SOUTH AFRICA – Tiger Brands Limited, a South African packaged goods company, has inaugurated a brand new state-of-the-art multi-purpose center dedicated to nurturing a culture of innovation and strengthening business research and development capability.

Based at the Tiger Brands head office in Bryanston, Johannesburg, the sensorium is part of a larger multi-year investment estimated at R42 million to enhance the company’s Research and Development facilities, category pilot plants at manufacturing sites, and people capability to futureproof the business.

The 850m2 Sensorium features an analytical laboratory, a functional pantry, a development kitchen, and a sensory room.

The open-plan facility also offers a modern workspace to inspire employees and encourage collaboration along with an auditorium looking into the development kitchen, providing a facility for product demonstrations and training sessions.

The company said the sensorium is purposed to create engaging experiences with Tiger Brands’ brands and innovations, nurture a learning and collaborative culture, and strengthen the business’ Research and Development capability.

“The Tiger Brands Sensorium is just one view of the bigger Tiger Brands ambition to build a world-class innovation capability that combines expert knowledge and skills to offer consumers, who are facing increasing pressure, solutions that make a difference in their lives,” said Zayd Abrahams, chief marketing and strategy officer, Tiger Brands.

Tiger Brands’ research and development strategy is optimized to deliver growth through consumer-centric innovations and science and technology advancement in the fast-moving consumer goods segment (FMCG).

The company’s new product development is focused on three key growth platforms that respond to consumer needs and macro trends. These are Economic Food Options, Health, Nutrition, and Snackification.

The company is also investing significantly in training and growing multi-skilled R&D professionals to drive product, packaging, and process innovation.

In 2022, Tiger Brands completed 21 innovation projects across all three consumer growth platforms, achieving an R1.1 billion (4.2%) innovation rate and outperforming the market in terms of the share of innovation as measured against market share.

In targeting new categories and fast-tracking the development of transformational products, the company is working with select universities, science and technology laboratories, and expert third-party suppliers to address technology gaps and drive speed to market.

“Innovation at Tiger Brands is a culture and goes beyond new product and packaging. It includes our investment in technology, data systems, and processes,” Abraham noted.

In addition to a strong internal innovation pipeline, Tiger Brands has a Venture Capital Fund that allows the company to access external innovators, ideas, and exciting technologies and new developments.

The Venture Capital Fund was launched in mid-2021 to drive growth for Tiger Brands by investing in innovative businesses based in sub-Saharan Africa that offer healthier eating options in line with the latest consumer movement towards Health & Nutrition, Snackification, and Economical Food Options.

In early 2022, the Tiger Brands Venture Capital Fund made its first investment in plant-based and vegan food manufacturer, Herbivore Earthfoods.

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