Food Entrepreneur - October 12, 2021 - 12

FOOD ENTREPRENEUR®
FOOD
INTRAPRENEUR
How Nestle, Kellogg and Mondelez are nurturing innovation from within
BY MONICA WATROUS
T
his past January, a pricing analyst at
Nestle USA pitched to the company's
management team his idea for
the Brookie, a brownie-cookie combination
that may be marketed under the
Nestle Toll House brand.
The executives ate it up.
Peter Heil, who had joined the company
just two years earlier, was whisked
from his daily responsibilities and
matched with others in the organization
to develop the product for a pilot cookie
delivery service near Nestle's US headquarters
in Arlington, Va.
" The Brookie is the result of a mass
brainstorm, a giant incubator and the kind
of agile innovation you'd expect to find at
a startup rather than a large company with
more than a century of history behind it, "
Mr. Heil said.
He is among a growing number of
38
Food Business News
intrapreneurs, employed by large corporations
and empowered to generate new
product concepts. Nestle is one of several
food companies engaging an extensive
workforce to create what may become its
next billion-dollar business.
" When I started my role with the
Nestle finance team, I could never have
imagined I'd go on to be the founder of my
own product, " Mr. Heil said. " Launching
the Brookie has been an incredibly rewarding
experience, packed with lessons
about how foods go from small ideas in
the kitchen to products in consumers'
hands, and enriched by the collaboration
with peer and leadership teams. "
Nestle USA introduced the Open
Channel internal crowdsourcing initiative
three years ago. Employees throughout
the organization, regardless of job title
or function, are encouraged to submit
and vote on ideas. Those with the most
popular ideas are invited to present to the
executive leadership team and, if selected,
are provided resources to commercialize
the concept.
" Leading up to our pitch, we don't
just present the rough idea we started
with; we work with chefs and marketers to
make the best version of our product and
build a strong business case for the idea to
move forward, " Mr. Heil said.
More than 4,000 ideas have been
submitted over the years, and several
have become market successes, said Doug
Munk, senior director of new business
ventures at Nestle USA. An example is
Stouffer's Mac & Cheese Bites, a frozen
appetizer that has since rolled out nationally
and inspired additional launches,
including Stouffer's Classic Lasagna Bites
and Stouffer's Chicken Pot Pie Bites.
" Our average timeline is somewhere
between six and seven months from pitch
October 12, 2021

Food Entrepreneur - October 12, 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Food Entrepreneur - October 12, 2021

Food Entrepreneur - October 12, 2021 - 1
Food Entrepreneur - October 12, 2021 - 2
Food Entrepreneur - October 12, 2021 - 3
Food Entrepreneur - October 12, 2021 - 4
Food Entrepreneur - October 12, 2021 - 5
Food Entrepreneur - October 12, 2021 - 6
Food Entrepreneur - October 12, 2021 - 7
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Food Entrepreneur - October 12, 2021 - 9
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Food Entrepreneur - October 12, 2021 - 11
Food Entrepreneur - October 12, 2021 - 12
Food Entrepreneur - October 12, 2021 - 13
Food Entrepreneur - October 12, 2021 - 14
Food Entrepreneur - October 12, 2021 - 15
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