Image source: Importaco
Natalia Pons, Management Innovation Manager at Importaco, talks to us about the importance of scouting and the future of the food and beverage industry. Importaco is one of the main food and drink companies in Spain and is present in 7 countries.
How important do you consider innovation scouting for the food and beverage industry?
In our times, innovation scouting is essential for any industry. Technologies are evolving exponentially fast, and your capability to differentiate may depend on the appropriate technology, and also on your knowledge of the market to not fall behind your competitors. Therefore, it is critical right now.
What about monitoring and following technological trends?
I think monitoring is essential, as well. As I said, technology is moving forward in all industries and if you want to be a key player, you must be up to date with what is happening outside your company and all the opportunities and threats around you.
In fact, it is essential in any industry not only in the food and beverages sector. Think about the automotive centers, which are evolving tremendously; the energy sector, pharma… Everyone is looking for new opportunities, right? It’s basic.
“If you want to be a key player, you must be up to date with what is happening outside your company and all the opportunities and threats around you.“
How did you find out about Linknovate?
Well, we were already using a platform that did not quite convince us, so we wanted to change and started looking at platforms on the internet. We requested a demo online, but it didn’t really work for us at that point, it was years ago. After a while, we worked in a project with a consultancy, and we saw that their reports had been done using Linknovate. That’s when we decided to pick up the subject again focusing on getting to know the platform better, and here we are! (Laughing)
How does it help you in your work? What is the main benefit you get from it?
I think the usability of the platform and how it helps us to narrow down our search to very specific topics is what adds most value to our teams right now.
“The analysis of the information and the suggestions of the data analytics features are extremely helpful to refine the search and generate more valuable alerts and therefore, minimize the “infotoxication”.
What have you found most surprising about using Linknovate?
When we started using Linknovate we hardly used the relational map tab. This last year we have exploited that part much more to find who is generating the specific information that interests us and who they are collaborating with.
On one hand we are discovering benefits of the platform and on the other, we have had an internal evolution of our scouting process:
“We rely on it more and more, we are more focused, and we have come to get the most out of the platform”.
That is why this year we have worked a lot more on the organizations tab and the collaboration map and we have done well. That’s kind of gratifying, right?
Do you use other tools?
Yes, in addition to Linknovate we have several platforms, some are databases and others are platforms that interact with us if we need different solutions.
How do you keep up? Do you attend congresses, conferences, etc.?
Yes. When you attend congresses or tradeshows, they are always very powerful events to network. You can also discover ideas that you may not have considered initially. Sometimes you find a technology that surprises you, so you start looking into it in more depth or sometimes you even contact the companies behind a solution that you had not included within your objectives.
“I believe that it is a form of opening and knowledge as well, and that part is really positive”
How do you see the future of the food sector? What tech trends are you spotting that you can share with us?
(laughs) Well, I think that the food sector is evolving right now, but it has always been evolving throughout history. We have been adapting to the new generations and the new trends since the very beginning, so right now, the food sector keeps adapting to what the public demands. However, it is also true that consumers sometimes say they want one thing and then consume another.
That is also why scouting with your technology is so important, so you can really detect consumer needs. And well, in the end the current trends are focusing on very healthy and personalized food products.
The other day we participated in an event about fermentation, and why it is the future in our industry. And I thought about how difficult it is to determine these things. The food industry is and has always been changing all the time so it’s difficult to predict, but that’s why tools like Linknovate are so helpful.