New innovation operating models to drive growth

The natural and organic products industry has experienced a sea change in the past decade. As one of the early pioneers of the industry, Hain Celestial has a highly recognized portfolio of food, snacks, beverages, personal care and cleaning products available worldwide. Its vast collection or brands includes Celestial Seasonings teas, Terra and Garden of Eatin’ snacks and Earth’s Best organic baby food.

After decades as mainstays of natural food stores and recent inroads into conventional grocery store shelves, the company’s food and beverage brands were challenged by increased competition in the healthy eating category. New brands are abundant and increasingly taking market share from a company that had dominated the category for years.

Increased competition inspired a sobering moment for Hain Celestial: the future growth path rested solely on innovation. After a change in leadership, including naming longtime food industry executive Jeff George as the Senior Vice President of Research and Development, the company decided to create a new innovation operating model and turned to Sopheon for help.


The needs

  • Move the company from a holding company to an operating company
  • Defend and grow the company’s market share
  • Increase product speed to market and speed to value
  • Aggregate cross-functional information in a systematic way
  • Create new scorecards to assess market readiness

The challenges

  • Lack of standardized Stage-Gate® and portfolio management processes
  • Lack of visibility to early-stage new product development analysis
  • Reliance on low-value line extensions vs. high-value new products

How Sopheon helped

Jeff George asked Sopheon for help bringing a new process to life for early-stage new product development. Referred to informally as a “Shark Tank” process, the company wanted marketing leaders to bring forward critical information about new product candidates to the executive team to enable better investment decisions.

Sopheon was asked to help bring this new process to life for early-stage new product development. To make the process executable, Sopheon implemented Accolade to standardize “system of record” for new product decision-making while enabling enhanced knowledge discovery across its North American business unit.

Accolade helped Hain Celestial improve its innovation process from the top down, digitizing strategic initiatives and bringing them into a measurable, definable and actionable state. Then, in order to accelerate NPD execution, the company used Accolade to create a standardized process for all innovation and commercialization processes to follow.

Hain Celestial also developed new scorecards using Accolade that took rapidly changing business parameters into account, including supply chain, delivery, production and distribution. Business scenarios are constantly changing, but now the company is prepared to gather an abundance of useful metrics as part of the decision process for new products. Using “apples to apples” comparisons as part of new product assumptions has helped the company prioritize and improve transparency throughout the innovation chain.

Sopheon’s dedicated team of consultants worked closely with this customer to harmonize new product development processes, phased approvals and portfolio visibility. Sopheon also helped this natural and organic food leader to create and share highly visual, template-driven reports that have empowered better visibility of risks.

With more than 15 years of experience working with the world’s leading food innovators, Sopheon helped this business create a highly configurable and scalable solution that will improve their innovation performance for years to come.

Working together with Hain Celestial, Sopheon helped design and implement:

  • Standardized templates for early-stage assessment of candidate investments (the “Shark Tank” process)
  • Simple, easy-to-use data input and time-saving tools to streamline creation and management of critical data, including consumer feedback and product research
  • Portfolio prioritization practices, including metrics and visualization enhancements
  • New, more efficient Stage-Gate® tools and processes
  • Standardized reporting outputs to ensure more consistency and clarity
  • Better cross-functional project visibility for more strategic decision-making

What our customers say

“Innovation and new product development are the cornerstones of our new business strategy, and this is why we sought out an experienced business partner like Sopheon, who brings advanced technology together with innovation best practices and CPG-specific domain expertise. Accolade enables our innovation transformation, helping us accelerate growth.”
Jeff George

Senior Vice President R&D, Hain Celestial

A simplified strategic framework

Watch this quick video to see how Hain Celestial is restructuring their brands and focusing on an innovation growth model.

Hain Celestial’s story was told by Jeff George in episode 56 of the Table Talk Podcast, “Innovation Transformation at Hain Celestial: An Executive Conversation” webinar, and in the “Crisis Response: Innovation Leaders Share” panel.


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