Kraft Heinz’s managing director Bob Rog on open innovation: "It's essential to keep looking outside your company"

16 December 2020

In addition to all the in-house resources that stimulate growth, multinational Kraft Heinz also invests in cooperation with innovative partners outside its own company. According to managing director Bob Rog, the advantages of open innovation are of great value within their growth mindset.

Kraft Heinz has a clear mission: to become the best company in the food industry. That's quite a bit. "We are a company in transition," explains Bob Rog, director of The Kraft Heinz Company. "We innovate to pursue our purpose: How can we make life more delicious?

Stimulate growth in-house
In order to answer that question, Kraft Heinz has several tools in-house. For example, there is an innovation center in Nijmegen that is responsible for all new products and packaging in the world - with the exception of America. With the omni-channel idea in mind, substantial investments were made in E-Commerce and Shopper Insights. The food company also hosts its own incubator Evolv. 

Source of inspiration
With equal interest Kraft Heinz also moves outside its own walls when it comes to sustainable, innovative ideas. "It's essential to keep looking outside your company," stresses Bob. "You can't and don't know everything yourself. The reason I like to talk with people, read and travel, is because I like to be inspired. There are many young people working at Kraft Heinz who, like me, have an internal drive to go out and find solutions. We try to learn something new every day, to keep developing. Brave New Food meets that need and at the same time we can inspire their network with our growth mindset.”

Accelerating through open innovation
The start-ups and scale-ups from the Brave New Food network represent various branches and disciplines. "That broad view is very valuable," says Bob. "There are so many variables like technologies, products, applications, digitisation - which you can play with to better serve consumers and shoppers; as you can see from their open calls! I really believe that through this way of open innovation, ideas and solutions can be brought together much faster.” 

Challenging the status quo together
Kraft Heinz's growth mindset has led to a well-oiled innovation flow in recent years. "We test new ideas small. Do they work? Then we scale them up." Instead of categorizing its products and thinking in terms of 'tomato ketchup' or 'breakfast cereals', Kraft Heinz has divided its portfolio into six 'platforms' for growth: Taste Elevation, Easy Meals Made Better, Flavorful Hydration, Real Food Snacking, Fast Fresh Meals and Easy Indulgent Desserts. "In the Netherlands, we focus on the first three. In addition to a shopper focus - the online shopper in particular - we are constantly looking for ways to make our products fresher and better and invite creative people to talk to us about this. Challenging the status quo together, that would be great!”

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