Transcript: Food Innovation

Hi, my name is Matt Topp from NZTE.
Matt Topp: What is innovation? In simple terms, innovation means delivering real value. This could be through a new business model, a new distribution channel, or delivering a fantastic product or service to an end user.
George Gekas: Australian retailers look for products that are different to what’s currently out in the marketplace. Probably the most important factor for innovation is that the product is solving a solution. There’s always many products on the shelf. The retailer would like to have a product that’s different to what else is on the shelf.  It has to provide a unique proposition, and there has to be demand for it. So, there’s no use having just some great innovation but the consumer doesn’t want it. But if it’s solving a solution for the consumer, the retailer would be interested in something like that.
Wade Gillooly: Innovation means many different things to different businesses, and for us, it’s about challenging how we do business as usual and thinking ahead two to three years and going, “How can we be better positioned as a business?”  So, thinking about critical thinking and applying a growth mind-set to our business, and actually looking at how we can change the way we do business with our retailers, for example, with our supply chain. So, looking at our processes across the business, to us, that’s one form of innovation. It’s not necessarily the product.
Companies really need to think about leadership when it comes to innovation. So, building a strong leadership team and then a culture in the business. Culture is really important, right? A culture that is not afraid to fail. So a team of people that are prepared to make mistakes and learn from those mistakes. And I think some of the best decisions and innovations have been mistakes.
I think innovation is 24/7, seven days week. You can’t just switch off or switch on. So, always thinking about a better way to run your business or to do something different with your process, your supply chain, or your marketing. All of that is innovation. It’s just critical thinking, and I think the cultures and organisations that thrive on critical thinking are the ones that are most successful. And it does start with leadership at the top.
Matt Topp: At NZTE, we often get asked, “What is the perfect way to launch in market?” The answer is there isn’t one. However, there are some great services – firstly in New Zealand, that can help increase the success to launch in market. That could be through Callaghan Innovation, or within the food and beverage industry such as the FoodBowl, FoodPilot or FoodSouth.
Here in Australia, a great service is the Monash Food Innovation Centre.
Angeline Achariya: The Innovation Centre started in 2013. So we’ve been running for about five years now, initially as an investment by the Victorian Government and Mondelēz International, and we put together a really bold mission of “How do we create a brighter future for food manufacturing in the state of Victoria?”  Over that time, we’ve actually moved the Centre to Monash University in June 2016, and now we’re set up as a fee-for-service platform which helps all food businesses in Australia as well as outside Australia. So, we very much welcome any businesses who are anywhere in the world who want to innovate in the food space to come and work with us. And we essentially can be your innovation and your R&D team.
The types of companies that use the Food Innovation Centre can range from start-ups to SMEs, through to large multi-nationals.
The innovation process that most companies go through with the Food Innovation Centre is really based on “How do we help you increase the odds of success of innovation?” So, globally, what happens in the fast-moving-consumer-goods market is that there’s only a 10% success rate of products once they’re launched after the first 12 months. So, the big issues we have is products to survive longer than 12 months, and what we call stickability on shelf.
Most companies spend a lot of money on R&D and innovation and your marketing spend – you want your products to be there to delight the consumer going forward. So, one of the biggest gaps we found is, how do we actually help businesses to do that? So, the process we use actually starts with the consumer and the market. And, it may sound really really simple – why aren’t more businesses doing this? And some of them are, but others are not.
Lots of companies will come to us and say, “Look at my great new product idea; can you please try it and let me know if the consumer would love it?”  But, that’s me, and that equals one opinion, which really doesn’t matter what I think. At the end of the day, you need to actually test it with consumers and understand what the market is.
So, our process really goes through the market, the consumer understanding. We then help you figure out from a consumer lens in terms of what consumers have said, what your design offer needs to be.  And then, as you go through the journey, we can actually help you design what the right packaging is. And packaging is very important as that’s the thing that consumers first see about your brand, that they interact with, and it’s the thing that calls out to them from the shelf. So we spend in our design studio time, in terms of prototyping and really figuring out what are the right attributes that the packaging and the product must have. And, then you can go through the process of designing and developing your products.
We also test our products with shoppers. The consumer and the shopper are two different beasts, and essentially what we can do is determine if a shopper, when they look at your product on the shelf, what is the cut through level? So, time to determine if your product is actually on shelf long enough for them to actually see it, or not.
And then, right at the end of the journey as you’re about to go and present to your retailer around range review, we can basically show you what your offer would look like in a planogram or in a store. So, in a virtual supermarket like Coles or Woolworths, where you can see what your offer is going to be and actually prepare you for range review negotiations with the retailers as well.
Matt Topp: Companies must continually innovate to grow real value for their business.
At NZTE, we’ve got a lot of ways to support your innovation journey. Please get in contact with the NZTE team, or visit our website at
 Watch the video here.