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Jul 26, 2019

In this episode, we’re joined by Rizal Hamdallah, the Global Chief Innovation Officer of Ocean Spray, for a discussion about how companies of all sizes can use innovation to positively impact the food system.

Hamdallah recently arrived at Ocean Spray from Tyson Foods, where he served as managing director of the company’s Innovation Lab, an incubation unit designed to rapidly bring new and potentially disruptive products to market. In his current role, he’s focused on a similar mission: helping the farmer-owned cooperative develop new, health-focused products. 

As part of our conversation, Hamdallah explained why he’s bullish about the future of personalized nutrition, how the company attempts to “develop and deliver innovative products that consumers didn't even know they needed,” why he views Ocean Spray’s size as a key advantage over smaller companies, and why he’s critical of how some brands are promoting sustainability.

Show notes:

1:16: Livin’ That New-Age Life -- The hosts sipped and snacked their way through a dozen new food and beverage products sent to the office over the past week, including CBD-infused coconut water and coffee, cheese-dusted granola, and chocolate-covered chickpeas. Later on, Mike remarked on the number of new hydration-focused powders coming to market.

15:33: Rizal Hamdallah, Global Chief Innovation Officer, Ocean Spray -- In an interview recorded at Ocean Spray’s new Boston office, Hamdallah spoke with Taste Radio editor Ray Latif about his new role with the company, why he views Boston as a key hub for the food and beverage industry, how he defines “innovation” and the elements of an innovative concept. He also explained why companies need to incorporate the “self-centered” mentality of modern consumers into their innovation strategy, why leaders have to “walk the walk,” and why testing and learning must include constant iteration. Finally, he offered his take on a few major food trends, including plant-based formulations, reduced sugar and sustainability.

Brands in this episode: C-WTR, Good Day, Nix and Kix, Seven Teas, Moti, Health-Ade Kombucha, Coco To Go, Bumble and Butter, Smartfood, Stonyfield, lil'gourmets, Lebby Snacks, Biena, Whoppers, Gatorade, BodyArmor, Skratch Labs, Superieur Electrolytes, Cure Hydration, Benni, SoS Hydration, Liquid I.V., Barnacle Foods, Ocean Spray, Tyson Foods