incomes, especially for ingredients produced in developing countries, where legal standards may vary and farmers often aren’t earning enough to afford a decent standard of living. Over 2 billion people worldwide work in agriculture yet it generates just 3% of global GDP, leaving many people living in poverty on extremely low incomes.
There may also be environmental issues to consider. Agriculture is the largest driver of deforestation, as farmers fell trees to make way for plantations and livestock. This doesn’t just destroy habitats for millions of plants and animals; deforestation is a major cause of climate change – forests absorb greenhouse gases so the fewer trees there are, the more greenhouse gases there are entering the atmosphere.
This is accelerating climate change and exacerbating the effects. Forests also prevent soil from drying out, and collect and return water vapour to the atmosphere. The land where trees once stood can quickly become infertile deserts. Forest ecosystems are crucial to the health of our planet.
I’d love to see companies helping to address some of these problems and build thriving, sustainable farming communities. I’m also interested in whether entrants use efficient manufacturing processes and technologies that save energy, water and other resources when making their products. And I’ll be looking for innovative packaging designs that promote brand values, protect products and reduce food waste, while minimising material use.
We only have one planet and we’re living well beyond its means. In 2016, 8 August was the estimated date when we began to use more natural resources than the planet can renew in a year. The sustainable sourcing, manufacture and packaging of our food are essential for communities and nature to remain in balance, so future generations can thrive on our planet.
The Silk Initiative (TSI) managing director and founder
Here are the real practicalities I look at when determining how innovative a product really is:
People – there is a big difference between innovating a product that is on trend, and one that is merely latching on to a passing fad. Truly innovative products are grounded in insight, and have a real, deep-rooted consumer need behind them, as well as being on trend. Beyond this, a lot of our work is designed to identify consumer enemies. These hold the triggers that motivate consumers to buy and inspire repeat purchases, rather than just trying something for fun.
Key criteria: how relevant is your innovation to consumers?
Places – how products show up in the market is a key aspect of how innovative it truly is. Breakthrough innovations understand the category they are playing in, and offer new news in the way of ingredients, packaging format, or perhaps product profile to really stand out. Channel is also essential. Our China work – with a booming, fiercely competitive and fast paced e-commerce market – has taught us how to really punch through. That’s why many of our clients build an offline presence in convenience stores first, before moving online for scale.
Key criteria: is your innovation showing up in the right place at the right time?
Protection – the best innovations are those that can protect themselves for an extended period of time – when there’s something ‘ownable’ about the innovation that can’t be copied by a competitor (something we see very often in the China market). The strongest innovations build a story around a particular brand asset, such as an ingredient, a certain technology, or a place. This maintains the product innovations’ positioning as a leader.
That’s why I look for proof points that a brand owner has considered ownable brand and product assets to build a story around, and hasn’t just produced a bright idea for the sake of a bright idea.
Key criteria: what product or brand assets are actually protectable and ownable?
Earthbound vice president of technologies and new ventures
What am I looking for in the World Food Innovation Awards? I’m looking for:
All entries and applicants should be aligned with the focus areas, product should be unique, patentable, and profitable, approaching an attractive market. The team’s skills and capabilities are most importnt and a product’s long-term competitiveness as well.
Set that trend
Have you launched a new product? Then the World Food Innovation Awards are for you! We regularly come across new products and trends, providing them with the platform to get the exposure they deserve. Showcase your latest innovations and set that trend! Find out how to enter here.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2020