Can reality TV deliver 3D food NPD? China’s Bright Dairy seeks to make celebrities out of innovators
The “Bright Tech Super Factory” located in the Baoshan district of Shanghai, is built on the firm’s now-defunct factory, and is expected to be completed in December this year.
A two-year long competition will take place in the factory, where 20 contestants - comprising of either individuals or teams - would live in the factory as they conceptualise and create their products.
The entire process will be captured and presented as real-life variety show on the national TV. Broadcasting firms such as Hunan TV and video streaming platform Youku are expected to be involved in the TV production.
The announcement about the new initiative was made during the Food and Beverage Innovation Forum held in Hangzhou last week.
The competition theme for this inaugural event is 3D food-printing. The winning teams or individuals could expect their concepts to be acquired by Bright Dairy Food Group.
Applications are open on social media platforms such as WeChat under the ID “brightechfac”. Companies, individuals, or even students with promising and proven food and beverage manufacturing technology or products from all around the world are eligible to take part in the competition.
A judging panel made up of industry experts from the food, luxury brands, and the media would select the top 20.
These teams would then compete against one another in the factory, where they will work on improvising their technology and concepts.
“In this factory, we will create content that is relevant to the food and food technology industry, and inject entertaining elements into the content.
“Everyone understands the idea of consumer traffic, but what can create traffic? To create traffic that involves more consumer interaction is by injecting entertaining elements. Thus, we will slowly move from the traditional product manufacturing or technology innovation process into the next level, putting these technologies, these content and products into something that consumers could appreciate.
“We hope to make the craftsmen from the food manufacturing industry or even craftsmen from the other industries into celebrities…Becoming a celebrity means you will have your own fans, they would trust and chase after anything products that you have manufactured,” said Dong Tian Yi, producer of the project.
To bring the R&D process even closer to end-consumers, the “Super Canteen” which usually serves as a regular dining area for the contestants within the factory, will be opened for monthly public visits, allowing the public to get a first taste of the competing products.
Connecting with luxury brands
Through the competition, Bright Dairy also hopes to drive inter-industry cooperation, such that food and beverage R&D ideas could be extended beyond the food industry.
There are plans to work with luxury brands from the fashion industry to present the contestants’ products beyond traditional methods.
It has been increasingly common for food and beverage brands in China to engage in inter-industry cooperation. Examples include Rio and Six God cocktail jointed developed by Rio, a China cocktail brand, and Six God, a perfume brand based in Shanghai.