Case Study – Lucy McLean – Senior Innovation Manager
Innovation is at the heart of Princes. Like all food and drink business we adapt to constantly evolving customer needs.
I joined Princes in 2020 as an Innovation Manager after six years working for Typhoo Tea. Twelve months later I was promoted to Senior Innovation Manager, part of the Innov8 team of six which includes a Senior Development Chef as well as specialists in Process and Packaging innovation.
FMCG is an exciting world to work in and I love the scope of my role within Princes as the innovation team is at the heart of driving change, bringing new brands and capabilities into the business for future growth.
I’ve got a unique role which combines two of my passions – a mix of true brand marketing alongside the strategic development of NPD and long-term ‘blue sky’ product pipelines. We work with the existing brand teams to help set new product strategies and follow them through into development and launch.
As well as delivering products for the company’s branded portfolio, which include Napolina, Princes, Batchelors and Branston Beans, we provide support to our retail customers.
We’ve just completed the first edition of our Innov8 Trend Book which analyses global macro trends and consumer insights to build micro trend platforms that will fuel product development and marketing strategies for the year ahead. I’m looking forward to it being presented to suppliers and customers and being used as a tool to help them to tap into new product ideas.
My job is varied, fast-paced and exciting. Based in the Royal Liver Building in Liverpool, I work three days in the office and two days from home. We have daily project meetings and often run interactive workshops and ideation sessions to generate new concept ideas that can then be tested and validated with consumers.
We work closely with suppliers to make sure we are on track with factory trials and new product development.
In my role I also look at the financial viability of projects and work with data and insights to ensure we deliver new product launches that are going to be commercially successful for the long term.
Princes recently made a major move into plant-based with a new brand called Plot9, which launched with a trio of ambient meat-free meals in Morrisons, Sainsburys and McColl’s.
Our team planned the brand campaign and launch and managed the retailer conversations to get the range listed. Next, we’re developing a pipeline of innovations with that brand.
Another big project that has come out of our work is Princes Street Food, which is our first foray into frozen food. It has been really well received and opens up a whole new supply area for the company.
“I recently joined Princes Gender Diversity CRG to help to drive new thinking in that area and to support it.”