Food & beverage industry poised for ‘innovation heyday’

Qualitative research undertaken by Science Group companies Leatherhead Food Research and Oakland Innovation indicates that the food and beverage industry may be heading for an ‘age of innovation’.

In-depth interviews with leading global brands revealed a trend for more creative, open-minded and collaborative activity to overcome sector challenges. Interviewees talked extensively about a rise in democratic approaches to innovation as well as out-of-sector inspiration and consumer-centricity. There was widespread acknowledgement that brands need to foster big ideas, not just incremental product development. Leatherhead’s MD Chris Wells will be presenting a first view of the findings at the NLS Food Evolution Summit in California on 13 and 14 September.

“Leading food and beverage brands are taking a long hard look at their approach to innovation,” Chris Wells explains. “Product development alone is not enough in today’s always-on world where consumers have greater choice and power than ever before. Clever, customer-focused start-ups can quickly disrupt and colonise market segments that have been unchanged for decades.

“In this dynamic new environment, doing things as they have always been done is inherently risky. Getting the right balance of investment between incremental innovation and longer term, open innovation is vital to ensure food and beverage companies remain relevant with consumers. I am looking forward to sharing our findings with the audience later this week.”

The research involved 27 in-depth interviews with senior innovation and new product development professionals from food and beverage companies in Europe and North America. More detailed findings will be released at Leatherhead’s members’ conference, New Insights for Global Growth, on 4 October.

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Melissa Shone

Director of Marketing, Science Group plc

T: +44 1223 875205

E: melissa.shone@sciencegroup.com

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