Innovation is Orkla’s primary tool for creating growth, and is therefore pivotal to Orkla’s day-to-day operations. Orkla’s innovation activities are based on an inter-professional focus that spans from idea to launch. Consumer, customer and market insight is combined with technological expertise and investments to develop products and solutions that delight consumers and meet their needs in an even better way.
Orkla has two main sources of growth through innovation: innovation in the form of new products in new or associated categories, or innovation in categories in which Orkla already holds strong positions. Creating new growth platforms to supplement Orkla’s current activities is also a key priority area. Orkla works on a broad front to identify innovation opportunities, across both specialised departments and countries, while also collaborating with suppliers and external innovation and research centres.
Orkla’s strength lies in its local connections, which give it in-depth insight into local consumer needs and how this knowledge can be translated into powerful innovations. At the same time, Orkla seeks to leverage its consumer insight, brand understanding and product development capability across the Group. In the time to come, therefore, there will be increased focus on innovation across companies and countries, under the heading “One Orkla”. An example of this approach is Grønnsakspasta vegetable pasta which was initially launched in Denmark and then in Finland and Norway. Another example of this thinking is the Orkla Growth Fair, an internal trade fair and arena for showcasing and discussing growth opportunities, including the most important coming innovations. This provides an good forum for sharing insights and learning, and for identifying opportunities that can be exploited across companies and categories. More than 100 different products and innovations were presented at the Growth Fair. The innovations ranged from the growth opportunities offered by vegetable pasta and ice cream accessories, to ergonomic innovations in painting tools, new cleaning methods, and focus on sustainability and applied research as drivers of innovation.
At the core of all innovation work lies the actual user experience, ranging from taste and function to how intuitive and easy a product is to use. Health and environmental aspects are also important drivers of innovation. Priority areas for innovation at Orkla are “Taste and Sensory Experience”, “Health and Nutrition”, “Sustainability and Environment” and “Packaging Innovation”.
High-level expertise and the exploitation of synergies across categories and companies are among Orkla’s primary competitive advantages. The Orkla Brand Academy is an example of this and has for many years been a driving force in Orkla’s brand and innovation work. Orkla’s Academy for Product Development & Innovation also plays a key role as an arena for sharing and developing innovation tools, know-how and methodologies across Orkla. Examples of the Academy’s focus areas are technological and culinary expertise, health, environment and packaging. In the coming years, efforts will be focused continuously on ensuring that Orkla’s local brands are consumers’ first choice by making them a better, simpler and healthier part of everyday life.