Game-changing innovation is obviously front-and-centre of any serious entry into #NIAwards17.
“We’re looking for innovative products, so if there’s an ingredient that is different, or provides a benefit that’s not commonly available or hasn’t been researched before, that’s very interesting,” said London-based Hudson, head of health and wellness, ethical labels and nutrition research at Euromonitor International.
Hudson said a product need not have an approved health claim, or clinical trials – although these can help – as long as it can show proven innovative benefits.
“If a product is just taking three vitamins and putting them together with some nice packaging, there’s little innovation in it – so something like that wouldn’t be as eye-catching,” she relayed.
Bleiel, CEO at University College Dublin-based, business-focused dairy innovation incubator, Food Health Ireland (FHI), said he was looking for three things: “Real innovation, impact, and defined target market.”
Making your supporting material count
That said, for Bleiel, presentation matters: “Is this innovation presented in such a way that the consumer can understand the benefit of the innovation? Is it becoming clear in the material what this innovation is really about, is it explained in such a way that a 14-year-old consumer can understand what this product is about?”
Both judges pointed to the importance of additional material, and making sure there was neither too much or too little to impresses the judges.
“The main problem is that people put a lot of literature and marketing spiel into the submissions, without many facts behind it. And then we have to go through it and pull the relevant bits out,” said Hudson.
“Sending 10 or 15 documents, nobody has time to look at that – but if they send one or two good product folders, or even a video, that’s good,” Bleiel added.
“Anything that gives it more specificity – a live aspect to it – is good. A form doesn’t excite you too much – you want to see something. And that makes it more realistic, more like this is a real product in the marketplace, and not just the idea of a scientist."
Just answer the questions
In this sophistication though, the basics still matter as does conscientiously scanning the 13 award category criteria.
“We had a few submissions which were submitted under different criteria," said Hudson. "Obviously in some cases it’s perfectly relevant, but it’s good to be certain that the claim or product or ingredient supports all of these claims really strongly.”
She also noted the importance of answering the questions listed on the application form: “Sometimes we have applications where the answers don’t really address the questions. So just stick to the question, and provide all the supporting evidence that’s relevant to the question.
“We’re looking for solid science, facts, numbers – if there are scientific studies, what are the results? The more concrete numbers there are substantiating the claim, or the activity of the ingredients, especially if they are independent studies, the better,” she added.
Bleiel said that simply following the criteria in the form can give a submission a boost: “I remember there was a guy who came into the last round, with the last three applications, simply because he absolutely followed the criteria list, so it was really easy to judge the submission and give the respective points for each criteria.
“There were other people who probably had good applications, but it was very hard to see how they related to the criteria that were asked for – so it gets much more difficult to give it a fair judgement."
Look here to see the full list of 13 Awards and submission details. Entries close on 3 February.
The full judging panel is here.