Dairy Consumer-Centered New Product Development

Dairy companies have begun to use more in-depth, open-ended, and co-creative methods to satisfy their customers to create “democratic innovations” (von Hippel, 2005). These product development processes generally mean a deeper voluntary access into and understanding of consumers' everyday lives. One illustration of the approach was the characterization of the texture of a set of processed cheese products by consumers, in order to take into account the diversity in perception, handling, and vocabulary (Hanaei et al., 2014). Results showed that gathering product sensory characteristics directly from consumers leads to a predominant use of objective terms—in particular, obtaining product characteristics and specificities that can be possibly related to product formulation factors. Olsen and Christensen (2015) discuss social media, offering many opportunities for sensory and consumer science. Utilizing the wisdom of the crowd can lead to a more user-driven development process for food. By monitoring the conversations in social media, it is possible to generate new product ideas but also gain insights into what health and safety issues consumers are worried about. In this way, users are included into the development of new food products and make the crowd vote for the best solutions. The authors described some cases to demonstrate that well-known food companies apply these methods, allowing consumers to enter the center to create new products.

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