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Innovating in the Changing World of Nutrition


by Peter Wennstrom -

Monitoring and interpreting trends is both necessary and difficult for any player in the food, beverage and nutrition industry. Companies need to discover what is affecting consumers’ priorities and preferences and question how this will challenge and change their value chain. However, companies commonly mistake symptoms and root causes, mixing trend manifestations—a new product launch—and underlying trends—the driver of mind-set change.

Healthy Marketing Team has identified six fundamental change agents which are driving the nutrition transformation: the game changers. These game changer areas are: people, food, production, resources, science and technology and each of these areas gives rise to game changing trends like: ‘plant-based’ and ‘free-from’. They are reshaping the nutrition market as we speak, and their business impact and innovation implications have just started to become apparent. Game changing trends call for game changing innovations. These game changers can be used in two ways: to sharpen the internal trend intelligence process, and to prioritise the game changers that will most impact business objectives and the innovation process.

Making innovation successful

When the game changes, innovation must change too.

FourFactors® Innovation means adding a fourth C (Culture) to the 3C formula of Consumer, Competition and Competences. Innovation culture is not only reflected in an organisation’s ability to innovate, but also in its brand. An entrepreneurial Developer company will have a new brand which attracts early adopters, while a late mass market Optimiser organisation will try to squeeze as much as possible out of an old traditional brand. Knowing your Innovation Space in the FourFactors Lifecycle means informing your innovation strategy and making sure Culture, Consumer, and Competition are all matched with your Competencies.

One of the biggest barriers to innovation is the ‘handover’ from R&D to marketing—or in commercial terms, from science to a successful launch. Many companies’ culture is driven by strengths in exploration and development. For these corporations, it will be especially important to ensure that the transition from product development to market entry proposition is effective. The critical skill to bridge this gap is blending the Developer mind set, focused on product attributes and functionality, with that of the Marketer, thinking of those attributes in the context of your target audience and developing a brand.