Living in Boulder, Colorado and attending BevExpo every year I see lots of innovation in food and beverage. I estimate that 98% of the innovation I see comes from small companies and entrepreneurs. People with more to gain than lose. Large companies circle around these innovations and allow the little guy to take all the risk. When they feel it is going to be a success, they swoop in and pick it up. When this happens, the entrepreneur is usually very happy financially which encourages others to also take the risk of developing a new idea.
Large food and beverage companies are adverse to risk.
If you work for a large company, you could lose your job if you took a chance and failed. That’s why I was pleasantly surprised to see one of the beverage giants, Pepsi, taking a chance on a new idea. They think that the juice of the cashew fruit will be the next coconut water as you can read in this New York Times article. They will have no trouble getting on shelf or gaining trial, two of the biggest hurdles of an underfunded start up. If they are successful they will create a category for smaller companies to enter. This is the reverse of what usually happens when the visionary entrepreneur creates the category, paving the way for the food and beverage giants. It will be interesting to watch as cashew fruit beverage enters the market to see how it does. In any case I hope this sets an example for more innovation from larger companies. Interact on Shelf is a design firm that works exclusively with grocery brands. What makes us different is that we study consumer culture, design trends, industry innovation and many other dynamics that shape opportunities for your brand in order to create iconic work that’s designed to sell in a retail environment. If you think you could benefit from partnering with a young, energetic bunch like us, you know what to do. Contact us! By Blake Mitchell