Food is powerful in how it unites people, yet it is also so personal. In this fast-paced world, convenience often trumps health, and taste remains a top priority. Striking a balance between these factors isn’t easy; it takes research, a true understanding of the consumer and a passion for innovation.
Gabriella Parisse, president of the Innovation and Commercial Development group at Tate & Lyle, one of gyro’s outstanding client partners, shares how she helps create a culture that nurtures this innovative spirit and inspires the company’s core focus of making food extraordinary.
Specialty food ingredients, by definition, aren’t always the “star” of the show. How do you make your products humanly relevant?
Our innovation approach starts with the consumer. We need to understand what the consumer wants in order to develop new products that are relevant for our customers.
Today’s consumers are demanding more from the foods they eat than ever before. They are looking for convenience that aligns with their 24/7 lifestyles. At the same time, they are looking for health benefits and are increasingly interested in natural, clean-label foods.
While our ingredients may not always be the “star” of the show, they can help customers deliver the benefits that consumers are seeking. Said another way, our ingredients can help customers take their products from ordinary to extraordinary. For example, our latest innovation, DOLCIA PRIMA® Allulose, is a low-calorie sugar that makes it possible for customers to reduce calories while still delivering the great taste that consumers demand.
How is this relevance reflected in your marketing?
It is very important that our marketing communicates a product’s value proposition and differentiated benefits in a compelling and impactful way. gyro has been our strategic partner in bringing our value propositions to life in a distinctive and impactful way for customers. TASTEVA® Stevia Sweetener is a great example of a marketing campaign that dramatized the benefit of natural sweetness without bitterness with a creative idea that is motivating and relevant for customers.
It is also very important for us to understand how customers like to receive information about our products. Again, gyro helps us navigate the evolving media landscape globally so that we can reach our customers at the right touchpoints and with the right messaging.
In this digital age, transformation is everything. What does transformation look like at Tate & Lyle?
We are in the midst of transformation on many levels. I lead the Innovation and Commercial Development (ICD) group, which is charged with developing new products that can transform the foods we eat and the beverages we drink to make them healthier and tastier.
We are also transforming our product portfolio to align with the evolving world in which we operate. The growth in millennials and the aging population as well as urbanization and the obesity epidemic are driving changes in the way people eat. We need to ensure that our portfolio is well positioned to deliver what our customers need today as well as tomorrow.
In addition, we are transforming the way we collaborate with our customers. With our food expertise and enhanced consumer understanding, we are able to elevate the conversation with our customers. Our goal is to be a strategic partner for our customers in co-creating products that are successful in the marketplace.
How are you creating a culture of innovation?
For me, it is very important that we have a clear strategy for growth and defined priorities so that everyone in ICD is moving in the same direction and understands what we are trying to accomplish.
As I said before, innovation starts with the consumer. We have worked hard and made investments to build new expertise in areas such as sensory, culinary and marketing to gain insights into consumer trends and identify growth opportunities for our customers. In our fiscal year 2015, our volume from new products doubled. This is because we are introducing products that are relevant in the global markets in which we operate.
I want to bring everyone in ICD closer to the consumers and the customers we serve. Our new corporate branding of “Making Food Extraordinary” provides inspiration for our employees with its focus on the end consumers that will ultimately benefit from our innovations.
I also believe in celebrating our wins. We need to celebrate the new standard we set with the recent launches of CLARIA® Functional Clean-Label Starches and DOLCIA PRIMA® Allulose and recognize all the hard work that went into making them happen.