Thursday, June 2, 2016

The Evolving American Palate: Food Industry Needs Smart Innovation to Fuel America’s Hunger

Consumers are a fickle bunch. What was once delightful is now boring. What we ate yesterday doesn’t appeal to us today. With temperamental appetites, American consumers are always eager to try the latest and greatest delight (cronuts, anyone?). Trying to keep up with these ever changing trends can be can be a costly challenge to brands in the CPG food and restaurant industries, especially to those brands who are desperately trying to recapture interest in weary product lines while developing new products that stimulate market interest. If this strikes a chord with the situation your company is in, don’t fret because there is a silver lining…

Since we know that there is such a high demand for new flavors, ingredients and products from consumers, there are endless possibilities for brand innovation. Many brands are taking existing products that are no longer selling like they once did and revitalizing them by embracing these new food trends. In fact, a few recently announced they will be introducing new premium products across several key brands that will satisfy consumers’ hunger for hot trends while serving as a testament to the brand’s commitment to innovation. 

Of course, not all brands innovate so readily. In the market research industry we often hear clients say, “I’d love to do research on new product development but my budgets were cut this year.” We know that when money gets tight, R&D is one of the first areas to get pinched, with product development put on hold as the focus shifts toward improving the profitability of core product lines. Although the economy has taught us that innovation is critical to driving long-term success and profitable growth, we also know that 80% of new products fail. Daunting? Absolutely.

So what can your company to do to get around this catch-22? The key is to invest wisely, minimizing the financial risk with innovations that appeal to your target market and prompt them to take action. Easier said than done? Not necessarily. You can increase the odds that your new product will be successful by using better research before you get too far into the process.

As a research-based consulting agency, we are often amazed by the number of brands who fail to perform their due diligence prior to a major product launch. “It’s shocking how many organizations do very little homework before diving into development,” says Doug Guion, President at acturus. “Challenging ideas, performing the necessary research, and formulating informed market predictions are critical to new product success and can help reduce the inherent risks of innovation.”

So what can your company do?  Smart research doesn’t have to drain your bank account or hinder your speed-to-market. The right research consulting partner can work with you to develop a research plan that gets you both the insights you need AND meets your timeline.

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