R&D in action: Highlights from the 2013 Food Technology & Innovation Forum

By Elaine WATSON

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Food technology, Nutrition, Food, Hershey, Unilever

Staff at Unilever's Vlaardingen R&D center worked with InSite Consulting to engage with 90 UK consumers via a proprietary online platform over a three-week period to gain insights into food, personal care and home care categories
Staff at Unilever's Vlaardingen R&D center worked with InSite Consulting to engage with 90 UK consumers via a proprietary online platform over a three-week period to gain insights into food, personal care and home care categories
How can you get more bang for your R&D buck? How does Unilever gain deeper consumer insights online? Why don’t manufacturers share more information with key suppliers? 

All of these questions and a host of others were addressed at the 2013 Food Technology & Innovation Forum in Chicago last month, which attracted R&D professionals from the nation’s leading food and beverage companies, from PepsiCo to Hershey, Mondelez, Abbott Nutrition, Unilever and Nestlé.

In this special edition, we collate the highlights from the event. Click on the headlines below to go to the stories, or go to the homepage​ of FoodNavigator-USA.

Are all-natural claims losing their luster?

prego-natural-cropped

The phrase 'all-natural' featured on 12% of new launches in 2012 versus 14% of launches in 2010, according to Mintel research. Not a big drop, but perhaps a sign that the all-natural trend may be losing a little of its luster?

Hershey's Kisses are smoother, and ‘significantly less sweet’ in China

Hersheys-Kisses-China

When Hershey was preparing to launch its iconic Kisses brand in China, consumer research suggested it would have to radically alter its recipe - and tweak its packaging - to meet local tastes, revealed global product development VP Dr Jorge Bouzas.

Professor: Does it look like a juice? Does it pour like a juice? Is there an orange on the label? So why is there only 5% juice?

orange peel

Consumers expect to see added sugar in donuts and candy bars. But when they discover reams of it in dried fruits, juices and other products marketed as ‘healthy’ foods, they feel deceived, and rightly so, said Professor Jim Painter.

Time for a frank conversation? Starbucks, Molson Coors & Abbott Nutrition debate simpler specs and trusting your suppliers

Starbucks-Logo-

In a surprisingly frank round table debate to close the conference, R&D bosses at Starbucks, Molson Coors & Abbott Nutrition debated how greater information sharing - and trust - between trading partners is key to getting innovative products to market more efficiently.

Natural claims, mindless eating and Hershey's Chinese adventure... ​ 

Dairy-Queen

Our picture gallery round up of day one’s presentations includes Dr Jim Painter on portion control, Symrise on consumer trends,  PepsiCo on personalized nutrition, IFIC on label claims, Dole Foods on social media, USDA on MyPlate 2.0, Dairy Queen on global expansion, Leavitt Partners on FSMA and Insights Now on targeting Millennials…

Nestlé on GMOs, the added sugar debate and McDonald's oatmeal slam dunk ... ​ 

McDonalds-oatmeal-2

Our picture gallery round up of day two’s presentations includes McDonald’s on oatmeal, Unilever on consumer insights, Nestlé on biotech and sodium reduction, Mintel on health & wellness, Godiva on branding and MorningStar Foods on winning R&D…

The 7th annual Food Technology & innovation Forum was organized by WTG Group.

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