Holding on to product identity while boosting margins

With ingredient, packaging and employee costs all on an upward trajectory, food and beverage manufacturers are facing a perfect storm. Profit margins are narrowing, and action is needed to ensure products remain viable.

One area of focus is product formulation. Technical and R&D teams are increasingly called upon to reduce, remove or switch ingredients in a bid to cut costs. But even small adjustments can have a significant impact on a product’s sensory footprint, especially if they happen on an ad hoc basis without careful planning.

Protecting the sensory footprint

From aroma to flavour to texture, a product’s sensory footprint is a unique and valuable part of its identity. Yet it’s all too easy for it to get lost or confused over time with iterative modifications in the name of cost reduction.

This can harm customer satisfaction, brand reputation and sales, especially if the alterations spark a social media backlash. Nobody wants to see their product hauled over the coals with a derogatory hashtag as consumers call out a change in the size, taste or amount of chocolate on their favourite biscuit.

The question is, can R&D and technical teams optimise margins without compromising consumer experience? We believe it is possible to strike a happy medium with a purposeful approach blending consumer insights with deep understanding of ingredient functionality.