Interview I What Jérôme Labie from the Coca Cola Company is looking for in the PLD innovation Awards - ADF&PCD and PLD Paris

Interview I What Jérôme Labie from the Coca Cola Company is looking for in the PLD innovation Awards

We spoke to Jérôme Labie, Innovation Manager R&D EMEA at The Coca Cola Company who is also part of the PLD Innovation Awards jury. Jérôme tells us what he thinks is classed as innovation and what he is looking for in the PLD Innovation Awards entries.

Why did you accept to be part of the jury?

In these troublesome times, looking for opportunities to remain connected with the industry and its stakeholders is key. Especially when scouting for innovation. Coca-Cola is not really known as a particularly ‘premium’ brand nor company. We are newbies in that space and we want to learn from renowned spirits and alcohol brands.

Whilst we’re beginning our journey in the premium space, we do have expertise in innovation and sustainability, so we can (hopefully) bring this expertise and background to this sector.

What are you looking for in applications?

I am looking for :

  • Disruptive vs incremental innovation, in both small scale (pilot, activation) or high scale (mass production roll-out): examples (OLED vs Share-a-Coke).
  • A perfect innovation would be answering the following criteria:
    • Sustainability (100% recyclability, material reduction, alternative materials, reuse/refill systems, etc.)
    • Consumer engagement (premiumization, personalization/late stage customization, smart/functional packaging, etc.)

What makes a ‘good’ entry into the PLD Innovation Awards?

There’s no such thing as a bad innovation (there’s only good or bad problem statements), I guess there’s only disruptive vs incremental innovation and both are good if answering a true issue and challenge.

I guess a good entry needs to be understood in less than a minute (elevator pitch).

What does innovation mean to you?

Innovation for me is a consequence of solving a real problem. Innovation for the single purpose of creating something new makes no sense if it doesn’t answer a specific consumer/customer need.

When applied to packaging, innovation can take many forms; lately it is often associated to sustainability (because it is a real consumer AND industry issue), but not exclusively. For instance, innovation can help (in the case of Coca-Cola) improving consumer experience and even brand perception etc.

On the HOW, one unique feature of the packaging industry is its partners. A brand alone cannot innovate without industry partners so I guess innovation means also finding new ways of working with industry partners and even competitors.

What do you think is THE trend of the coming year in terms of packaging innovation?

For me sustainability will still be on the top of the agenda for the years to come, and perhaps will even re-define the way we consume consumer goods (example on refillable systems, Loop etc.)
However, there’s other trends we are seeing emerging but obviously I cannot disclose what’s on our R&D pipeline!

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