JBS constantly strives for market differentiation, with innovative products that meet expectations from clients and consumers. To deal with the need of always being aware to new demands, the Research & Development (R&D) areas from the food Business Units work in two sectors, fresh and prepared foods, since each of them must cater to specific channels, with their own demands and different needs.
To optimize the efforts for developing products with higher demand among customers, the Company has management tools that help assessing mega global food trends, such as reduction in fat and sodium contents, presentation in smaller portions, among others. .
Another line of work adopted by JBS is the creation of a methodology to track regional innovation processes and enable for lessons learned to become available globally, especially in prepared food lines and in brand value creation. This is a project developed by the Global Innovation Team (GIT) since October 2018, with the goal of increasing information sharing, accelerating innovation with exchange between countries, and creating global platforms that favor innovative practices.
The continuous search for innovation is also carried out in other Business areas, with different investments in infrastructure of operations, team training, as well as development of projects focused on sustainable actions.
Approximately R$ 16 million were invested in the R&D area. The result from this commitment was reflected in the 2018 Food Ingredients South America Awards, when the company won the first and third prizes in the category Most Innovative Product, and in recognitions on the Major Packaging Cases awards, also with two highlights: Seara Lasagna and Seara Rotisserie. In 2018 alone, Seara conducted 990 innovation projects for the internal and external markets.
The special chicken line is also a benchmark in the foreign market, being exported to the United Arab Emirates under the brand Seara 100% Natural, which was acknowledged on the display from the 2018 SIAL Innovation Selection Paris.
The launch of the brand 1953 Friboi, symbolizing 65 years since the foundation of JBS and offering more than 50 premium meat cuts, with raw materials from controlled origin selected in compliance with the strictest quality standards, expanded the offer of premium beef to consumers by including major retail chains among the distribution channels for products in this segment, previously restricted to food service and meat boutiques. To develop the brand, the Company invested in advanced technology and conducted field and laboratory tests with support from the State University of Campinas (Unicamp). Currently, 1953 Friboi is present at points of sale in 15 Brazilian states.
The Business Unit made several investments: at JBS Biodiesel, R$ 5.5 million were invested in adapting a plant for the use of alternative oils. In the area of bovine collagen and ingredients, NovaProm invested R$ 1 million in R&D for structuring and training, in order to better serve its domestic and international customers. This has also enabled the Business qualification by the USDA, which allows exporting products to the United States.
Investments in innovation made feasible to create new items in the segments of furniture, footwear and artifacts, as well as to develop projects with chemical products with low level of toxicity and reduction of environmental impact for the automotive and furniture segments. Additionally, JBS Couros promoted the optimization in the offer of chemicals in processes, a reduction of approximately 30% in water consumption, and a 40% decrease in the time for processing automotive segment items.
To meet the growing demand for organic products, the company developed the first organics plant in industrial scale, opened in 2017. In 2018, the operation reached capacity to produce more than 90,000 birds per week. In the Mexican operation of Pilgrim’s, 30 new products were launched to execute the portfolio diversification strategy without giving up on quality. In Europe, the company launched, among other innovative products, the gluten-free breaded chicken line and vegetarian stews.