28th - 29st of March 2017 Paris - Porte de Versailles - Hall 4

*Associated Brands Distribution Event

Colloque Innovation

Innovation Symposium
" Innovation the way to develop new markets "

 Important topics in the sector’s news, some of the most competent experts in their fields. MDD Expo’s second innovation-driven symposium was destined to be a well-deserved success.
On 28thJanuary, 2016, MDD Expo’s symposium on The Innovation Cycle “Creating added value, concerns everyone!” attracted almost 100 listeners who enjoyed presentations by  21 speakers and Matthias FEKL,  Secretary of State for Foreign Trade, French Citizens Abroad, and Tourism at the Espace Grenelle in Paris.

Usage, hybridization, and constraints. Three words that often came up during the symposium on the innovation cycle organized by MDD Expo in Paris, on the 28th January, under the title “Creating added value: concerns everyone.” The twenty speakers from all backgrounds (retailers, manufacturers, wholesalers, academics, analysts, consultants) identified these three terms as the main accelerators of innovation today. The point was to emphasize how vital innovation is. It is the best way to “come out on top” of the deflationary spiral in the domestic market, and to gain market share abroad and participate in the recovery of our trade balance. Attending the symposium, Matthias Fekl, the Secretary of State for Foreign Trade, French Citizens Abroad, and Tourism, emphasized the very strong link between export and innovation. “Innovation is one of the key aspects of the non-price competitiveness of our economy (...) When we win contracts abroad, it is precisely because of our non-price competitiveness and the fact that French innovation and innovation à la française, is highly regarded around the world.” Innovation is the only way to escape quibbles over “volume and price,” as pointed out by Freddy Thiburce, CEO of the Centre Culinaire Contemporain.
All are agreed, but the question is whether there is a method to improve the innovation process. Avoiding relying on “strokes of genius and lucky breaks” and that could bring down the dreaded death rate of products, says Gilbert Giacomoni, Lecturer at AgroParisTech engineering school. 55% of consumer products launched each year have disappeared from the shelves within six months, and 2/3 within a year, according to the Nielsen Institute. Food for thought!

Widen your spectrum by focusing on usage

To be sure of avoiding going in a wrong direction, always think of how consumers will use the product. How often, in an applied research setting, does usage only come up at the end of the process? Far too often. Too bad! “You give yourself a better chance of success when you apply the ‘theory of use’ , that is to say when you place the product’s use at the heart of the innovation,” says Virginie Gorgeon, Head of the Innovations Department at Nielsen France. This approach also broadens the spectrum. Innovation in technologies, components, and production processes no longer have to be compared to innovation in markets and uses. As Freddy Thiburce points out, “integrating the constraints of use as soon as possible is eye-opening, even in applied research programs.” The focus on use has one final advantage: breaking walls within the company. “Discussions on the future use of products by consumers bring together departments that do not usually collaborate,” explains Dominique Desjeux, anthropologist, sociologist, and Emeritus professor at Paris V University.
The best way to understand and anticipate possible usage is to observe consumers handling the product, but also to involve them more in the product’s development. Auchan does this with its Delidess supplier, an SME with around 50 employees that specializes in ultra-fresh pastries. In 2014, Facebook users were invited to submit their own baking recipes, with the promise that those that were chosen by the community would be put into production and sold in the retailer’s supermarkets. Currently, two products are sold under the premium brand Mmm! Positive results that mean Auchan is repeating the experiment with a soup. “We intend to co-develop products with consumers, asking their advice to avoid mistakes, save time in the development stage, and differentiate in order to have unique products in our stores,” says Auchan’s product development boss.


  1. According to Nielsen’s “theory of use,” “the new products are affected by either a time of low consumption, a choice that consumers are forced to make, or a difficulty they face.”
Is innovation a science?


A repetitive process, innovation is sparked by an idea, not necessarily a great one, which will then be improved step by step through discussions and trial and error. This is the challenge of hybridization, a method that reigns in innovation and attempts to make a science of it. But what is hybridization? “It is the ability to find and integrate over time the skills that will break down the barriers that stand in the way of a project,” says Fabrice Clochard, sociologist and Research Director at the Centre Culinaire Contemporain. He goes on to explain: “At the Centre Culinaire, we decided to have bricks that could be assembled in various situations. Our members include representatives from the entire food chain – manufacturers, chefs, producers, restaurant owners, equipment suppliers, distributors.” Elisabeth Payeux, Deputy CEO of the Centre Technique de Conservation des Produits Agricoles (CTCPA) concurs: “Innovation is sparked by a question, but to answer it, you have to push the debate and call on multiple skills.” These skills are sometimes academic. Collaborations between companies and schools through professorships and foundations are more common and easier to set up than in the past, in particular thanks to tax incentives. These can also be set up in the corporate world. Christian Guyader, CEO of Guyader Gastronomie showed that this can be between actors in the same sector when he set up networks in the fish sector, with fish farmers in Brittany for smoked fish and in the Pyrenees for trout, and another with an association of fishermen in Brittany for other fish (sardines, coley, hake). It can also be set up between actors in different sectors. Take the cosmetics industry. It uses ultra-high temperature (UHT) sterilization technology borrowed from the food-processing sector for its creams. “We have been observing the food-processing sector for a long time and it has inspired a number of our innovations. This is cross-sector innovating,” says Jean-Marc Giroux, CEO of Cosmed, a professional association bringing together over 600 cosmetics companies in France. Last year, the association joined Terralia, the competitiveness cluster of the fruit and vegetable sector.


Poult connects cookies and players


Another example, or rather adventure, left an impression on 28th January. Biscuiterie Poult. Three months ago, it put a connected cookie on the market. Consumers who have downloaded the appropriate app on their smartphones can scan the printed logo on the blue packaging to activate the augmented reality feature. They can then learn more about the product, its ingredients, and its history. Mainly tested by 40,000 patients of the Pasteur clinic in Toulouse, 5,000 units were also distributed during the Cop21. The connected cookie case is another example of collaborative innovation. This program brings together four players from the Toulouse region: the Pasteur clinic, the Arterris cooperative that provides the flour, the startup Ubleam that created the app, and the manufacturer with its 800 employees and €200 million turnover which manufactures the cookies. A fifth operator is Bleu Blanc Cœur, an association originally created to “guarantee a food chain that is respected from field to fork.” An unusual team, but therein lies its force. “The connected cookie is the result of a meeting between our purchasing teams and those of the Pasteur Clinic,” says Alexandre Dandan. “From there, the idea grew, and we began looking for partners to turn the project into reality.”


Constraint provides the stimulus for development

Manufacturing and transforming a promising project into marketable products is one of the major challenges of innovation. “Design is creation under constraints,” says Fabrice Peltier, consultant in packaging design. And this he does not regret. Constraints, particularly technical ones, do not restrict creativity. They should however be built into the project early enough to avoid the risk of killing the project, because manufacturing is a butterfly effect universe. For example, simply changing the diameter of a bottle may affect the pallet projection, with all the consequences that this implies for storage, transportation, and thus costs, and possibly even for CSR. Should we then give up on change? No, says Fabrice Peltier. “The solution is not to not change the diameter of the bottle, it is to do so for the right reason, plan it ahead of time, and get everyone’s approval.”
Sometimes the constraint is even the main driver of the innovation, as shown by the organic cosmetics sector, which represents a turnover of €400 million in France. When manufacturers decided to remove some preservatives from their products, alternative solutions had to be found: they had to be even more vigilant about the “cleanliness” of their raw materials; it was necessary to adopt UHT sterilization and cleanroom techniques to eliminate pathogens, like in the pharmaceutical or IT sectors. Finally, considerable progress had to be made in terms of packaging, bottles, and pumps, to ensure the integrity of all contents throughout their lifecycle. “Starting from a specific constraint, the entire sector has shifted to a need for innovation, from sourcing, to our partners who manufacture the packaging,” says Jean-Marc Giroux. A way to underline that innovation is a chain.


->Read the Nielsen PDF


Featuring contributions by :
  • Jacques CREYSSEL, Chairman of FCD
  • Dominique BRABANT, Manager of AUCHAN Production
  • Sébastien SANTANGELI, Private label brand manager Food & Non-Food at METRO
  • François RICHARD, Product Marketing Manager at TOUPARGEL 
  • Fabrice PELTIER, Expert of “design-packaging,” Chairman of l’INDP
  • Christian GUYADER CEO of GUYADER & Chairman of the Centre Culinaire Contemporain
  • Fabrice CLOCHARD,Sociologist and Research Manager at the Centre Culinaire Contemporain
  • Pierre WEILL,  Chairman of BLEU BLANC CŒUR, CEO of VALOREX and CEO of VALORIAL
  • Lucien GEORGELIN, CEO of Confitures Lucien GEORGELIN
  • Elisabeth PAYEUX, Deputy MD of CTCPA
  • Virginie GORGEON, Deputy Chairperson at NIELSEN Innovation.
  • Philippe BERNARD, SME and Agricultural Partnership Manager at CARREFOUR
  • Gilbert GIACOMONI, Senior Lecturer at AGROPARISTECH in Design for innovation
  • Alexandre DANDAN, Innovation Manager at Biscuiterie POULT
  • Dominique DESJEUX, Anthropologist, Sociologist, and Emeritus Professor at Université Paris Descartes
  • Jean-Marc GIROUX, Chairman of COSMED
              As well as Mathias FECKL, Secretary of State for Foreign Trade...



“The biggest compliment for an innovator is to hear: ‘It is so obvious! How did I not think of it myself?'”  Peter Drucker



>> 8h45 - Welcome
>> 9h00 - Introduction by Sébastien GILLET




Feedback from
  • Alexandre DANDAN Manager Innovation Biscuiterie POULT
  • Fabrice CLOCHARD Sociologist and Research Manager at the 3C




>>Co-innovation, all departments of a company are involved, sharing know-how with the men and women working for the company.


>> Co-innovation with research and technical centers

Round table with :
  • Alexandre DANDAN Manager Innovation Biscuiterie POULT 
  • Fabrice CLOCHARD, Sociologist and Research Manager at the 3C
  • Gilbert Giacomoni, Senior Lecturer at AGRO PARISTECH & UPEC - Design for innovation, economic performance and value engineering 
  • Elisabeth PAYEUX, Deputy Chairman CTCPA 
  • Jean-Marc GIROUX, Chairman of COSMED


10h30-11h45 EVERYONE IS CONCERNED! Co-innovation within a sector

Feedback from



Round table with:
  • Pierre WEILL, Chairman of BLEU BLANC CŒUR
  • Christian GUYADER, CEO of GUYADER & Chairman of the Centre Culinaire Contemporain
  • METRO for its ranges and work with restaurants: Sébastien SANTANGELI, Private label brand manager of Food & Non-Food at METRO
  • CARREFOUR , for its quality ranges: Philippe BERNARD, SME and Agricultural Partnership Manager at CARREFOUR




>> A cooperative strategy to promote innovation and quality. Creating production/processing/distribution chains.


11h45-13h EVERYONE IS CONCERNED! INNOVATION Private label brands vs. A-brands


Presentation of an exclusive survey on innovation – Virginie GORGEON, Deputy Chairperson of NIELSEN Innovation


The story of successful co-innovation

involving the retailer, manufacturer, and consumer, with insights from the winner of the Grés d’Or, FEEF’s award for innovation.

  • Dominique BRABANT, Manager of AUCHAN Production


Example of the participatory approach:

Consumers / 2 Michelin-starred chef / Toupargel – a private label brand innovation “We distribute, you cook” – The specificities of home delivery

  • François RICHARD, Product Marketing Manager at TOUPARGEL 

>> 13h15 -

   14h15-15h15 EVERYONE IS CONCERNED! Strengthening the bond with consumers

Presentation by Fabrice CLOCHARD, Sociologist and Research Manager at the 3C, alongside

Dominique DESJEUX, Anthropologist, Sociologist, and Emeritus Professor at Université Paris Descartes


15h15-17h EVERYONE IS CONCERNED! Which innovations for which markets?


Fabrice PELTIER, Expert in "design-packaging", Chairman of  INDP




>> Design to “inspire.” Inspiring consumers rather than disappointing them ... Adapting design to markets ... How to promote and ensure that the “product promise” is coherent and associates “uses”?







>> Traditional markets “are closing” while others are opening in France and abroad. How to innovate and not miss the boat? Analysis of some value creation models.

Round table with:
  • Christian TACQUARD, CEO of GALAPAGOS LOCMARIA - the experience of international development
  • Fabrice PELTIER, Expert in “design-packaging,” Chairman of INDP – adapting packaging and design
  • Lucien GEORGELIN, CEO of Confitures Lucien GEORGELIN – adapting the manufacturing processes to traditional recipes
  • Lucien CRENO, Wholesale exporter of fruits & vegetables

Manufacturers demonstrate their openness to export markets.

 Prospects for Business in the future: digital...
  • Jacques CREYSSEL, CEO of FCD


>> 17h00-17h30 - CONCLUSION

Sébastien GILLET, Director of MDD Expo exhibition

Mathias FECKL, Secretary of State for Foreign Trade