Pasta Company Serves Novel Open Innovation Contest

Published Jan-19-15

One of the world’s leading pasta makers receives novel pasta shapes created by 3D printing techniques in its global open innovation contest.

Barilla, Italy

The Story:

Pasta Company Serves Novel Open Innovation Contest Crowdsourcing and open innovation have given us a number of food and flavor contests, where brands have reached out to their consumers for new varieties and concepts. Not only do these competitions deliver product ideas that brands know their customers want, but they also generate acres of free publicity and considerable buy-in from consumers who want more of a say in what their favorite companies produce. But here is an open innovation food contest with a little twist.

Pasta with a Novel Twist

Italian food giant Barilla launched a food competition called ‘Print Eat’ that sought designs for innovative pasta shapes, created by 3D printers.

The company ships out 17 million tons of products every year, has 30 production sites and numerous brands. So when it comes to pasta, Barilla knows what it is doing. Still, it felt like it could use a little external input when it was searching for novel pasta designs.

The crowd was asked to come up with new shapes that would have been impossible to make via traditional methods before the invention of 3D printing techniques.

Narrowly Scoped Contest

To guide creative brains to deliver something that Barilla would want to market, the company issued a set of instructions that mentioned such key design parameters as the dimensions that the pasta shapes must not exceed.

The contest ran for 60 days and submissions were judged according to their innovation, creativity, presentation and technical skills.

More than 500 designers took part in the open innovation contest and they submitted 216 designs. Perhaps not surprisingly, Italy was one of the countries with the highest number of submissions.

Open Innovation Contest Winners

From all of these creative outpourings, three winners were chosen and they were each awarded €800 (approximately USD $930).

The winners were:

Rosa Pasta by Loris Tupin, an industrial designer from France. This ingenious piece of pasta turns into a rose shape when placed in boiling water.

Vortipa by a product design team from Italy. Their pasta resembles a Christmas tree and is based on the vortex pattern progression system.

Lune by Italian product designer Alessandro Carabini is a novel looking full moon shaped pasta with craters.

“We were thrilled to see the enthusiasm with which the contest was greeted by the designer community, which is not used to dealing with food. There are several steps that must be taken on the 3D project – but whatever the future of pasta, Barilla is going to be there,” said Michela Petronio, Research Vice President at the Barilla Group.

Future Products

Barilla has the option to market any of the designs or include elements of any or all of the winners in its future products.

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