I notice that there always seems to be a “flavour of the season” sense for businesses that get invested in and in that grand rush the ones which are no longer de rigueur seem to get left off. Unfortunately, the reality of building a business is that it does take a while for them to reach a certain threshold prior which they reach a base level. It is only then they can even be considered to be of any gravitas for potential investment. So what does this mean? Naturally it is research/innovation that tends to take a hit. This is a pity because somewhere in this grand hurry to deliver the return on investment and shareholder return the traditional large business has already significantly reduced their work in this area. I would imagine standalone entrepreneurial ventures have a role to play (albeit with a lower level of $$$ backing them) with nimbleness on their side and in a lot of cases, experience as well.
The way I imagine this could perhaps play out is a terrific mix of today’s technology and traditional knowledge of brick and mortar working in tandem on a bedrock of innovation. I do strongly believe that innovative technology can be on a stronger base if it were to integrate strongly with the brick and mortar business. Pure technology play can go forward only to a certain extent. Somewhere perhaps we tend to get carried away with pure technology models just because we believe they would possibly be shorter avenues to deliver shareholder return. If I were to take the food industry as an example perhaps it may help elucidate better.
Clearly, the obvious interface of technology for the consumer has been at the delivery end (Zomato, Paytm etc). However eventually from a product perspective, the consumer still gets delivered the standard fare. The thought which comes to my mind is – is there any opportunity here? After all, molecular gastronomy and mixology did come up and make things interesting for our palate. People did try and create a simpler version to the regular filter coffee powder experience wherein the powder was so created that it was to be used like regular instant coffee, however, the taste and feel was that of pure decoction coffee.
Is there something that can be done around the health food trend currently – does it only have to be salads and soups? Surely with the rich and varied heritage we have been blessed with – can technology and innovation play a role in making our traditional ingredients accessible to people? This works beautifully at both ends of the chain – farmer, and consumer. Clearly, they will need to be palatable but more importantly affordable. I struggle whenever I find a lot of “lite” versions of the standard offerings significantly more expensive.
Food for thought.