Monash Food Innovation (MFI) – Half Yearly Newsletter 2020
The pioneering Food Innovation initiative is now 7 years old! In uncertain times innovation and exploration can sometimes be put on hold. We argue there is a need for both….
Monash Food Innovation (MFI) continues to deliver fresh ideas and innovation to help food and beverage companies achieve their ambitions for the future. We remain a one stop shop that has world class innovation capabilities, expertise and facilities that enable businesses to understand the changing interests of consumers and quickly bring new concepts to domestic and international markets.
There is no doubt that the pandemic will continue to have a profound impact on the global community for some time to come and that its effects will be felt by people and organisations right across Australia.
We wanted to start by letting you know that we are continuing our work during these challenging times and have worked hard to move many of our services online. We see this as a critical time to to be working with the FMCG industry to help it pivot and adapt to a changing market. Understanding consumer motivations and behaviour has never been so important, we have already seen that COVID-19 related restrictions have implications for food and beverage consumption. More meals are being prepared at home and consumers have a heightened reliance on this food for physical and emotional survival.
MFI’s mission is to continue partnering with the FMCG industry to address future challenges and unearth opportunities through leading design innovation, education and research in Agrifood.
Our last Newsletter was in mid 2019 (oh how time flies) however we are not going to leave it so long next time. Future updates will be shorter than this, will come out more regularly and will include links that allow you to ‘click’ on the areas most relevant to you.
Overall we are pleased to report there has been a continuous demand for innovation, insight inspiration and education. Our clients tell us that we have continued to deliver industry leading innovation and consumer validation services to the FMCG community. Many of our innovations now reside on retail shelves, which warms our soul, however we are continuing to grow and evolve and have learned to leverage the scale of Monash University and the plentiful resources inside this famous institution. For many clients we have connected and leveraged Monash University’s extensive research capability and infrastructure to translate new ideas into commercial success.
We are sharing a few highlights from the last year and would love to hear from you if these spark ideas or opportunities for collaboration.
Singaporean SME’s and Monash students unite to change the future
In the autumn of 2019, MFI hosted its first project with Singapore in which we assisted eight Singaporian food and beverage SME’s that were interested in expanding into the Australian market. Each SME was partnered with a team of Monash University students from a diverse range of disciplines (Engineering, Business Economics and Science) to learn and apply MFI methodologies for business innovation. At the end of the 12 week program, representatives from the Singaporian SME’s travelled to Melbourne for a week-long immersive ‘bootcamp’ culminating in a pitch event for industry and the students.
This groundbreaking initiative was mutually beneficial for the Singaporean companies and for Monash students and enabled both groups to work together to develop innovative commercial solutions. The program was such a success that it is being repeated in 2020, though it will be entirely online.
See the program in action here…
Carlton United Breweries ‘fast innovation’ design sprint
CUB engaged MFI and PLAY Market Research to conduct a design sprint that could rapidly validate and iterate a new liquid offering targeting the millennial pre-mix market.
Enter ‘Actual’ Seltzer, utilising the MFI design sprint methodology, services and resources at the Monash Clayton campus. This program allowed CUB to validate existing pipeline ideas for their new product line and then iterate (‘on the spot’) using a consumer centric approach. No stone was left unturned, from brand proposition to retail validation.
Read more about the product below:
Coles intensive workshops for Category Managers
Coles appreciate that MFI has cutting edge techniques to upskill and de-risk innovation such as customer design led thinking and product and packaging prototype design, shopper research and virtual reality technology. Using these tools and educating team members about how to use them, can lead to higher rates of commercial success. This continuous workshop program for Category Managers influences ‘the store of the future’. The workshops encourage bigger ideas and more impactful breakout initiatives.
Hop to it! The biggest bunny in the world!
Darrell Lea Giant Easter Bunny Work Integrated Learning program
Darrell Lea approached MFI with a challenge for a seasonal Easter launch due to our expertise in chocolate mould creation. The ambitious brief called for the creation of an imposing two meter bunny that could be produced in the factory and sent to several signature locations in Australia to gain significant PR exposure. MFI worked with the Monash Engineering faculty (just voted number one in Australia) to assist with design, evaluation and construction of the chocolate mould. The intricacies and strict parameters for the form and weight of the mould were addressed over an eight week program in which all students that participated were awarded credits for the project. The outcome was a factory ready mould design and a stunningly impressive rabbit!
Locked down in our factory, Darrell was looking for something… 🐰 #DLMakesItBetter
Posted by Darrell Lea on Sunday, April 5, 2020
These are just a few of the exciting projects we’ve been working on since the last update. A few others you might find interesting include:
- Our presence at the EvokeAg2020 trade show in Melbourne
- Our involvement in the new Masters of Food Science and Agribusiness
- The new internship program
- Our work with the Monash Blockchain Technology Centre to develop the potential for Agrifood value chains
- Monash researcher Professor Louise Bennett presented at the Shift20 Expo on a novel workflow to identify bioactive compounds and degradation products in foods from processing
- Membrane technologies in food industry
- Addressing the future of packaging
Finally, as we are not currently able to host actual tours of our world class facility, we recently put together a virtual tour, showcasing some of our innovation facilities so that potential clients can understand exactly what we have in our armoury. From eye tracking to virtual store to prototyping and design thinking…….it’s all in the video….and more! To access the link to this virtual tour tour or receive further information on MFI capabilities please contact:
That’s it for now…..thanks for reading our newsletter and we hope you enjoyed catching up with the life and times of MFI. The next instalment will be with you in Q3.
Stay well and keep thinking about innovation!