inewtrition – Raphaelle O'Connor

Food Business Consultant

Bringing Your Health & Wellness Product Ideas to Life

A successful new product development strategy looks at more than just the ingredients and technical aspects of product design. You need to be able to understand how to create a commercially-attractive product and market it through the launch stage and beyond. As a food business consulting company we have the expertise and knowledge to provide you with a food business consultant that can deliver these needs.

From Ideation to Implementation….

Once you are ready to take your product idea to the next stage, a food business consultant, will help you examine whether this idea is the right one for the market(s) you are looking at and the best methods for realisation. We can do this by carrying out an investigative market research and validation study comprising of some, or all, of the following areas depending on your needs:
  • Overview of the market(s) you are considering entering with your product (range) including a SWOT analysis, trends, and research backed insights from a technical and commercial perspective.
  • Competitor evaluation (including store visit data analysis) to assess the current market portfolio and gaps for your brand to better understand the product/market fit.
  • A look into the potential routes-to-market for your product when developed. This is important to consider early-on as it could determine the outcome of other factors such as packaging formats, size, delivery systems, and the most powerful areas in-store for sales/visibility etc.
  • Marketing & communications recommendations for a go-to-market strategy. This can include branding, pricing analysis, value proposition, product positioning and differentiation to name a few.
We can also assist from a Project or Portfolio Management perspective and add value to your project as one of our food business consultants can create detailed schedules, cost summaries, sets of specifications and resource requirements to help shape your idea into a reality.

What is a product development example?

A good example would be the ‘plant-based’ market that is inarguably among the fastest growing markets over the last decade. Concepts like sustainability, environmental awareness and well-being led to an increased demand of plant-based food products by flexitarians, vegetarians, vegans and conscious eaters. Even though consumers are willing to buy more plant-based and healthy products, they are not ready to compromise on the sensory quality. Unpleasant and unexpected taste can represent a barrier to consumer acceptance. What features of your plan-based product are likely to satisfy consumers? Understanding and prioritizing features of your product to determine those that are a basic requirement, those that deliver ‘performance’ characteristics and those that ‘excite’ the consumers are important so that the satisfaction vs cost can be weighed up. Those characteristics are important to refine the scope of work that may include the following items:
  1. Characterisation of nutri-functional ingredients and selection of natural bio-actives for application in nutri-functional products. In collaboration with colleagues working in global supply to secure volumes and supply cost-effectively for roll-out and strategic projects in multiple markets.
  2. Formulation is critical for success: relevant bioactives, health benefits, ingredients functional (texture) and nutritional (label) properties from a qualitative and quantitative perspectives. Synergy of ingredients (antioxidants, hydrocolloids) will be considered for dose/efficacy and reduced-cost formulation (respectively).
  3. The branding and marketing strategy should be aligned with points above and this will shape the “freedom box” for the product and ensure that formulation and “compliance by design” with nutrition labelling and claims.
  4. Texture properties and any other physical attributes will also be considered upfront (determine the key characteristics and parameters that will have to be considered during formulation. Functionality and synergies of hydrocolloids and any other relevant additives or fillers that may be added to enhance functionality and/or consumer experience of plant-based product.
  5. Understanding the sensory characteristics of products goes far beyond ‘bench top tasting’ by the NPD team. It is essential that the sensory characteristics of plant-based products are measured by a panel of experienced, trained and objective professionals. Descriptive sensory profiling is the vital tool that allows you to wholly understand your product and encompasses the full end-to-end sensory experience. Think about how the balance between taste and flavour of a vegan gummy changes throughout the eating experience or how long does the sweetness linger in the consumers mouth following consumption of your product? Understanding factors such as appearance, aroma, taste, flavour, mouthfeel, texture and aftertaste/flavour provide valuable insights and are vital when optimising product formulation.
  6. Process and technology to be aligned with product category and expected shelf-life. Processing parameters will have to be carefully optimised to minimise denaturation (bioactivity, nutritional characteristics) while having an acceptable shelf-life.
  7. Shelf Life testing (accelerated/ambient) and assignment aligned with local regulations
  8. Project management and support to launch including pre- and post-launch activities.
  9. “State of the art” and “Freedom to operate” to ensure the formulation, processes and/or packaging used does not infringe any patents.
Example of a product development strategy Those activities will refine the proof of concept and support the execution to develop a compelling value-proposition around product design with specific qualitative and quantitative attributes for plant-based category

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Pathways to success in the functional food and beverage industry