Asia’s eating habits are changing, as “always-on” consumers move away from regular mealtimes to embrace more snacking – a development that is inadvertently driving innovation in this category, according to a regional Kellogg’s executive.

“There is a ‘snackification’ of eating that is happening,” according to Shivendu Nadkarni, Kellogg’s managing director for snacks in Asia and Africa.

“People are always on – there are literally two breakfasts… (with) a second one that you eat just before working or get into office,” he explained at a recent foodtech event in Singapore.

“Even for people who don’t have time for both, there is something called an ‘elevenses’, a mid-morning snack. There is the lunch, and then there is the post lunch,” he added. “Then there is a snack, and there is a dinner, then there’s a supper – and these are just for people who don’t work night shifts.”

The challenge for a business like Kellogg’s, he added, is to develop innovative snacking options in a category that he estimated accounts for at least half of consumers’ total spend on food. (For more, read WARC’s report: Kellogg’s: To unlock great food innovation, know where you stand.)

That’s easier said than done, since innovation cuts across “lots of different dimensions, and we can spend a lifetime unlocking these dimensions”, Nadkarni noted.

What appears to be consistently crucial, however, is to innovate with clarity. To this end, he sees innovation falling into one of three categories: tick-tock, step-change, and game-change.

The first applies to small incremental improvements (10%-20%), the second to those innovations that offer a “visibly different” user experience (50%-200% improvement) while the game-change creates an unbelievable user experience (minimum 500% improvement).

“If you are trying to come up with a great innovation, be very clear which one you are working on,” he said – and be realistic about the trade-offs involved.

“We tend to kid ourselves, consciously or unconsciously – nobody likes tradeoffs, but we like to kid ourselves that somehow we can beat the odds – and the odds are almost always stacked against us.”

Sourced from WARC