Growth Strategies Seminar IX – Recap 4 of 4 – Rich Foods

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Growth Strategies Seminar IX – Recap 4 of 4 – Rich Foods

By: Andrew Zenyuch, Innovative Issues Editor

Welcome to the last installment of recaps from our Growth Strategies Seminar IX. So far we’ve recapped presentations from Second City Communications, Liberty Hardware, and New Pig Corporation. In case you missed them, click the links above and check out the full presentations here:

Our final speaker of the day was Rob Kirwan from Rich Foods. Rob told the story of how Rich’s went through an Innovation Focus Discovery and Innovation™ program to look for new product ideas.

Rich’s has over 7000 business-to-business products in the food service industry, such as food products that are used by in-store bakeries and retail marketplaces. They had done some brainstorming in the past, but it was geared toward their current asset base and not connected to their customers. They wanted to get in touch with their customers to learn how they could make their lives easier when preparing food.

To do this, they conducted ethnographies in 5 major markets: Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Miami, and New York. They built profile sheets for each city to illustrate items that depicted the flavor of that city. They looked at the findings and built themes for the opportunity areas they wanted to ideate around.

After ideation, one big opportunity area emerged: one-handed dispensing of whipped toppings (like on an ice cream sundae or hot chocolate). Rich’s aggressively plotted their ideas from this theme on a path that would lead them to a very high impact and innovative idea.

By properly planning their ideas, Rich’s is well on their way to achieving the high impact ideas they plotted on the path. Please see the presentation for pictures of all these products.

First, they introduced the D-Disc™. The D-Disc™ goes on the end of a bag of whipped topping and is used to help squeeze the topping out, which results in 40% less waste of product.

Next, the Topping Tunnel™ was introduced. This mounts directly on the side of a preparation area to permanently hold the topping bag and use the D-Disc™ to dispense it.

Also introduced right around the same time was the Topping Caddy™, which holds the topping in a refrigerated area to help keep it cool.

Finally, Rich’s introduced the Whipped Topping Dispensing System™. This innovative device looks like a caulking gun and offers the one-handed dispensing Rich’s was searching for.

In the future, they’re looking to introduce ambient self-serving topping stations, which is a station that contains the whipped topping and allows the customer to apply it themselves. It’s amazing to look at these product ideas and know that all of them are packaging and delivery changes – not one involves altering the topping formula in any way.

While reconnecting with their customers, Rich’s was able to uncover an unmet need and an opportunity to be innovative. Through aggressive planning, they were able to take the product ideas generated to meet this need into a market success.