Developing new food and beverage products can often be an overwhelming task which is why more and more elements of that process are being increasingly outsourced to people like me – a food product development consultant.
With this rapid increase in demand for food product development consultancy comes a confusion of what it is we actually do and how we help companies create new, innovative products that stand out.
Another challenge to add into the mix has been the global pandemic which we have all had to face this year. This has put many projects on pause, both on a local and global scale, and the new virtual world that research and new product development consultants are adjusting to is scary and uncertain.
How does the process start?
On a very basic level, food product consultants, like Raphaëlle O’Connor, help you to take an idea for a product and turn it into a tangible item on shelf or in a professional kitchen. There are many routes to helping you do this and that’s where the initial consultation comes into play.
It helps when the food consultant you are working with has experience not only in your field but also in other areas of the food industry so as to bring as many new insights and learnings to your project as possible. This is something to look out for when deciding who to work with. For example, Raphaëlle O’Connor has 25+ years of experience, as a product development consultant, working internationally for start-ups and multinationals in converging products for consumer health. I use this knowledge to now work with clients operating primarily in the functional food and beverage space as well as the beauty-from-within sector.
I like to start off a new client relationship with a 1-hour consultation call to discover exactly what it is that you need. I make sure this is all done under NDA so that you don’t have to worry about what you can or cannot share on the initial call.
In my case, with iNewtrition, I understand that there are so many amazing food product development consultants out there and it can be difficult to find the right one for you, which is why it’s not just me under iNewtrition. After our call, depending on your project needs, I will search for the very best product development consultants and experts in your category to work alongside me (if it’s not an area that I can cover alone) while we bring your idea to life.
Bringing ideas to life
What areas can we cover? While I cannot speak to all food product development consultants, I can speak to the areas that my team and I often work on. Most projects can be segmented into three different areas as per the table below; Strategy, Development, and Launch. The tasks and activities carried out under each of these categories are not exhaustive and will depend on your specific project, budget, and resources available.
The biggest mistake that I see companies and brands often make when developing new food products is not thinking through the entire process from start to finish. Most companies want to focus on the ingredients to be used and the branding/marketing afterwards, but there are so many more factors in between to consider.
When thinking about the food product you would like to create, have you considered how the formulations and ingredient combinations will work together and what texture that will create? Have you thought about what the delivery system will be and the bioavailability effect from that?
Have you also thought about your supply chain options and ensured that it is scalable so you can grow? You’ll also need to source accurate consumer insight and market research data before testing your product as well.
These are just a few of many things to consider and you may have some or all of these completed already!
The challenge for many companies who are just starting out on this journey, especially now post-pandemic, is often the cost. Employing a full-time researcher or team is expensive, but what if you only need someone for a few hours a month to guide you in the right direction with any or all of the tasks mentioned above?
COVID has changed things, but can we leverage this for good?
The new product development process has changed somewhat since Covid but we can adjust to that. I have worked virtually long before this year and I am comfortable with it but I understand that many are not and that can be an adjustment, especially when working with someone you may not have been able to meet in person.
With many businesses failing within the first five years of launch, my aim is to help yours create successful and memorable consumer-centric products that are not only long-lasting and sustainable but also healthy and nutritious so that your customers will repurchase from you and your brand time and time again.
Send an email to [email protected] if you have been looking for a food product development consultant and think we might be a fit. I’ll get back to you within 24 hours.
Thanks for reading and I hope this was helpful and informative – any questions, send me an email as above or connect with me on LinkedIn!