Releasing a flavored snack product with a completely new flavor for the market “generally predicted failure”, report Alisa Doan and Edgar Chambers IV from Kansas State University’s Sensory Analysis Center, but “being traditional, trendy, or a flavor commonly found in restaurants within a country often predicted success”.
Writing in Food Quality and Preference, Doan and Chambers note that their data should increase the chance of success for a new product from 50 to 70%.
Information of product formulation, market trends, and packaging was obtained from 15 countries for flavored snack products to produce a data set to predict success rates. While the questions asked in this case study did work well for flavored snack products, the Kansas State researchers add that some adjustment may be necessary for other product categories.
“This research identified a procedure including the kinds of questions that can be used to obtain successful prediction in a category.”
As reported by FoodNavigator-USA last year, food industry commitment to NPD remains strong despite the economic downturn.
Indeed, John Scerbo, president of Illinois-based executive search firm for food industry professionals, Foodemployment.com told this publication that the job market in new product development (NPD) has held up reasonably well during the downturn.
Scott Martling, group leader at the International Food Network (IFN), predicted that there will be even more pressure on product development and R&D departments to do more with less and manufacturers will be forced to adopt a leaner structure and buy in external expertise for special projects or to help them diversify into new areas.
Therefore, the need for more information to ensure a higher success rate for new products fits into this, and this is where the new Kansas State data will come into play.
Doan and Chambers sought to determine if success could be predicted from information available before a product is launched, by asking staff from an international food manufacturer in 15 countries to complete a questionnaire on product launches. Question topics included product authenticity, familiarity, current trends, packaging, product competition and pricing.
Results showed that, using 63 flavors, a “discriminant function correctly identified 75.8% successful products as successful and 66.7% unsuccessful products as unsuccessful”.
“For this product category, being a completely new flavor for the market generally predicted failure, but being traditional, trendy, or a flavor commonly found in restaurants within a country often predicted success.
“Considering half the products (50%) used in this study were unsuccessful, that data improves the potential prediction of success from 50 to approximately 70%, a major increase.”
Source: Food Quality and Preference
Published online ahead of print, doi:10.1016/j.foodqual.2012.01.005
“Predicting success for new flavors with information known pre-launch: a flavored snack food case study”
Authors: A.R. Doan, E. Chambers IV