By The FoodBowl Chief Executive Alexandra Allan



Do you ever wish you had a crystal ball to predict the ‘next-big-thing’ in food and beverage?  Do you have a dedicated internal team that develops new products or processes, or is it just you?  Either way, we now invite your project team to talk to us at the Food Innovation Network.

As entrepreneurs, established manufacturers, and producers, you are guided by trends and technical innovation, intel from industry magazines or researching other markets. Now you can bring the use of our food and beverage network into the mix!

New Zealand has previously been known for being second in the world for innovation, however we dropped to 25th in the last year…  We need to work as a team to turn this around.  The Food Innovation Network can support the food and beverage industry to blaze a trail with strong, internationally anticipated products that will drive export growth, lets aim for number one next year!

So, how do food and beverage processors get ahead and succeed?

Here lies the dilemma, and it is getting harder to stay ahead with trends moving so fast.  By coupling new product development with exceptional marketing and communication, companies can bring the modern consumer along on the journey.  Social media has bought us a plethora of information to track our customer avatar and understand their buying behaviours.

Today it’s not just about flavour, texture or design, but rather today’s fast-moving market requires that everyone touching new product development – from broad strategic innovation to culinary and food science and packaging – is working from consumer insights.

Today’s consumers are weighing taste adventure and convenience with new considerations related to what is better for me (diet and personal health) and better for the planet (ethics, sustainability). Those last two factors especially adding even more variables into any new product and packaging discussion.

Over the next 12 months we are going to take you on a journey and update you on what the Food Innovation Network see as up and coming HOT categories, products or niches for both the New Zealand landscape and export opportunities.  We will couple this up with new equipment that we have bought on board across the network to get you thinking about new product opportunities.

Feel free to pop over to our website for more details on our webinars series, more blogs, and information to help you on this journey.

Alexandra Allan is the Chief Executive for The FoodBowl – an open access facility operated by NZ Food Innovation Auckland and part of the NZ Food Innovation Network. She has experience in managing client projects as well as oversight on plant operations previously as the Client Solutions Manager for The FoodBowl. Prior to that, Allan has held senior positions at Danone and Horley’s in product development.

The information and opinions within this column are not necessarily the views or opinions of Hot Source, NZ Food Technology or the parent company, Hayley Media.