There’s still plenty of time to enter the World Food Innovation Awards, which will soon return to Hotelympia for another year. To help you out with your application, this year’s judges will be explaining what they are looking for from entries.
Here, Nestlé’s Olivera Medjugorac, The Silk Initiative’s Andrew Kuiler and food blogger Michelle Minnaar tell us what they’re hoping to see from this year’s entrants.
You can also see the thoughts of three more judges from the World Food Innovation Awards in part one here.
EU affairs manager, Nestlé
Innovations today please consumers who are longing for new and inspiring products, surprising technology launches and radically useful services embodying at the same time societal values and purpose.
Hence, there can be no compromises when it comes to sustainable production processes, clean labelling, and health benefits and at the same time a superior taste experience. Consumers expect more and better (taste) with less (ingredients) to delight their often very individual needs.
Innovations that are healthy by design nudge consumers into adopting healthier eating habits. Smart packaging solutions reduce packaging waste whereas creative relaunches of historical food packaging can help prompt happy memories among patients diagnosed with dementia, for example.
What defines successful innovation? What guarantees that your innovations rank among the 15% (Nielsen) or even 5% (HBS) of consumer good products still on shelf just two years after launch? Is it their overwhelming usefulness, surprising novelty or just the perfect match with consumer preferences?
All innovative products are the result of intense and rigorous data analysis, complex ideation processes, exploration of new categories of products, but what makes an innovation truly outstanding and product category growing are daring deeds. Venturing new ideas that lead to stunning new technologies, products or services based on thorough consumer insights and market data analysis unlock potential for huge market opportunities.
For me, distinguished innovation winners perfectly address consumer needs whilst tapping into new trends with progressive and daring product offerings and radically useful technology solutions.
CEO, The Silk Initiative
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 as to 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.
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.
Criteria: What product or brand assets are actually protectable and ownable?
Food blogger, Greedy Gourmet
The elements I’ll be looking at are the following:
The impact of the production process on environment. What is the company’s carbon footprint? Do the benefits of the product outweigh the cost to society? Is the product worthwhile or even a necessity?
Welfare – this applies to humans and animals. The vegan movement is growing because people want to live with a better conscience. Likewise, we want to know that staff are treated well and that this is a ‘happy’ product with good vibes.
Waste – the recent screening of Blue Planet II has finally started opening the public’s eyes as to just how dire the state of our oceans is. Landfills don’t fare much better. What we don’t need is more plastic and other non-recyclable materials. Excessive, including environmentally friendly packaging, just to be cute won’t help either. Keep it simple, keep it green.
Design – make it fun. Make it colourful and eye catching. Stand out. Be unique. There have been a few instances where I was utterly wooed by the product design even though the contents were dubious.
Creativity – let’s face it, all the traditional stuff has been done to death. We don’t need another chocolate chip cookie on the market. On the other end of the scale don’t get too weird by thinking everybody would love your blue cheese liqueur, but be original!
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 more
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019
World Dairy Innovation Awards – now open for entries
Enter before 10 May to ensure you are part of the industry’s leading awards scheme. Don’t miss out on having your dairy innovations recognised.