New Dairy Product Development as a Relational Issue between Consumers and Dairy Industries

The consumer insights and approaches to new dairy product development, analyzed through a range of qualities from naturalness to hybridity, take on a pragmatic, societal, and cultural impetus. It is through these kinds of framing that consumers are willing to accept or resist new dairy products in the market. The dairy product development, strongly connected with both the quality and character of the product and conditions of production, can be seen as a market activity entailing societal embeddedness vis-a-vis simplistic market activity. Furthermore, this product development has increasingly advanced technological features that render the products' continuously new hybrid qualities, against which competitive advantage can be found in not engaging in high- tech product developments. This orientation also allows dairy businesses to gain market shares if they are enabled to draw on prestigious heritage of culinary culture. Dairy product development thus has clear techno-cultural orientations, as opposite to drawing on traditional and protected product qualities.

The dairy product development may take place mainly within the industrial sphere through regulated interests such as laws and decrees, or it can be relocated among consumers, whose needs and values can be embraced to co-create new dairy products. The sphere of regulated interests shows the industry as a negotiator with policy makers and regulators, creating distance toward consumers, whereas the sphere of consumer collaboration can be deployed to create trust by consumers in the industry. The consumers can be very sensitive to new benefits that the dairy products offer; the functional and particularly probiotic products show increasing popularity. However, consumers may also show considerable susceptibility toward particular technologies of production, such as those posing unknown risks for health or endangering animal welfare. This approach clearly benefits developments of traditional products, which can be redressed through environmental and health information, which emphasize rather than interfere with the traditional product quality.

New product development must balance between technological advancement and the openness of their technologies and supply chain operations. These societal developments seem to offer a plethora of optional orientations, whereby dairy businesses can offer both less and more technological products for consumers as well as engage them in various extents in product development. If the consumers' needs and values are in the center of dairy industries, they can be judged on the basis of spheres of product development and the ways that industries engage in deployment of technologies.

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