Industry must evolve away from traditional NPD processes if it is to succeed in developing new and innovative functional food products, warn researchers.
The development of new functional food products is a complex process, where the factors that play into successes and failures are very different than those for traditional new product development (NPD), according to researchers writing in Trends in Food Science & Technology .
“Functional foods, being one of the major food categories of the global health and wellness market, are becoming a major focus of new product development (NPD) in the food industry,” explain the researchers, led by Rao Sanaullah Khan from Massey University in New Zealand.
NPD for health and wellness
“New consumer trends of ‘Health and Wellness’ are getting concentrated focus from leading multinational companies such as Nestle, Danone Group, Unilever, Heinz and Kraft Foods,” note the research team.
“This suggests that a reorientation of the NPD portfolio with a shift toward a more product-oriented NPD in the business innovation model may become the focus of future development in the food industry,” they suggest.
However Khan and his team suggest that this development of ‘innovative bioactive functional food products’ may require a paradigm shift in the process of food product development.
“The traditional models of NPD primarily suit incremental innovations, where speed to market is critical and the changes made in food products are typically small and low risk,” explain Khan and colleagues.
“Thus a clear orientation toward innovation in adopting a new innovation model followed by a comprehensive strategy of pursuing relevant knowledge and resources through more extensive collaborative networks may lead the way for innovative new functional food products in future.”
Source: Trends in Food Science & Technology
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1016/j.tifs.2012.11.004
“Functional food product development – Opportunities and challenges for food manufacturers”
Authors: Rao Sanaullah Khan, John Grigor, Ray Winger, Alan Win