It’s a question that’s top of mind at PepsiCo, says Seth Kaufman, president of North America Nutrition at the CPG giant, who will be speaking at FOOD VISION USA in Chicago next month along with Jeff Zachwieja, senior director, global R&D nutrition sciences, and Becca Kerr, VP and general manager, Tropicana North America.
“While our size and scale enable us to make nutritious foods and beverages accessible to more people, we recognize the need to adopt the agile mindset and behaviors of a nutrition startup,” Kaufman told FoodNavigator-USA.
“That means fostering a culture of purpose and nimble reinvention, as well as breaking down processes that don’t support quickly adapting to the consumer and competitive landscape.
“We’re learning a lot from tech companies and smaller brands to set in motion our goal to expand our portfolio in the emerging and on-trend spaces, while innovating around our trusted brands like Quaker so we can extend its inherent goodness.”
Should big food still innovate?
But should big companies even try to come up with new products and brands (as opposed to line extensions and new flavors), or instead serve as scale-up platforms for smaller, sexier, brands that they invest in or buy outright?
“It doesn’t need to be one or the other,” argued Kaufman.
“We can be more nimble on innovation by having an ‘open-source’ model with outside companies and partners, who develop products and propositions on our behalf and with our guidance, but without the typical constraints of a large CPG. We want to take the best that PepsiCo has to offer and use that to advance an important nutrition portfolio and agenda that can benefit people all over the world.”
As for in-house expertise, he said, “We have some of the most talented people in the world innovating and building brands. Just look at Tropicana Probiotics and Quaker Overnight Oats. We can capitalize on our strengths while also exploring strategic acquisitions that bring new strengths to the table.
“We recently welcomed KeVita, a benefit-centric probiotic beverage brand, to the family and have seen great success in learning from its craft expertise and deep knowledge of health-oriented consumers while also accelerating the brand’s scale. It’s a symbiotic relationship.”
Plant-based trends, proteins…
So what trends is PepsiCo monitoring right now?
“We know consumers are thinking holistically about health and nutrition, it’s all about staying well,” said Kaufman.
“We’re keeping our finger on the pulse of rapidly-evolving trends, following themes from plant-based offerings to how protein is being redefined. We recently introduced gluten-free Quaker Oats and Tropicana Probiotics based on the benefits consumers are seeking. It’s just the beginning, you can expect a lot more from us in the future.”
A nutrition transformation within PepsiCo
In the 40-minute session on day two of FOOD VISION USA (November 14), we’ll ask Kaufman, Zachwieja and Kerr how they are leading a nutrition transformation within PepsiCo, how they’re navigating inherent challenges faced by many larger companies to deliver innovative nutritious choices, the role consumer insights play in their product development pipeline, what’s new on the horizon and the importance of transparent consumer and customer communication in helping people make educated choices.
FOOD VISION USA: The food event of the year
Held at the W Hotel in Chicago on November 13-15, FOOD VISION USA 2017 will also bring together a clutch of industry luminaries from Chobani’s president and COO Tim Brown; to PeaPod CMO Carrie Bienkowski, Chef'd CEO Kyle Ransford, Miyoko’s Kitchen founder and CEO Miyoko Schinner, and Campbell Soup’s VP, R&D, Americas, Jeff George.
On the opening night, VMG Partners md Wayne Wu and Sir Kensington’s co-founder Scott Norton will join Mattson president Barb Stuckey and Food Future Co CEO Gigi Lee Chang to address the question: What is innovation, and who is driving it?
They will also provide expert feedback on stage to our three industry trailblazers – three start-ups that are doing the most to drive innovation and champion change: The Chaat Company, HargolFoodtech and Epic Source Foods (Funny Farm).
- Are meal kits here to stay?
- What does the Amazon/Whole Foods deal mean for everyone else?
- Can water give soil a run for its money? (the future of hydroponics)
- Big food? Small food? Or smarter food?
- Will healthy vending take off?
- Who's really driving innovation in the food industry?
- Can we make gelatin without animals?
- How clean is your label?
- Will consumers embrace 'clean' (a.k.a. cultured) meat?