FOOD AND BEVERAGE TRAILBLAZERS PODCAST EPISODE 16
PODCAST: ‘Back to school’ - Nutrition Innnovation CEO on transitioning from MNC to sugar tech start-up
Sugar reduction and reformulation is a very hot topic in the APAC F&B industry today with the rise of health awareness, and many new firms have emerged with new technology or sweetening ingredients in hopes of tackling this issue. Nutrition Innovation however is taking a very different tack by instead focusing on making sugar itself healthier for consumption.
“Why we’ve chosen to work on improving sugar as opposed to going in search of new, [potentially better] sweeteners to replace this is because given the health issues we are facing, we need a solution that can scale very quickly,” Godfrey told FoodNavigator-Asia.
“New, novel sweetening ingredients and foods may take years to get FDA approval and years to get to market, as well as likely millions of dollars to build factories. How many people will be impacted [by the sugar overconsumption issue] if industry takes 20 to 30 to 40 years to solve the problem?
“So looking back at sugar itself, which is a really pervasive ingredient in the food industry, and finding what the problems with it actually are [would be a way to] solve problems and save lives quicker.”
Prior to Nutrition Innovation, Godfrey spent over 20 years in the marketing and communications industry, heading large firms such as Young & Rubicam and Publicis as President or CEO in Asia – so making the transition to heading a food technology startup required some adjustment.
“Moving over to a CEO role in food technology and innovation from 20 to 30 years in marketing and communications, I found that I could carry a lot of the skills learnt such as talent management and product marketing and more – but also found that I need to keep going back to school,” he said.
“[I’ve] needed to learn a lot about to thoroughly understand the products [from a food science] point of view, such as pharmacology and bioactive compounds - so as an entrepreneur in a start-up, [even as CEO] there is space for one to bring existing skills into play, but there is also this part where you need to keep learning.
“Another thing to remember is that when you’re running a large organisation with 35 offices and 2,000 people, this means you’ve got scale and resources – but moving from corporate life to start-up life [means] none of the processes and systems to guide you exist anymore, so you are going to have to build that up from scratch.”
Godfrey also stressed the importance of humility in entrepreneurship, and making sure to learn from every failure.
“Even if you believe that you’ve studied the market and know exactly what you’re doing, if you present your idea to others and people aren’t buying it, make sure not to just sit back and insist you’re right but instead figure out what you did wrong and learn from it – because if they’re missing the point, than maybe other people are missing the point too,” he advised.
Listen to the podcast above to find out more.