What today’s food companies can learn from startups

Practical Innovation provides the 21st century recipe for successfully bringing a product from concept and ideation to launch

Only 0.5% of food product launches achieve success in the marketplace.

For food companies to beat those odds, real innovation is a key factor for product success.

Practical Innovation — an innovation starter company — helps food and food ingredient companies develop innovative products just like any startup, yet can break the old paradigm of marketing the same products on a reduced margin that sets the product up for eventual failure.

There is a huge gap between startups that launch innovative products and traditional companies who don’t, irrespective of company scale.

Utilising the multidisciplinary expertise of professional innovators is necessary to drive the changes required and launch win-win products.

Many established food companies want to develop new products and increase sales and revenues, but to do so involves harnessing tremendous efforts and resources that are not always available to traditional companies such as bakeries and sweetener companies.

Starting an innovation process in an existing company that has produced the same products for many years is fraught with stumbling blocks.

With so much at risk, older — and larger — companies are persistently driven toward making only minor changes rather than true innovations. Being inherently risk-averse, they might only add a new flavour, improve packaging, or simply cut costs. Creating innovation from inside presents multiple challenges.

“Gambling your reputation in the market with a new product that might not survive on-shelf is a huge impediment,” says Tal Leizer, CEO of Practical Innovation.

“If you want to succeed in the competitive food market, the very first step is to take failure off the table and start thinking audaciously, like a startup.”

Leizer shares a few tips how to revive the innovation process in your company:

  1. Think like a startup, literally – search for creative ideas even if those ideas seem impossible
  2. Do your research: this is the most complicated mission in the project and it involves market research, identifying important food trends, and knowing what the market wants now ... and 5 years from now
  3. Set SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound
  4. Make your concept feasible and scalable
  5. Develop a complete plan from concept to market (and beyond)
  6. Make sure the product meets the genuine needs of the target consumer and solves real problems for which they are seeking solutions
  7. Get help from a professional innovation company.

Case study

Recommendations to reduce sodium, sugar, and fat in the diet established by the global health bodies FDA and WHO spurred Leizer to see the challenge as a great opportunity for clients to develop new ingredients and products to meet the growing demand for healthy, tasty products.

Recognising the consumer quest for healthier sugar alternatives, Practical Innovation reinvented the sweetener category by developing Liteez, a dual-purpose, sugar-free, vegan meringue “kiss” sweetener for sweetener company, Lampados Ltd.

The product is composed of the natural sugars inherent in prebiotic vegetable fibres, and that can dissolve in and sweeten a hot beverage or be enjoyed as an ultra-low calorie sweet treat.

“When a company approaches us, in many cases they already are losing market share and have hastily responded with price drops to try and hold their brand in the marketplace,” says Leiser.

“Building a robust plan is crucial to maintaining any new strategy and to assess its feasibility for implementation. Such a plan should also encompass areas of large-scale production, developing niche markets, and assessing prospects for international export.”

“Even more pertinent is to guide all the product characteristics, from texture, taste, and functionality through to packaging, as well as crafting an indulgent flavour while being sure the concept meets the real demands of the consumer,” adds Leizer.

“We don’t just develop different packaging or a new flavour, but reinvent every aspect of a product, from concept to product launch, all while encompassing formulation with simple, natural ingredients according to the current food trends. And, we make sure our innovative products have patentability.”

Companies