Definition Settings and New Food Products Classification

Product and process development (commonly referred to as product development) is systematic, commercially oriented research to develop products and processes satisfying a known or suspected consumer need. Product development is a method of industrial research in its own right. It is a combination and application of natural sciences with the social sciences—of food science and processing with marketing and consumer science—into one type of integrated research whose aim is the development of new products (Winger and Wall 2006).

There are many ways to classify the degree of newness of a product. Winger and Wall (2006) suggest these categories:

  • • Creative products
  • • Innovative products
  • • New packaging of existing products
  • • Reformulation of existing products
  • • New forms of existing products
  • • Repositioned existing products
  • • Line extensions

Regarding food products, the innovation spectrum is rather limited. When a dairy company aims at introducing a new product, neither major nor radical innovations (Early and Early classification system (2002)) can be considered. Incremental innovations established on changes within the product platform can be adequately applied in the new dairy product development process, as product platform is a set of products sharing common features.

Additional perspective to this matter is given by Jaehwan, Allenby, and Rossi (Jaehwan et al., 2005). They argue that on one hand, “new” products are simply different points in the characteristic space. As the number of products increases, this space becomes more densely packed with products, increasing the average level of product substitutability. This is a reasonable view for product categories where offerings are very similar and differ in terms of simple repackaging and slight enhancements. On the other hand, product offerings are relatively unique and not well described by a low-dimensional space of attributes. This view is consistent with the notion that product attributes interact to produce a unique taste, or feel that cannot be easily replicated. An implication of this view is that new products can be introduced that have attributes not available in existing products, and that these products create new sources of demand as they satisfy unmet consumer needs. The challenge in comparing these views is that they cannot exist simultaneously. It is not possible to hold the view that a consumer's preference for an offering has both unique and common (attribute-related) components without restricting the nature of the unique component (Jaehwan et al., 2005).

Siriwongwilaichat (2001) classifies new products as “Innovative products—completely new to the market (ICNP),” “Products—new to the company (PNC),” “Value added products (VA),” and “line extensions (LE).” Considering the specifics of food products, with a focus on dairy products, it is grounded to implement this classification on the units of VA and LE, achieving a higher level of product differentiation and better focusing in the target segments.

No matter which classification system will be disseminated in the new dairy product development, it is essential to consider a certain innovation from two main points of view: the producer and the market. A particular consumer or producer will approach new products differently depending on whether they are either completely new to both the market and the producer (never-seen-before-products), or already exist in either the market or the producer (copying of or change from known products) (Winger and Wall, 2006).

The new products should possess certain features that will guarantee their success in the marketplace. One generally used classification (Tetra Pak, 2004) gives the following typical features:

  • • Noticeable advantages for the consumer
  • • Distinctive details that are important to the consumer
  • • Satisfy the consumers' need for convenience, youth, better diet, less stress, perfect taste, and variation
  • • Reliable brand
  • • Advertising breakthrough

Furthermore, the features could be used as criteria while screening ideas in the product development process.

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