Ramping up the future of food innovation

Ramping up the future of food innovation

Product developers play a central role in ensuring their company is primed and ready for innovation by remaining up to date on trends, tech advancements and how competitors are shifting gears in both their short- and long-term operational goals.

According to Jason Temprell, head of Baked Sales, Chaucer Foods, this is how the specialist in freeze-dried and quick frozen ingredients operates, “constantly guiding and informing our customer’s innovations based on what is – and what will be – trending globally.

“It’s vital for businesses to keep a pulse these technological advancements and demands if they want to remain competitive and relevant.”

Here are a couple of the trendsetting areas producers should keep top of mind.

Online marketplaces: The new frontier

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Pic: GettyImages

While virtual marketplaces are not entirely new to businesses, the ability for brands to reach shoppers online has rapidly advanced in recent years. From creating social media shops where consumers can buy a product while scrolling their favourite social networking app, or implementing focused efforts to enhance online shopping capabilities, brands can directly connect with the people purchasing their goods in a way they never could before, said Temprell.

“Smaller brands can also create savvy, eye-catching content that elevates them to a level that would have been impossible from a cost standpoint even five or 10 years ago.

“While large brands still often have an advantage online, small food developers have a unique chance to showcase their offerings and company culture online to a global audience, if they do it intelligently and with a well-thought-out strategy in place. Instead of traditional in-store marketing, online spaces give all brands a realm to reach global consumers at a low cost.”

But there’s a catch and that’s where the strategy comes in, added Temprell.

“Although it’s a prime opportunity for brands – big and small – to expand their reach, you must be on top of social trends and design standards to keep your online presence attractive,”​ he said.

“Unfortunately, outdated designs, content and features won’t capture the attention of online global shoppers. From enhanced web design features to posting a TikTok of a new snack formulation, brands must remain creative to use the power of this digital era to their advantage.”

Investing in the future

brand building airdone
Pic: GettyImages

Consumers have so much choice now that innovation is not just a suggestion, but a requirement for any food business to thrive over time. In fact, Temprell contends that without innovation, the only competitive factor tends to be price, which is not a preferred direction for businesses that wish to grow.

“With emerging technologies like augmented reality, artificial intelligence, QR codes and near field communications, manufacturers have a vast range of options to incorporate into their tech-stack,” he said.

“While it might seem daunting to invest in new technologies, we can look back at the most game-changing moments in food manufacturing and almost always point to a decision that brand made to change course or invest in an innovative new something – a technology, a change in marketing, a new ingredient or a new trend.

“Without taking that risk – an intelligent risk – you usually can’t get the reward.”

So, let’s talk intelligent risks.

According to Temprell, investing in all the latest, brightest and most advanced tech is not always the best strategy.

“When a new technology hits the market, an organisation must consider if it will truly benefit them long-term,”​ he stressed.

“Assessing both your business goals and the key features of the technology will allow you and the decisionmakers on your team to figure out which technologies are worth the investment and which might be more detrimental than helpful. You’ll benefit most by investing in the technologies that add to your strengths without wasting money the trends that are more shine than substance.”

Freezing out complications

With technology and methods to innovate constantly evolving, it can be tricky for leaders in the C-Suite to balance long-term goals while keeping an eye on short-term challenges and staying true to the brand’s overall vision and mission.

That’s where Chaucer Foods can help, said Temprell.

“We have a 41-year history of being a partner that not only supplies high-quality ingredients but helps to implement the technologies that help formulators prove their claims for health, sustainability, traceability and flavour.”

The company partners with customers to manage the product all the way from concept to production and packing. The global provider has manufacturing and development facilities in the US, UK, Europe and China, while its teams are equipped with new technologies that enhance or complement an existing setup.

“On top of that, we can help pair innovative technologies with your specific goals to ensure the fit is correct and sets the brand up for success,” ​said Temprell.