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Innovation challenge is staying true to beliefs

Innovation challenge is staying true to beliefs, says Loaf boss

The biggest challenge around product innovation for small to medium businesses is making sure they stay true to what they believe in, says Sean Armstrong, Director of Loaf Handcrafted Bread.

Speaking in a NZ Food and Grocery Council Leaders Series Video interview, he says the challenge for businesses the size of Loaf “is making sure that whatever we innovate, whatever we’re doing, we stay really true to what we believe in and what started us on that journey in business”.

“Don’t put anything in front of anybody that you wouldn’t eat or buy or sell yourself. You can’t sell something if you’re not going to eat it or you’re not prepared to buy it. So we want to make sure that when we get something in front of people that it’s honest, it’s true to what we believe.”

He says managing the growth of innovation is the hardest challenge – from a people, capex, or equipment perspective, and through to the sales force.

“But the biggest thing we look at is just making sure we don’t forget where we came from and how we got there, and that’s based around doing good, honest food, and making sure that it fits well and people enjoy it.”

He says the biggest driver of innovation for Loaf has come from listening to their staff and customers, and then going with their instinct.

“When we are developing new products we look at basic things – the category, what the size is doing, do we believe there’s room for growth, what’s been happening overseas, are there new raw materials we can put into those products to zoosh it up and make it a bit special.

“But a lot of it, to be honest, is gut feel. There’s nothing better than sitting in a room of people and you create something and they go ‘man, that’s just like what I had 20 years ago when I walked into Grandma’s kitchen’ - that sort of thing. You can’t beat that.”

Watch the interview with Sean Armstrong here


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