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At Fonterra, we believe innovation can come from anywhere. We wanted to harness the power and creativity of the 20,000 people who work at the world’s biggest dairy exporter. Disrupt helped Fonterra win the Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Award at the 2017 Deloitte Top 200 Awards – an annual event recognising outstanding performance among New Zealand’s largest companies.


What is Disrupt?



The Disrupt programme, which launched as a pilot in 2016 before going global in 2017, encourages employees to submit and develop business ideas before pitching for Fonterra investment to implement them. It now has a proven track record of delivering value back to our Co-op.

The initiative has already involved some 1,400 individuals, spanning at least eight languages, around 27 nationalities and ethnic backgrounds, and ages from 21 years to 60.

Disrupt is a platform that:

  1. Delivers new business models
  2. Fosters diversity and inclusion in our workplace. No matter who and where you are in our Co-op, you can have an idea and bring it to life
  3. Develops our talent to get fit for the future, builds capabilities
  4. Created a notable cultural shift in our organisation to an innovative Co-op.

Employees submit ideas and move quickly through an intense design sprint and a 12-week accelerator before they make a ‘dragon’s den’ style pitch for investment. We choose the best ventures to invest in and successful employees get the opportunity to leave their day jobs to work full-time on bringing their ideas to life. 200 ideas have come through the Disrupt process – and four have been commercialised since.


Disrupt Case Studies


Anchor Online is an example of a successful venture which is bringing in new revenue for our Foodservice business. Over the years, we’ve built up a successful Foodservice business model based on close connections with food professionals, so we are well tuned in to what they need today and would like to have tomorrow.

Through technology Anchor Online realised that we can extend our reach to deliver to the mass market. It’s allowing Fonterra to connect with new customers in cities where we don’t have a sales team on the ground.


Disruption doesn’t always have to be digital but it requires us to think very differently. We have a large consumer base in Sri Lanka with Anchor being the largest single food brand in the country – that’s even bigger than Coke.

But despite our market leadership, different factors have made it extremely difficult to reach the rural areas in Sri Lanka. A team of employees in Fonterra’s Sri Lanka office came up with an innovative business model to get affordable dairy nutrition to rural people who wouldn’t normally have access to it. It’s creating profit while supporting the local community with positive social and economic benefits.


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