By Rocco Cardinale, Franklin Foods
Day two of the New Products Conference featured many informative presentations from a variety of talented executives: Dr. Scott Edgett, CEO and founder, Product Development Institute and Stage-Gate International; Bob Jones, CEO, Scientific Nutrition Products, Inc.; Kevin Hilgar, director of operator product development, Technomic; William Bigelow, VP business development/R&D and Jeff Wirtz, corporate executive chef, Blount Fine Foods; and Mike Helser, associate director, General Mills Worldwide Innovation Network.
The highlights of the day were the Collegiate Awards and Mintel’s Top 10 Trends presentation and tasting session.
Since 2003, DuPont has “partnered with leading universities to encourage and reward student innovation.” Participating students“physically create a new food and beverage product that addresses modern food science challenges.” The 2012 DuPont/Danisco Knowledge Award competition received 24 submissions from 12 universities. The award winners were:
1st Place – $10K: Clemson University – Harvest Fresh Fruit Smoothie
2nd Place – $5K: Kansas State – Sweet Potato Crisps
3rd Place – $2K: Clemson University – Blast Sorbet
Mintel’s Top 10 Trends and Tasting Session
Mintel, a platinum event sponsor, hosted two highly informative and fun events. First, Lynn Dornblaser and David Jago presented their “10 Trends You Must Keep in Mind When Developing New Products” presentation. Lynn and David are two of Mintel’s top CPG experts and take high-level insights on market, consumer, and product trends and boil them down to actionable takeaways for the attendees. The top 10 trends we all should be mindful of in our new product development efforts are the following:
- Weight loss evolves into hunger management.
- Everyone but consumers is focused on calories
- Smuggling fruit and vegetables into the diet
- Products for seniors are products for everyone.
- “Economy” is more than just low price.
- Private label ramps up innovation.
- Taking out the “fake”
- “Green” isn’t just about recycling – it involves the whole supply chain.
- Flavors go experimental and experiential.
- Technology helps consumers “play” with their food.
Lynn and David’s parting words of wisdom:
Technology means connectivity. Know that the powerful private label is here to stay. The food world has gone local. Focus on the positive features and benefits rather than on calorie and fat reduction. Most important, “keep it simple” is the driving theme across messaging of product features, benefits, and ingredients.
Mintel Tasting Session
At the Mintel Tasting Session, where conference attendees were able to sample more than 60 products from around the world. Products from France, Japan, the United Kingdom, Spain, and the USA caught my attention.
Japan: Diet Black Coffee Jelly
See you in San Diego in 2013!
Rocco has over 15 years of marketing and branding experience in the food and beverage, and consumer packaged goods industry. His background from founding a specialty coffee company in California to his current role as director of marketing for Franklin Foods, an innovative dairy manufacturer. Rocco’s marketing and branding successes have appeared in Bon Appetit, MSNBC, CBS, ABC, The Wall Street Journal and Wired Magazine. Connect with Rocco on LinkedIn and Twitter @RoccoCardinale.