Feeling disruptive? Good; it’s time for action.

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 7th September 2015

At school in the classroom, you would have been admonished for being disruptive. Or perhaps your trait was being “too creative” (including with what happened to your homework).

At last month’s PKN + Food & Drink Business LIVE Disruptive Innovation Industry Forum in Sydney, the message was clear: to move forward, you need to start thinking creatively. And to do that, you need to be disruptive.

Here’s a quick look at which trends are disrupting the food, beverage and packaging space, and which brands are getting it right. But more importantly, how can you harness creativity and innovation to move forward?Disruption forum _Matthews Aug15


This was the second PKN + Food & Drink Business LIVE Disruptive Innovation Industry Forum. And it certainly didn’t disappoint. In case you missed it, or want a quick recap, here are five lessons we took away:


  1. Drive, don’t be driven

Richard Sauerman, aka “The Brand Guy”, was in action at the inaugural LIVE forum last year. His powerful message is that you need to drive change, don’t be driven by it. To get you started, he asks:

“What’s your area of impact? Within that area, you have the choice to drive change. Set your sights on the moon and you’ll reach the moon. If you want to be disruptive, then be bold, audacious and outrageous.”


  1. Get lean, and harness it

Lean has been around for decades. But while it’s not new, Tim McLean, managing director of TXM Lean Solutions, wants the food and beverage industry to understand the power Lean has in increasing value and reducing waste. So don’t just put Lean processes in place to “speed things up”, actually spend time considering what your customer wants and then how you can use Lean to match their needs. (Learn more about Lean, and its impact on quality.)


  1. Digital is doing it                   

David Baveystock, from Comet Line Consulting, says the food industry will change. “You need to either disrupt your own business or face the serious risk of being disrupted.” Here are six key areas of disruption where Baveystock says digital business models are transforming the traditional food and beverage channels:

  • Online retail
  • Meal kit providers
  • Online meal delivery portals
  • Diet-based businesses
  • Direct delivery of prepared meals
  • Online marketplaces

Adam Ransom, MD of SGK Asia-Pacific, says in the USA in 2013, the total consumer packaged goods revenue was $660 billion, with $8b coming from online sales. For 2018, it is estimated that $36b of $718b will come from online sales.

Among the piles of examples of companies already exploring new ways of thinking were: Kogan Pantry, Dish’d and Marley Spoon, as highlighted by Creatovate MD’s Dermott Dowling, and dairy brand Bulla’s work partnering with creative start-ups to explore new territory, as told by Nick Hickford, Bulla’s sales, marketing and innovation specialist.


  1. Rethink packaging design                                                                  

Packaging design was a large topic. For HP’s Jason Beckley, the focus was on digital and how brands are looking to digital printing to stand out from the crowd. Case in point is the ever-popular “Share a Coke” campaign and Heinz’s recent foray into augmented reality. But packaging doesn’t have to be digital to be disruptive: Jacqui Wilson-Smith, Gourmet Garden’s head of marketing and innovation, talked through the company’s journey to the award-winning “lightly dried herbs”. Wilson-Smith’ message was about how brands can delve deep into consumers’ lives to find out their challenges – and then how to solve them. For Gourmet Garden, it was about finding a way to give home cooks access to fresh herbs. Not sure where to start? Learn more about the 3 labelling trends food and beverage manufacturers need to know.


  1. Private label: it’s growing

Private label enjoys over 21% of the grocery market (excluding fresh produce), up from 18% in 2012.

According to Coles’ Brand senior packaging technologist, Adam Robinson, consumers now trust that the quality of private label products is as good as name brands. Mostly this comes down to Gen Y —key drivers of private label acceptance, who just weren’t around in the early days of private label goods and their questionable quality. Nielsen research forecasts private label products will make up at least a quarter of all grocery sales by 2020. And the rise of ALDI and German discount supermarket Lidl (which is about to arrive in Australia) are sure to make this a reality.

Show stopper:

Here’s a statistic that stopped us in our tracks at the forum:

  • Daniel Flynn of Thankyou Group shared that 900 million people worldwide don’t have access to safe drinking water, while Australians spend $600 million annually on bottled water.

Here’s our take on the inaugural LIVE forum in 2014. This is where we first heard The Brand Guy talk about doing epic … things!

If you’re after information on Lean, or other topics, Matthews has an entire library of whitepapers and case studies, which are all free to download.

* Mark Dingley is General Manager of Matthews Australasia. With 20+ years of experience in the product identification industry and the wealth of knowledge gained from working closely with manufacturers and industry associations, Mark actively contributes to industry forums, magazines and the Matthews blog. An avid soccer fan, he also gets out on the field every Saturday, in between the “sports taxi run” for his family.