Product Innovation in the Food Industry

Product Innovation in the Food Industry

Suzy® explores how quickly consumers want to see new food products in the market

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Creating and marketing innovative products is a much more complex process than it used to be for the food and beverage industry. The internet has leveled the playing field in a remarkable way, by elevating independent business owners, educating consumers about new trends at rapid speeds, and serving as a hub for new advertising venues that allow brands to hit target markets with pinpoint accuracy.

In order to stay relevant in this rising tide of market segmentation and inundation, the average food company must disrupt traditional business models by learning to quickly anticipate trends and introduce new products into the supply chain. And it all has to happen before the competition can catch up, or worse: before they can create something even buzzier.

But when we asked everyday members of Suzy’s real-time consumer insights panel to answer questions about food industry innovation, we discovered that many potential customers have a surprisingly tight timeline in mind for when they expect to see those products in stores – one with the potential to leave slower-moving businesses behind in the dust.


What We Found

Overall, our market research data suggests that the average consumer is much more aware of the inner machinations of the food industry than one might assume. Only 6% of respondents said they had no interest in keeping up to date on the latest trends and innovations in food products, and about half said they were either “very” or “extremely” interested.

On average, how interested are you in keeping up to date on the latest food innovation and trends -- including new products, new packaging design, improved recipes, and added nutritional supplements?

 
 
N=497, 50/50M-F, ages 13-75, United States

N=497, 50/50M-F, ages 13-75, United States

 

However, despite this interest, the majority of these survey-takers say that they don’t usually go too far out of their way to research or shop for what they consider to be innovative products. Instead, most consumers find out about new trends through social media, over traditional news outlets, and predominantly buy their groceries at large chains like Walmart, Target, and Costco.

How do you generally learn about new food innovations and trends?

 
N=497, 50/50M-F, ages 13-75, United States

N=497, 50/50M-F, ages 13-75, United States

 

Where do you most frequently shop for food? You can select up to three options.

 
N=497, 50/50M-F, ages 13-75, United States

N=497, 50/50M-F, ages 13-75, United States

 

More importantly from a business planning perspective, these same consumers expect an extremely quick turnaround time for innovation. A whopping 96% said that they anticipate seeing new tends anywhere from a few days to a few months after they first hear about them, with only 1% expecting the process to take years.

When you first hear about a new food innovation and trend that you’re interested in, how quickly do you expect to see related products in stores?

 
N=497, 50/50M-F, ages 13-75, United States

N=497, 50/50M-F, ages 13-75, United States

 

Interestingly, consumers seemed to be most excited about food trends that directly alter the way they interact with and benefit from the products they buy. For example, biodegradable and reusable packaging ranked much higher than soil conservation, the latter of which would ultimately affect food manufacturers much more than their customers – and which, presumably, would take much longer to implement than a package redesign.

Which up-and-coming food industry trend are you MOST interested to see become more popular?

 
N=497, 50/50M-F, ages 13-75, United States

N=497, 50/50M-F, ages 13-75, United States

 

Suzy® Says

Most customers like to feel that they are knowledgeable and active participants in a business that they believe should be able to react immediately to new ideas. Manufacturers, retailers, suppliers, and distributors within the food industry no longer have the luxury of waiting for a trend to get popular before acting on it in their own products – they need to adapt in real time, or else risk becoming obsolete.

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Trying to invent the next big fast food craze? Contact us for a Suzy® demo.


 

Meet Suzy®

A consumer insights platform that helps you gather information on what your potential customers care about, so you can make the right decisions for your business, product, or service.

Suzy® is a better, faster way to conduct market research at the click of a button – like having a focus group right in your pocket.