Tiger Brands has launched a brand new state-of-the-art multi-purpose centre dedicated to nurturing a culture of innovation in the business. The Sensorium, based at the Tiger Brands head office in Bryanston, Johannesburg, 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 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,” says Zayd Abrahams, Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer, Tiger Brands.

From left: Mary-Jane Morifi, Chief Corporate Affairs and Sustainability Officer, Tiger Brands; Noel Doyle, Tiger Brands CEO; Itzik Levi, Research and Development Director; Zayd Abrahams, Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer, Tiger Brands at the launch of the Tiger Brands Sensorium, a state-of-the-art multi-purpose FMCG innovation centre based at the Tiger Brands head office in Bryanston, Johannesburg

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

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

“We’ve made good strides in responding to changing consumer needs through innovation. In 2022, Tiger Brands completed 21 innovation projects across all three consumer growth platforms, achieving a R1.1 billion (4.2%) innovation rate and outperforming the market in terms of the share of innovation as measured against market share,” says Abrahams

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

In addition to a strong internal innovation pipeline, the Tiger Brands Venture Capital Fund allows the company to access external innovators, ideas and exciting technologies and new developments. In early 2022, the Tiger Brands Venture Capital Fund made its first investment in plant-based and vegan food manufacturer, Herbivore Earthfoods. The Tiger Brands Venture Capital Fund was launched in mid-2021 with the aim of driving 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 and Nutrition, Snackification and Economical Food Options.

The 850-square-meter 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 onto the development kitchen providing a facility for product demonstrations and training sessions.

The philosophy and purpose behind The Sensorium are to create engaging experiences with Tiger Brands’ brands and innovations, nurture a learning and collaborative culture and strengthen the business’ Research and Development capability.

In addition to The Sensorium, the company has already completed upgrades to the pilot plants at its Baby and Home and Personal Care manufacturing facilities with plans for upgrades to a further three pilot plants and two new pilot plants over the next two years well underway.