Lamb Weston has been feeding America’s appetite for french fries (and other delicious potato products) since the fast food boom of the 1950’s. By 2012, their reach had vastly expanded and they’d built a great business selling chopped potato products (think tater tots) into fast food chains across Asia — so great, that customers were clamoring for more variety as quickly as possible.
Lamb Weston, whose entire R&D function is located in Washington state, needed to develop flavors that could cross the borders and, more importantly, the palates of vastly different Asian countries, from Japan to Thailand to China. Add to that a long innovation cycle, in which you must make prototypes, freeze and then ship them overseas to be tested — all to get feedback for revisions and then, start again. This process would easily take 4-6 months.
\ Our Approach
We hacked the timeline, creating an agile and insight-driven process that could deliver results in a fraction of the time.
Day 1. We brought Lamb Weston’s food scientists together with Asian chefs to cook traditional cuisine and learn about culturally important flavors from each region, along with cross-cultural ingredients
Day 2. Chefs and scientists collaborated to incorporate flavors into the potato products in real-time
Day 17. After small batch production, a fryer was set up at our Opportunity Brewery. Prototypes were tested with American consumers of Japanese, Chinese and SE Asian decent who ate traditional cuisine on a daily basis. Preferred flavors progressed to the next round of development.
Day 20. Variations of the top products were created to further explore key flavor levers – spice
level, intensity, etc.
Day 34. Additional consumer testing determined optimal flavors.
Voilà… final product developed and tested in just over a month, at a fraction of the cost. Customers were thrilled, with only small tweaks made to the initial product formulations.
Asian Moonz were launched soon after and have been a staple for Lamb Weston in the Asian markets ever since.