Wish we'd thought of that: the taste of innovation

Wish we'd thought of that: the taste of innovation
The 2016 round of the New Zealand Innovation Awards is open for entries so if you've got an amazing product, service or venture—or you know someone with a great idea who needs to be shoulder-tapped—now's the time to tell your story. And to get you thinking about entering—and to do as we always do and celebrate innovation of all stripes—we're showcasing the best ideas we come across. And this week we're looking at jealousy-inspiring ideas that would fit into the food and beverage category.

Do you have an innovation worth celebrating? Check out the categories of the 2016 Innovation Awards and tell your story by clicking here.

Everyone's gotta eat. And as the greedy, hungry species that we are, we’re constantly looking for tasty new ways to do so. Here are some ideas that will sate your appetite for innovation.

How do you like them apples? 

Tapping into New Zealand's premium position and recognising the global popularity of fresh fruit as a snack food (it's even ahead of chocolate!), the Havelock North Fruit Company created the Rockit, a new variety of apple that is not much bigger than a golf ball, a uniformly red colour, and sold ready-to-eat in a clear plastic tube. 

The company supplies Rockit apples to around 30 countries, including the US, China, Canada, Italy, the Middle East and Taiwan. It also supplies the prominent UK department store Marks & Spencer’s. And the Rockit apples, which are positioned as a high-end snack product, sell for a significant premium over a standard apple and the company is breaking into new market segments daily, including food service, vending, and corporate services. 

Off to the cricket

There's a growing chorus suggesting we need to stop squashing insects and start eating them like they already do in some other countries. The proponents say they're a cheap, plentiful and more sustainable form of protein than meat and local company Live Longer has developed a range of cricket-based products, like flour and protein bars, in an effort to show that you can change your ways AND maintain taste.  

Time is of the essence

We don't have time to sit around the table for three meals a day anymore. And, in some (sad) cases, we're even eating al desco. Snacking is a huge market and healthy snacking is growing rapidly. So Christchurch company Cookie Time's One Square Meal brand claims to be "the world's first balanced source of energy, protein, carbohydrates, fats, fibre, 10 vitamins and 6 minerals, all in a tasty and convenient food bar!" Speaking of Cookie Time, being able to send a personalised cookie postcard from the Cookie Bar is pretty nifty too. 

Dinner delivered

It’s not brand new but damn we wish we had thought of this: the meal-kit trend. My Food Bag is leading the local industry with what, in hindsight, seems like a ludicrously simple idea. Get a ‘foodie’ of note to develop recipes; spread the word; send people ingredients and recipe for delicious and approachable meals! The company has hit a chord, having amassed more than 35,000 active customers since its 2013 launch and it expects revenue of $135 million for the 2017 financial year. Yum.

A wolf in dog's clothing

It was the similarity between the DNA of dogs and wolves that inspired Geoff Bowers to create a new kind of dog food. During a sabbatical to study the grey wolf in Alaska, the former policeman and dog handler from Britain closely observed the wolves’ feeding habits. He decided to break into the dog food market with a natural product that was as close as possible to the diet of the Grey Wolf. With business partners Bruce and Judy Mayhew, Bowers started mixing ingredients for the ultimate dog food during weekends.

The food is different from other dog food in that it is 100 percent natural, raw and made from either beef, lamb, chicken, venison, salmon and a small amount of vegetables, eggs and fruit, true to the nutritional needs of canines. The company took off, it was sold for a fortune in 2013 and it now also does cat food (after selling, Bowers started Kuri, a one-stop dog centre in Christchurch). 

One step ahead of the lag

We’ve (mostly) all been there: flying to some exotic faraway location that requires 20+ hours of sitting in an upright position while crossing multiple time zones. You arrive exhausted, it’s 7am but it feels like 11pm, and the airline lost your luggage. This jet lag fighting beverage innovation won’t help with the luggage, but it will certainly make sure you’re more awake and aware that it is indeed no longer in your possession.

The key ingredient in 1Above is Pycnogenol which has been shown to reduce and possibly eliminate the occurrence of deep vein thrombosis during flight. Importantly it also combines vitamin C, B vitamins and essential electrolytes to improve hydration and ensure normal circulation function – something that doesn’t remain normal at 40,000ft.

Lydia Ko is pretty excited. I'm sure the Idea Log would be impressed too. 

More than meats the eye

As the Washington Post wrote recently, producing meat is pretty bad for the planet (agriculture accounts for one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions). But a number of ingenious solutions are popping up – some hi-tech, some available in your supermarket now. If you're still not keen on the idea of lab-grown meat, a company called Beyond Meat is creating meat substitutes with plant proteins. And the taste testers have been impressed (if you're keen to reduce the amount of meat we consume, check out the Blended Burger Project). 

Keeping things contained

Farming in the vast open fields of … a shipping container? Yep, it could be the future of your daily salad. Here's how it works. 

  • Enter by Friday 29 July to win one of five double passes to the NZ Innovation Awards event. Entries close Friday 5th August 5pm. Enter here