Simon Carr – IP and R&D Spotlight Interview

Global Head of CPG Practice at Evalueserve, Simon Carr has a dedication for innovation and enjoys taking the challenge to find the best solutions for our clients. As you can see, his career positions show he brings in long experience in Consumer-Packaged Goods industry. Read his assessment of the current state of the CPG market and learn what he predicts for the future of Consumer-Packaged Goods companies.

“From an industry perspective my first love is innovation and as a result designing solutions that deliver next level client value is a real passion.”

In the last years we have seen a shift from marketing investments to R&D in the CPG industry, what are the reasons for it?

Companies tended to rely on the traditional retail models of supermarkets. In turn those outlets were able to place demands on companies in return for prime shelf positioning. Those demands, e.g., BOGOF (Buy one, get one free!) were often a challenge to companies in terms of profitability. The advent of online retail such as Amazon along with Covid-19 has shown companies that traditional retail is no longer the be all and end of all selling and are accelerating their digital transformation. Our CPG practice along with our Data Analytics group is helping several Consumer-Packaged Goods companies develop their omnichannel strategies.

Sustainability is a concern (and commitment) for every company currently. Consumer- Packaged Goods has seen the inception of brands dedicated to mindful environmental impact, like Pura, Hippeas and Puracy. How will all this impact the business models of today?

Sustainability, in all its forms, is probably the most important in the CPG space at this time. When people talk about sustainability, they tend to immediately think of packaging however I think there are areas where some Consumer-Packaged Goods companies can have greater impact more quickly. Regenerative Agriculture (RA) is beginning to look more and more like the most viable answer to the threat climate change poses to food production.

We already know that progress since COP26 in Glasgow is poor to the point of being non-existent and that the 1.5C temperature rise cap is almost certainly out of reach. Which means we are on course for a doubling of crop failures in the next decade. As such I think we’ll see more and more large CPG companies moving towards the ‘do more good’ model of RA rather than the ‘do less harm’ approach of sustainable practices. For instance, Unilever have  invested €100m into a private equity fund specifically targeting regenerative agriculture and  Nestlé have created the Nestlé Institute of Agricultural Sciences, so I expect more companies will follow suit if they aren’t already. Ultimately CPG companies will potentially be the catalyst for change the governments aren’t.

Conscious Consumerism will continue to drive change. You’ll have seen that publicity around climate change continues to build, especially with the extreme weather we’re witnessing in Europe and other places. Consumers are likely to become more concerned of the source and environmental credentials of their purchases. This pull, along with regulatory push, will see a need for more proof of the provenance of a product than ever.

How should the big CPG brands evolve in the future?

Most companies, Consumer-Packaged Goods included, have tended to innovate quite slowly with project timelines measured in multiple months. Those projects have multiple stage gates and checkpoints along the way – shelf life, consumer test, sensory etc. This approach has served companies well however the world is changing rapidly, driven by a whole plethora of factors including social media and climate. As such I think that companies will need to evolve the way they innovate to keep pace with their consumers.  P & G has partnered with Innventure to create the companies Purecycle and Aeroflex, both of whom use P & G patented inventions. This approach de-risks the development process as well as increasing the pace.

How can companies like Evalueserve support this process of change?

Evalueserve’s CPG Practice is uniquely positioned to help companies navigate through these (potentially) new ways of working. We provide ‘always on’ solutions that deliver the key information and decision points to enable higher impact outcomes. We are also able to bring in resource from other functional areas to totally underpin our client’s activities from financial M & A support to data analytics to ESG solutions.

One example of this work is our RADA solution, which stands for Research Augmented Data Analytics. Our clients are using this solution to develop their own DTC business models. Using Research Augmentation allows us to introduce a series of hypotheses that elevate the analytics output to beyond the norm. We are also working with clients to develop 10-year roadmaps to disrupt entire product sectors through a combination of competitive, market and technology intelligence.

And for the final question, describe yourself in as few sentences as possible. Additionally, we would love to hear one fun fact, you would like to share with us!

From an industry perspective my first love is innovation and as a result designing solutions that deliver next level client value is a real passion.

I know I don’t look old enough, but I am a grandfather to 2 wonderful girls! And I’ve also been a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, appearing on something like 30 performances of King Lear. In fact, I think you can still buy the DVD on Amazon (other retail outlets exist).

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me.

>> Simon.Carr@evalueserve.com

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Simon Carr
Simon Carr
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