New product development innovation is at the heart of Life Health Foods, one of the keys to successfully growing our Kiwi favourite brands. We sat down and had a conversation with our dedicated NPD team about the approach they take with innovation.
New product development innovation is at the heart of Life Health Foods, one of the keys to successfully growing our Kiwi favourite brands. We sat down for a conversation with our dedicated NPD team about the approach they take with innovation.
Innovation is one of those words that is thrown around and can mean many different things to different people. It can involve optimisation of an existing product, or something new and exciting that has never been seen before.
At Life Health Foods, innovation begins with an idea, a spark of inspiration that a dedicated team brings to life, leveraging years of experience, skills and knowledge. It kicks off with a structured brief, drawing from trends in NZ and overseas, with insight into what consumers are looking for and identified gaps in the marketplace where new news could thrive.
Our recently launched Bean Supreme 2-pack burger concept is a good example. Until now most plant-based burgers in NZ have been sold with 4 patties to a pack. However over the last 12 months in Australia, burger packs with 2 larger patties have become popular. Insights showed that with single or adult households, 4 burgers is often too many, so a 2 pack offers more convenience. Patties of a more generous size reflects trends in cafes and restaurants towards burgers packed with the “good stuff” – whole foods and vegetables. We believe this format has potential in NZ – and after 6+ months of development, our newest products have just launched – Bean Supreme Veggie Good and Cauli-Power Burgers.
Successful innovation strikes the right balance between structured process, creativity and cross-functional collaboration. People often ask where ideas for creating new recipes come from. For Life Health Foods, it starts with a talented, diverse and curious team that can draw on numerous experiences.
“Ideas come through absorbing society, what’s happening, what’s coming through on social media, what conversations are happening, what are the things that are important to society and the world.” – Robyn Stewart, Life Health Foods NPD team
Our recently launched LISA’S 2in1 hummus products came from discussions on how to add new excitement to flavoured hummus. While the new flavours launched (including dill pickle and smoky BBQ) are delicious eaten by themselves, they taste even better enjoyed together. Launching two hummus flavours in the same container was the ‘change up’ the cross-functional innovation team came up with. If early results are any indication, our customers are as excited by this this new offer as we are!
A lot of project management is required for great innovation. The development steps, production processes and approval stages all need to be coordinated and there is always deadlines and time pressure.
“We have to hustle, we have to build connections, have to have good relationships within all parts of the business so that we can all cohesively bring it all together and get the product through.” – Robyn Stewart, Life Health Foods, NPD team
Covid-19 has added some extra challenges to NPD development, with some staff working from home and Covid precautions in place within our production areas. Overcoming the challenges has been a real team effort.
“You’ll always hit roadblocks, and we need others to help us get through them, it’s not just one or two teams executing.” – Josh Jones, Life Health Foods, NPD team
Sourcing has been significantly impacted by Covid and this has required changes and new solutions that don’t always work first time.
“There has never been a time that we’ve dropped the ball… we approach it with, okay so this has happened, how do we do better next time and how do we fix it right now?” Janelle Wehner, Life Health Foods, NPD team
With all of this going on, top of mind for the teams at Life Health Foods through every stage of innovation, are the very high customer expectation levels that need to be met.
“Our customers aren’t going to be satisfied with where we were 6 months ago, they expect that we’ll better ourselves every time. This is what attributes to an extremely high success rate for NPD coming out of Life Health Foods.” – Robyn Stewart, Life Health Foods, NPD team
At Life Health Foods we value resilience, perseverance and passion to deliver great products that people will love. That’s what drives our successful innovation time after time.