The World Dairy Innovation Awards 2022, in association with Zenith Global, is a celebration of innovation and excellence across the global dairy industry.
We asked the second half of our judging panel what they are hoping to see this year, providing some inspiration to entrants and helping them to craft winning submissions.
There are 21 trophies to be won in total, and being shortlisted provides a badge of success that will last long after the awards conclude.
The deadline for entries is Friday 22 April.
Dairy Marketing Director, Amcor
Dairy products are close to consumers’ hearts as an essential source of daily nutrition and an important part of our culinary experience. Throughout all stages of life and throughout the world, we use a wide range of dairy products. Consumers never cease their quest for nutrition and indulgence, today even more so after over two years of normal life being disrupted by the pandemic. For this year’s World Dairy Innovation Awards, I am looking out for star products meeting the following criteria:
- Be genuine: Over a third of consumers report eating more healthy foods. Deliver what your product promises, gain consumers’ trust with true nutritional benefits.
- Be creative: Consumers are eager to try new dairy brands and products. What makes your product stand out either in terms of product formulation, flavour profile or packaging presentation? How does it delight consumers at moments of truth?
- Be modern: Is your product perfectly integrated into modern consumers’ lifestyles? Is it designed for home cooking, snacking at work, social events or outdoor sports? How do you leverage digital channels to bond with today’s consumers?
- Be ‘green’: How do you minimise the environmental footprint that your product and packaging leave behind? Do you make conscious efforts to influence your consumers to make the right choice?
- Be thoughtful: Consumers in different demographic groups have distinct differences in how they purchase dairy. Is your product designed for different sales channels (traditional retail vs ecommerce vs foodservice)?
Head of Marketing, Fonterra Future Dairy Pvt. Ltd.
I have worked across different categories in the consumer goods industry and have come across many successes and failures in new product launches. Dairy offers a lot of opportunities for innovators to create something exciting and delight the consumer. For me, the critical success factors are:
- Insight: What is the insight behind the innovation? What is the reason to believe that the innovation is going to resonate with consumers based on the insight?
- Problem solving: What problem are you trying to solve? Is it making the lives of consumers better in some way or another? Is the innovation more affordable, better performing, more convenient to use, or is it better than other products in any way?
- Consumer need: Is this innovation addressing a particular consumer need? There has to be one strong reason why consumers would buy this product. Is the innovation bridging the gap between consumer needs and current offerings in the market?
- Is it consumer driven or is it competition driven? Most of the launches that we see in the market by different brands come out because a similar product is doing well by one brand, and consumers take a back seat, with the new offering not solving any consumer need in the true sense.
- Communication: How is the innovation communicated to consumers? Through packaging, communication material or any other medium? A great innovation is of no use until and unless consumers get to know about it.
Director, California Dairy Innovation Center, USA
Innovation is definitely the key to our success in the marketplace, here in California, as well as in all other markets around the world. With the pandemic largely ‘behind us,’ consumers are venturing again to supermarkets and looking for new products. New products that fit their current needs, and that will not only provide nutrition but also deliver clear benefits – be it immunity, calm, energy or endurance.
What do I look for? A product that…
- Appeals to the senses and ‘protects the planet’: We all make decisions based on emotions – and this drives both impulse and repeat purchases. An exotic flavour reminiscent of past travels (and I do not mean airline food!)… I’ll love it. I will seek products with focus on regenerative farming, local culture and regional farmers. And this year, I’ll also pay special attention to recyclable, recycled and compostable packaging, or some innovative use of bioplastics. It is clear our industry needs to do its share to reduce total utilisation of virgin plastics.
- Never seen before? An unexpected texture, an enhanced benefit, a cool recyclable container, a totally new technology developed, or a new milk fraction ingredient discovered? Interesting! I will be curious about your product and you will stand out on my list.
- Clear benefit: After two years of the pandemic, we have much to look forward to as we resume our daily routines. This also means overloaded days, busy agendas and travel. If your product delivers documented, proven benefits to help boost immunity or cognitive function, promises easier digestion or a peaceful night, or is simply easier to open, store or serve, you’ve got a winner.
- New technology: Our industry is often constrained by regulations, and it is not always easy to introduce radical innovations in our sector. The products that truly ‘break the mould,’ offer new consumption occasions, convenience, cost savings or that make clever use of a new technology will be high on my list of favourites.
I wish the best of luck to all our contestants and thank all the organisers for this awesome event!
Senior Executive and Advisor
The world, as we know it, has drastically changed and people are now living differently, buying differently and, in many ways, thinking differently. The habits formed will endure beyond this crisis, permanently changing what we value, how and where we shop, and how we live and work. The pandemic in fact ‘accelerated’ some long-term trends. Changes anticipated over the next few years have occurred in the space of weeks, forcing companies to rapidly adapt as the demand for certain products and services outstrips supply. Innovation strategies and approaches also need to be adapted to accommodate these accelerated trends. This is the only way to be successful in the new normal. Below you can find some of the leading accelerated trends as benchmarks/criteria for judging innovation:
- The Wellness Stretch: 79% of consumers think the pandemic will increase the focus on health. Is your innovation delivering on the ‘better for me’ expectations of the consumer?
- Conscious consumption: 62% of consumers say the pandemic will increase their focus on the environment. How would you rate the ‘sustainability’ of your innovation?
- The love of buying local products: 46% of consumers will sustain their increase in buying locally sourced goods. Is your innovation tapping into the local sourcing?
- Driven by digital: A 160% increase is expected in ecommerce purchases from new or low-frequency users. Is your innovation digital savvy? Do you have an incorporated ‘omni-channel’ strategy?
- Consumer creators: 62% of consumers are trying new recipes or cooking methods such as homebrewing. Is your innovation ‘playful’? Is there a defined way to accommodate consumer touch, creativity?
Source for data points: Accenture Covid-19 Consumer Pulse Research
Senior Editor, FoodBev Media
There’s much to get excited about in the dairy sector right now. I will be looking for products/services that meet the following criteria:
- Individuality: How does the brand/product/service stand out from the crowd?
- Sustainability: This is really more of a prerequisite than a badge of honour. How is the brand making moves to leave the planet in a better condition?
- Health vs indulgence: Dairy is the perfect category for meeting the demand for both health and indulgence simultaneously. I’ll be looking for brands that deliver on both trends.
- Sensory appeal: Does the product offer a feast for all the senses? Taste is, of course, the most important, but how does it feel, smell, appear?
- Personality: Does the brand have a unique, colourful story to tell?
Vice President of Product Innovation, Dairy Farmers of America
There’s never been a better time to be in dairy. With taste, functionality, nutrition and sustainability, dairy is uniquely positioned to address the needs of today’s consumers. I am delighted to be a judge again this year. Here are the five criteria I will be judging products against.
- Uniqueness: Does this product address a consumer need in a fresh new way? Does it challenge our convention?
- Narrative: Does the product tell a story? Do we understand that story at first glance? Are we compelled to learn more? Is the story intriguing?
- Relevance: Is there a role for this product in consumers’ lives? Does this role tap into an evergreen need, or is it a passing fad?
- Insight: Has the product identified a consumer need in a contemporary way? Is there something to be learned from the way this product is addressing a consumer opportunity? Is there an ‘aha’ moment?
- Ingenuity: Does the product deliver a great experience via new-to-the-world technology, formulation, design, ingredient usage or packaging? Is the product sustainable?
Are you a dairy industry innovator worthy of our judges’ attention?