How can food and beverage manufacturers get more bang for their R&D buck? In a succinct presentation attempting to answer this question, Morningstar Foods VP, R&D, Dr Weizhi Chen, gave delegates some tips.
1 - Let’s mute: When playing back videos of consumers discussing your products, or even better, preparing them at home, turn off the sound, said Chen. Is their body language telling a different story than the one you heard in the focus group?
2 - Pick the right leader: The product development process is like a telescope and it’s the leader’s job to retain sight of the end goal, even if everyone else is pulling in different directions, said Chen. Meanwhile, great ideas rarely come from 50 people agreeing with one another he said. Usually, an awesome idea is from one or two people, although executing it is a team sport, he said.
3 - Grow your customer’s business: Please the consumer and everything else will fall into place, right? Not necessarily, said Chen. We spend thousands of dollars on consumer insight, but how much time do we spend on customer insight - understanding the needs of the people in the fast food chain that will be serving your product every day, or the retailers that take it to market?