inewtrition – Food Product Development Company

7 NPD mistakes that haunt food & beverage businesses

Picture of by Dr. Raphaëlle O'Connor

by Dr. Raphaëlle O'Connor

Raphaelle has over 25 years’ experience in the ideation,
development, and commercialisation of food chemistry,
food science, food technology, and nutrition.

Man checking the back of the goods to avoid NPD Mistakes

I’ve spent over 25 years in the trenches of food and beverage product development. I’ve seen the exhilarating highs of a successful launch, and the soul-crushing lows of a product flop. Through it all, I’ve noticed one thing remains constant: even the most brilliant minds can make some pretty egregious blunders.

By learning from the mistakes of others (and maybe a few of my own), you can navigate the treacherous waters of NPD and bring your food and beverage dreams to life. So, let’s dive into the top 7 new product development mistakes to avoid:

1. The Lone Wolf Launch

You’ve poured your heart and soul into crafting the perfect product. It’s innovative, delicious, and solves a problem no one else has tackled. But here’s the thing: no one knows it exists.

A product launch without a well-oiled marketing engine is like a ship lost at sea. You need a comprehensive plan that spans pre-launch, launch, and post-launch phases. Think press releases, social media blitzes, influencer partnerships, and, of course, eye-catching in-store displays. Remember, even the most revolutionary product needs a PR party.


2. The Trend Follower

Chasing the latest flavour trends is like playing a game of whack-a-mole. By the time you catch up, something new and shiny has popped up. Instead of being a copycat, be a trailblazer.

Use your market research and consumer insights to identify unmet needs and white spaces in the market. Think outside the box and don’t be afraid to experiment. 


3. The Price-Drop Pendulum

Sure, price wars can give you a temporary edge. But in the long run, they’re a race to the bottom, leaving everyone with razor-thin margins and a bitter taste in their mouths.

Instead of focusing solely on price, build your brand on value and innovation. Highlight the unique selling points of your product, the quality of your ingredients, and the positive impact you have on the world. Remember, people are willing to pay a premium for products that resonate with their values.


4. The Design Dungeon

Locking yourself in a lab and ignoring your target audience is a recipe for disaster. You might end up with a product that’s technically brilliant but utterly useless to anyone who actually buys groceries.

Get your customers involved in the NPD process! Conduct focus groups, host ideation workshops, and gather feedback at every stage of development where budget allows. Their insights will not only help you create a product they love, but also build brand loyalty and excitement. We highly recommend you listen to Naishad Dalal’s section of our most recent webinar “Innovation and NPD in the Food Industry” where he goes into further detail on the impact of user testing.


5. The Innovation Dead-End

Sure, you launched a great product. But then what? Are you just going to rest on your laurels and hope for the best?

Innovation is a never-ending journey. Keep brainstorming new ideas, experimenting with new flavours and ingredients, and staying ahead of the curve. Ongoing research and strategic planning is the only avenue that will provide your brand longevity.


6. The Problem-less Product

Not every idea needs a product. Sometimes, the biggest mistake you can make is launching something that no one actually needs or wants.

Before you invest time and money into development, make sure you have a clear understanding of the problem your product is solving. Is it a big enough problem? Are people willing to pay to fix it? If the answer is no, go back to the drawing board.


7. The Formula Fumble

Your meticulously crafted formula might be a scientific marvel, but inflexibility can be a recipe for disaster. Leave some wiggle room in your measurements to accommodate experimentation and production hiccups. Adaptability can prevent costly delays and ensure smooth sailing from lab to shelf. Clean-label products, with fewer ingredients, can also make life easier on the production line.

Finally, consider formula alongside your launch strategy so as not to fall into a supply chain knot. Especially for startups, plan your ramp-up with caution, understand your ingredient needs and supplier minimum orders. Launching 100 boxes when your supplier demands a pallet-load is a recipe for frustration.

Ask yourself:

  • Can some ingredient quantities be adjusted slightly without compromising taste or texture?
  • Are there substitute ingredients readily available to cover potential supply chain disruptions?
  • Have you considered alternative processing methods that offer more flexibility in ingredient ratios?
  • Are there readily available clean-label alternatives to potentially troublesome ingredients (e.g., emulsifiers, stabilisers)?
  • Does your recipe allow for adjustments based on consumer feedback after launch without requiring major reformulation?

In conclusion, when it comes to your recipe, think adaptable and scalable.

Avoiding these NPD mistakes is crucial for the success of your food and beverage business. But let’s be honest, sometimes you need a little extra help navigating the complexities of the industry. That’s where inewtrition comes in.

We’re a global team of passionate food and beverage experts who can help you with every step of the NPD process, from ideation to launch and beyond. We offer a range of services, including:

  • Market research and analysis
  • Concept development and ideation
  • Product formulation and prototyping
  • Regulatory compliance and labelling
  • Packaging and branding design
  • Marketing and launch support

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