Food Innovation and Creativity
- Introduction to Food Innovation
- Strategic Leadership, Direction and Deployment
- Innovative Organizations
- Proactive Linkages
- Generating Ideas for Innovation
- Idea Selection
1. Introduction to Food Innovation
Innovation is the lifeblood of the food industry and is essential for ensuring profitability and survival. Consumer demands and expectations are constantly evolving and retailers are seeking new products to meet these needs. Companies who have a clear understanding of the consumer and market place will emerge as strong and sustainable businesses. To achieve, food companies must have in place a formal, market focused innovation system to actively manage all stages of the process.
This whitepaper details how to implement a structured approach to generating new ideas, selecting those ideas which meet consumer needs, the strategic requirements of your business and effective management of innovation within the organization.
1.1 The Importance of Innovation
Innovation makes a significant difference to a food business. If you do not change what you offer the market, the market will leave you behind. In short, survival is not compulsory. Food businesses that survive and grow do so because they are capable of change. This change leads to a continuous meeting of consumer needs and therefore growth. It is generally accepted by economists that a large portion of any nation’s economic growth is generated by new ideas and innovation.
When these new ideas are slow or absent, economies tend to stagnant. For established businesses the need for innovation poses a problem. Innovation offers huge challenges and opportunities, but is by its very nature a risky business. Often it is affected by factors beyond the direct control of the company. Most food businesses fail because they don’t see or recognise the need for change. They tend to be inward looking and fail to take the time to see the bigger picture. Innovation is a strategic resource. It can help the food business get to where it wants to go. But it does not happen by accident. It can be a complex process that carries significant risk and requires robust and systematic management.
1.2 What is Innovation?
What is Innovation? Simply put, Innovation is the process of translating ideas into useful, and used, new food products, processes or services. The word innovation means different things to different people. However it is possible to categorise innovation under four general areas: radically new innovation, a line extension to an existing product, an adaptation of an existing product, and innovation imitations.
The last three examples are more typical of innovation activities conducted in food businesses. It is clear from these examples that not all new products need to be highly technical. Line extensions, packaging changes and good positioning can also provide companies with the opportunity to succeed. The key requirements for all of the above examples is a clear understanding and awareness of the consumer and the market place.