Striking the Right Balance with NPD

In this month’s edition of Fine Food Digest, I read an interesting article about the industry seeking better NPD.  It was felt there was a “general lack of new product development with too many companies merely extending or repositioning existing lines”.  The retailers view was that ‘Me-too versions didn’t drive real growth”.

Yes being innovative and totally unique is fantastic but it has to be based and built on a true consumer insight or trend and not be too niche in its appeal.  From our experience, consumers do like to try something different from time to time but always revert back to their favourites. 

Karen Deans, Managing Director, field fare said “We launched a range of 20 ready meals earlier this year, including recipes currently not available on the market.  The bestselling lines are Beef Lasagne, Cottage Pie, Macaroni Cheese and Fish Pie.  The 4 mainstream dishes equate to 50% of the 20 new line sales”

Striking the right balance between offering something new, with what is popular with consumers is difficult as at the end of the day retailers want something that sells.  Food producers are put under incredible pressure to keep costs down, support the product when launched and achieve the desired rate of sale (ROS).

This is a great piece of NPD that is built around a lovely story.  Its uniqueness comes from the story of how it is made – Rubies in the Rubble is made using surplus fruits and vegetables, fresh from farms and markets before they’re discarded.  The breadth of recipes offers a good mix of mainstream recipes with a couple of more unusual ones. 

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Another great piece of NPD that launched 6 months ago comes from Tea Huggers.

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The brand discovered a way of blending the tea to address certain lifestyle needs e.g. Chill Out, Flu Fighter etc. differentiating themselves from other tea companies.  Again offering a mix of products including the favourites of Breakfast and Evening teas.

What are your views on NPD?  How does your company approach getting the right balance between offering something new and unique with something that sells? 

We’d love to hear your thoughts…