Meet one of our leading minds speaking on the session “How is innovation improving performance, flavor and texture – What new products will you see on the shelves?” Billie-Clare Dryden-Schofield from Bumbles. Billie-Clare, Founding Member, Director and Creator of the Bumbles brand, single-handedly built Bumbles into a national brand that offers superfood based healthy baby food in leading retailers.
Passionate and driven to create employment and develop skills in the industry she has taken Bumbles from outsourcing all packing to becoming a co-independent manufacturer with a fully owned pouch filling line, with a vision to offer affordable healthy baby food to all. Billie-Clare has been recognised as one of South African’s TOP 100 Female Entrepreneurs but it is her vast experience with babies and with her passion for healthy food alike, that she is the driving force behind brand.
We had the opportunity to ask Billie-Clare a few questions on the food and beverage industry before FoodNext. See what he had to say:
FNA: What do you believe has been the key change in the F&B sector over the past five years?
BD: It’s been amazing to see how the craft food and drink industry has exploded in recent years. Conscious consumption has created a demand for high-quality foods and beverages and consumers are questioning the “traditional” products made by mega-corporations who mass produce unhealthy and unpalatable products that support a system of exploitation.
The increase of micro-breweries in the liquor industry, visiting farmer’s markets and buying local foods are now a commonplace as we know this to be a more healthy, delicious and sustainable practice. This renaissance of all things local and craft has allowed so many people to reconnect with what we consume as well as with the people who make it.
FNA: Where do you see the three key challenges driving innovation in the industry over the next five years?
BD: Bridging the gap between basic and applied research is vital if we’re to meet the fundamental challenge of producing healthier food. There is also a need to reduce the environmental impact the food industry has as well as help deliver improvements in public health. The food industry has a strong track record in innovation, and we must keep this up to deliver yet more breakthroughs.
FNA: The F&B sector is undergoing a huge change. What are the three tips you would give for success in the coming five years?
BD: In South Africa, SME’s account for roughly 90% of formal business and 34% towards GDP (Banking Association 2018). There are some phenomenal ideas and innovative small businesses in our country, and they should not be under-estimated. Listen to our consumers, there is a huge demand for healthier options. The millennials are smart, educated and with technology and smartphones, information is at the tip of the fingers and available in some of the remotest parts of the world. They have a voice and they are using it; times are changing, and we need to listen to them.
FNA: Which type of people do you believe would gain the most from attending your session this year?
BD: Our topic of discussion “How is innovation improving performance, flavor and texture – What new products will you see on the shelves?” and the panel chosen to contribute is going to provide an informative and interesting discussion. I will be voicing the need for change in the food industry in the early years category and the responsibility we have as manufacturers to offer healthier options. I hope that leading minds in corporates companies will share their views and that there will be a presence from government departments so that they can be made aware of the sugar crisis in common baby foods. I also hope that any suppliers or farmers who can suggest or offer healthier alternatives will be there as it will benefit us all. I am very much looking forward to this whole event and anyone who is interested in the Food & Beverage industry can only learn; and knowledge is power.