We asked the judging panel for this year’s World Food Innovation Awards what they are hoping to see from entrants.
The food awards, which will be hosted at HRC in March, offer brands an exceptional way to enhance the promotion of their latest products and ensure they are recognised at the highest level.
There are 28 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 17th January.
Tariq Ahmed Al Wahedi
CEO, Agthia Group P.J.S.C.
I am very excited to be in the judging panel. In the last few years we have noticed significant changes in consumers behaviours across the globe which lead to a substantial number of innovations in food and beverages.
For a successful innovation, I believe the following criteria need to be met:
The purpose: how the new product is resolving a problem , or improving the life of consumers and mainly in health and sustainability. This will answer the consumers’ needs to improve health and nutrition and to tackle different diseases like NCDS (Non-communicable Diseases), to meet the holistic health and wellness needs and to meet the sustainability requirements.
Transparency: consumers are looking more for transparency and they are expecting to have a clear picture of the used ingredients and materials through the whole value chain. Respects to clean labels and sustainability is highly expected from any new innovation.
The positioning of the product: communication marketing attributes are very important for new innovative products. The way the market analysis is done and the target audience analysis are very important for the success of any innovation.
Attractiveness: Packaging design and artwork design are the first things seen by consumers and it should attract the consumers in less than 6 seconds.
Co-Founder & CEO, Tastewise
At Tastewise, we’re passionate about connecting food, technology and data. We understand that a product is so much more than its ingredients; the need a product serves, the benefit it adds, and the experience it creates all contribute to its identity and success moving forward. Our AI platform analyzes billions of real-time food data points – including menus, reviews, home recipes and social media content – to provide in-depth insights into what is significant for consumers.
For these World Food Innovation Awards, I’ll be using our data-driven approach to evaluate everything from the products themselves to their relationship with certain diets, functions and audience segments. The following five criteria center on the questions our platform ‘asks’; I’ll be paying close attention to products that answer well.
Restaurant Buy-In: Restaurant kitchens often signal contemporary culinary taste; something finding traction on restaurant menus can indicate that its popularity is likely to rise elsewhere. Are cutting-edge chefs, restaurants, and thought leaders taking advantage of the product and/or its qualities, indicating that the product is on the cusp of nationwide recognition?
Consumer Buy-In: Interest in a product can be gauged by how consumers talk about it online. Are consumers talking about the product’s ingredients, benefits or uses on social media, and are they engaging with these qualities at home, in restaurants, or both? Are people joining the conversation over time, and do we expect relevance in the long-term?
Need: Consumers make purchases to fulfill needs both specific to their situation and guided by societal trends. Does the product clearly address the macro and micro needs of its intended audience? Are the addressed needs big enough and continuing to grow?
Audience Positioning: The better a brand understands its audience, the more relevant and wide-reaching the product can be. Is the product designed for a specific audience’s needs? Is it significant across audiences? Are the product’s values, goals and qualities communicated well through the packaging?
‘Special Sauce’: Data shows us a lot, but there is also an art to innovation. Is the design of the product and the experience of consuming it worthwhile, unique, and enjoyable? Does the product have that special something to stand out, or is the market already oversaturated?
Food and Drink Communications Strategist
Working internationally in communications for the past 20 years for a range of food and drink businesses has given me a good sense for product, service and solution promotions which are award worthy so I’ll be reviewing entries from this angle. There are four key elements I look forward to using as my guide when reviewing submissions.
What impact has the product had? Evidence on how the product has improved business, health or communities will be important for me to see. I’ll ask myself has this product made the world a better place or effectively solved an issue.
Does it feel new and modern? Is it future fit? Submissions which speak to how the product nods to current and evolving trends will tick this box. I’m keen to see points within entries which show how the product will flex to its customers’ dynamic lifestyles.
Is the ‘why’ crystal clear? Is the product narrative memorable and engaging? Entries who want to stand out should clearly relay a company vision, mission and purpose. On what values is the product built and how does this align to its target audience desires of unmet needs?
Clever channel communications. I will want to see the marketing and communications tell a consistent story across all their promotional platforms and channels. The entry should show that the customer journey has been thought through in detail. Has the experience economy we now live in been considered?
I hope some of these insights are helpful as submissions are pulled together. Sending wishes of success to all the participants!
Food Packaging Expert
‘Content is king. But design is queen.’, so you could develop the most gripping food&bev product, but if your innovation flow is too inefficient, then consumers might find your product unuseful. Looking for new food&bev packaging solutions, I’ll use these criteria for evaluating the winning newcomers moreover on packaging design outcomes that unambiguously identifies and ensures the intended use of the packaging and the packaged product by the intended end user.
Portion size: since the shifting habits and expectations of a growing global and multi-generational cohort of single consumers, new considerations for brands are important for well reframing single people including their habits as they really are. Consequentially it’s seems that new challenges are now great opportunities for new solutions within the expanding market of instant and ready to go fresh and daily foods.
Info label: while society is quick to blame tech for a host of nutritional snapping topics, new solutions illustrate the potential for labels to simplify consumers ‘paths to optimal choice. As consumers increasingly seek out personalized nutritional and environmental benefits, new label solutions that provide clear information on how to the use content and the packaging itself are making it easier than ever.
Food waste: waste is damaged, defective, or superfluous material produced by the process, including the consumption phase. And a packaging design should identify solutions that contribute to the prevention and reduction of global food losses at retail and end user stages.
End of life options: meeting new society’s challenges, sustainability has become the leading force for the responsible use of resources. So, into a design process, everything is influenced by this new trend. How a product could help consumer in participating in the composting process in their communities?
The holistic chain: harnessing the innovation power, what could change the way we deal with our food, from production to distribution, and from presentation to consumption? Therefore, barriers must be overcome within the current methods or practices, guaranteeing the food safety and inspiring new ideas which have a responsible effect on our relationship with food.
I cannot wait for being part of this year’s awards, and wish all the participants the very best of luck!
Founder & CEO, Forward Fooding
I’m honoured to be part of the judging panel for the World Food Innovation Award 2020. This year, I will be looking for innovative packaged products ‘surfing’ the current key trends (e.g plant-based), technology solutions for bettering our food system and alternative packaging solutions. The key criteria that will set apart these companies are:
Product market-fit: the product/solution clearly meets an untapped need and is capable of delivering on its promise, consumers’ benefits wise. Whether it is highly nutritious, convenient, healthy, functional it does deliver what it says on the can.
Consumer adoption readiness: customers have collected solid metrics that suggest consumers are ready and willing to pay to adopt the new product/solution.
Scalability: it’s a scalable solution and/or has at least conducted feasibility studies on manufacturing scalability with positive results.
Impact & purpose-driven: beyond its functional benefits the product/solution can create positive externalities for our society, whether it makes a dent to tackling the climate crisis, reduces food waste or simply uses more sustainable manufacturing technologies.
I’m delighted to back for a second year on the panel for this year’s WFIA.
As always, I’ll be donning my packaging hat in the main but, following the successes of 2019, I’m really excited to see which products and brands have explored current consumer trends and insights
Balance: How a product connects with its packaging is vital to the final consumer purchase decision. There are many examples where the balance doesn’t appear right, so im interested to see innovative ways entrants have developed well balanced connections between product and packaging.
Sustainability: Everyone has a view but finding the right sustainable route is challenging. Im looking to see examples of moves to more sustainable solutions that both fit the product and justify the changes made.
Channels: FMCG remains a traditional retail led industry but e-commerce continues to build momentum, creating different consumer engagement opportunities. Have entrants separated channels or combined into a multi-channel experience? Should be interesting to see!
Design: A good on-pack design can provide that moment of shelf or image standout that portrays the overall product quality and creates that all important consumer engagement. Im looking for clever designs that have the ability to deliver new brand engagement.
Packaging Functionality: A must of any innovation is understanding your target consumers and how they interact with your product. Alongside offering product protection, packaging offers opportunities to innovate to deliver added value or increased ease of use that serve to give your product a real point of difference.
Founder & CEO, Taiga Chocolate
I’m honoured and happy to be one of the judges for the 2020 World Food Innovations Awards. Having been responsible for both product/service development and business development in several different industries, I’m not amazed by innovations only for the sake of it. I’m looking for innovations that fill in a specific need or create a new need/category. Great innovations, combined with a brilliant business model, are the ones that get me ticking. Hence, I’ll be looking for:
Innovative/unique idea: Is the idea innovative, something completely new in the market or a significant improvement to what has gone before? For example, new food tech solutions, surprising new combinations of ingredients and flavours, new business/delivery model. I want to meet a product that is unique and proudly stands out from the competition.
Fills in customer need: Does the product address a specific consumer need? Does it improve the end-user experience? Does it fill in a cap in the food industry? Is it on-trend?
Design: Is the product visually appealing? Does the packaging support the product idea? Does the packaging add extra-value? Have you perhaps invented something totally out of the box?
Sustainability: Does the product contribute to sustainable outcomes? Are the production process and packaging sustainable and responsible? Where are the ingredients sourced from? With no doubt, In 2020, respectable products need to meet all these critical requirements.
Story: What is the story behind the product and the company? If the story, idea, product, production and design are in perfect balance, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
The 2020 World Food Innovations Awards is an incredible platform and fantastic opportunity for brands to showcase their products and services to the world. I’m very excited to meet all the participants, explore the innovations and gain inspiration from the outcomes of this competition.
Good luck, everyone!
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2020