Global News

New Business: The secret’s in the sauce: VMLY&R takes a human-centred approach to product innovation for Heinz

CHINA — Global brand experience agency, VMLY&R has been appointed by Kraft Heinz in China to help the brand develop a new product innovations framework within the sauces and condiments category.

In the last thirty years, China has witnessed rapid economic expansion. Its cuisines have flourished, with new ingredients, new sauces, and of course new flavours coming to the fore. China’s condiment market alone is estimated to be worth around USD$40bn and thanks to evolving technologies, the market could see further transformation in the next few years via the development of new molecules and the use of precision fermentation.

VMLY&R won the assignment via competitive tender due to the agency’s unique methodology, which, rooted in design thinking and behavioural science theory, helps teams to embark on constructive co-creation programs to arrive at shared clarity.


“Commoditisation is a value destroyer. As the market landscape for sauces and condiments in China continues to intensify, it will be those brands who seek to innovate who will reap the biggest rewards,” said Keith Timimi, Chief Innovation Officer at VMLY&R, Asia. “It has never been more important for organisations to get close to their customers, delve deep into their own capabilities, and leverage technology, culture and creativity in order to tap into exponential growth curves. By focusing on human beings, we can identify unmet or unknown needs, which can unlock approaches that competitors are not even thinking about.”

The project, which remains highly confidential began in 2020, with the first three months being used to develop a number of new product concepts and prototypes. Kraft Heinz and VMLY&R then work through a value-centered design process to narrow down the list to the three most innovative and achievable concepts, with work ongoing around platform extendibility. The new product is planned to hit the shelves this year, with formats and channels continuing to evolve from there.

Commenting on the project, Allen Cai, Asia CMI Head / Digital / Media & Content Hub, Heinz, Asia, said: “Identifying first-in-market innovations is an incredibly tough ask for any marketer. VMLY&R’s innovation acceleration process is rooted in opening up market gaps and mind gaps for consumers and cross functional teams. It’s proving to be a valuable process, which is yielding results, and I would recommend this strategy to any marketer looking for meaningful innovative differentiation in any competitive marketplace.”

VMLY&R has worked with Kraft Heinz in Asia since 2016, as the brand’s 360-degree marketing partner, delivering brand, marketing and innovation strategy, and creative and social campaigns spanning categories including soy, chili, canned fish and cordials across Indonesia, Thailand, India & China.

Partner with adobo Magazine

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Back to top button