Knowledge, Innovation and New Product Development - Innovation Essay Example
Chapter 1 – Introduction
Aims and Objectives
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The objective of this project is to produce a chilled chocolate dessert for the healthy eating sector. It will provide some nutritional advantages over the numerous other foodstuffs available in order to attain sustainable competitive advantage in the niche market.
For this very purpose, the method of new product development was utilised in the project. It was decided to make a variation of a dessert that is not associated with healthy eating so the consumer can enjoy something which is usually associated with indulgence without feeling guilty. Therefore, the specific objectives for this project are as follows:
· Comparison of competing healthy eating desserts.
· To investigate the market potential for a chilled, healthy eating dessert.
· To assemble, specify, and test a process to produce the product.
· To assess the consumer acceptance of the product.
· To formulate a product that will meet the need of the specified market segment.
· To prepare definitive costings’ and price the product.
· To plan the market strategy for the final product.
Research into the principles and procedures of new food product development was undertaken in order to satisfy the aim of the project, this was done using books, journals and websites. Primary data (assumed) aided the sensory analysis, this was completed with the use of questionnaires distributed a taste panel on 18th February 2007. In order to obtain maximum validity and reliability of the data, a cross section of males and females and different age groups were respondents in the primary research, this would also aid in establishing which types of people would exploit a dessert such as this.
Constraints are any factors which define the area of the project, and usually fall within product, processing, marketing, and financial environments. As Earle and Earle (1999, 23-27) point out if the constraints are very tight then the opportunity for creativity is reduced. Therefore, the following constraints have been identified for this project:
· The product must be chilled.
· The product must be available in one portion size.
· The product must comply with food regulations of the UK
· The product shall be marketed in the UK as a chilled, healthy eating dessert.
· Shelf life must be taken into consideration.
· Market position in the chilled cabinet must be taken into consideration.
Chapter 2 – Idea Generation
According to Earle and Earle (1999, 36-42) understanding the changes that are occurring in the relationship between the company, the product and the consumer leads to innovative products which fulfil a need. They go on to point out that that there are two methods of idea generation: focused or convergent thinking and free or divergent thinking. For this project, there is an emphasis on focused, systematic thinking whereby a niche market has been uncovered for the healthy eating sector. Fuller (2004, 75-79) notes that ideas come from both a technology push and a consumer pull. The technology push comes from marketing, processing and product technology and their scientific bases. The consumer pull comes from the knowledge of the consumers and their individual societal bases. In order to analyse consumer needs it is necessary to examine the relation of present products to user needs, defects in present products and improvements in present products, unfulfilled needs- Earle and Earle (1999, 83-89). In this case, consumer concerns have been a strong pull factor with the propagation of ‘deprivation foods’, that is; low fat, sugar or salt which are said to aid in a healthier lifestyle and offer health benefits.
Marketing – Total Marketplace Analysis
Analysing the market place, Fuller (2004, 63-69) states that the more developers know about events in the market place, the more accurately they can define their consumers and their consumers’ needs and expectations. Generating ideas for products to fill those needs becomes much easier.
Earle and Earle (1999) note the following knowledge sources for idea generation through total marketplace analysis.
Studying competing products
Since the proliferation of said deprivation foods, many companies have produced healthier options of products already in the market place. For example Sainsbury’s have brought out a be good to yourself range which includes desserts such as cheese cake made with lower fat and lower sugar. Products and lines such as these were examined in order to find out what consumers will buy and what prices they are prepared for such products.
Studying new products in the food market
Products in the chilled cabinet were examined in terms of fat content, sugar content and calorie count in order to find out what is acceptable in the healthy eating sector. Prices were also scrutinised in order to find out acceptable prices of such foods.
Improving present products
Products that are not classified as healthy eating were examined in order to establish if there were any products that may be turned into healthy desserts. Earle and Earle (1999) add that studying marketing changes particularly distribution channels is another part of total market analysis.
Screening has been described by Fuller (2004, 124) as promoting the advancement of those expectations of consumers and to satisfy the goals of the company. In this case, the screening process will aim to satisfy the aims and the objectives outlined in the introduction. Earle and Earle (1999, 93-99) point out that in order to complete the screening process there needs to be a clear description of the product idea, this can be found below for this product.
Product Idea Description
Low Fat Profiteroles
A light choux pastry wrapped around a low fat, low sugar chocolate mousse. The product will be sold to the healthy eating sector in the chilled cabinet as a healthier alternative to profiteroles. The market segment aiming to be targeted is the healthy eating sector. The selling point will be low fat low sugar and the relationship to competing products is that it is the healthier way to enjoy profiteroles.
· Potential market size
· Compatibility of market image with company’s lines
· Relationship to competing products
· Compatibility with existing or specified market channels
· Access to suitable physical distribution systems
· Fits into acceptable pricing structure
· Relationship to promotional methods and resources
· Marketing resources needed to produce success.
In relating these factors to this project, it has been established that there is a niche market for a chilled dessert for the healthy eating consumer. The potential market size is vast due to the change in lifestyle of the potential consumer that is the desire to lead a healthier lifestyle. The idea of a low fat profiterole is compatible with the specified market channels as it is a dessert that is already in the chilled dessert sector; however, there is not yet a healthier option to this dessert indicating that there is room for such a dessert to enter the market. There will be sufficient access to suitable physical distribution systems as by selling the dessert in the chilled cabinet in supermarkets and store, easy access can be fulfilled. In order to ensure there is an acceptable pricing structure analysis of existing similar products has been carried out.
· Availability of processing equipment
· Compatibility with existing product lines
· Availability of technical skills to produce the product
· Availability of production time
· Agreement with any legal requirements
· Cost and availability of new resources required.
Prior to the development of the product, an investigation into processing equipment availability was carried out to ensure the feasibility of the idea. That includes the technology needed to produce the product, the ingredients available and the time needed for completion. It was concluded that the equipment needed for this particular product was minimal and could be found in the food laboratory, the equipment that was utilised can be found below:
· Equipment needed
· Oven Hob
· Food processor
· Medium heavy based saucepan
· Bain marine
· Piping bag
· Weighing scales
· Large mixing bowl
The time available for each practical session was 2 hours, it was therefore necessary to ensure that cooking times and preparation times would not exceed this to ensure there were no delays on the day of the taste panel. Anything that would exceed this boundary would therefore need to be prepared prior to the taste panel to ensure minimal hindrance.
· Available knowledge and skills
· Available time, financial and human resources
· Development funds needed an available
· Compatibility with existing strengths
Research into ‘new food product development’ theories was carried out to ensure the knowledge required to complete the project was sufficient. It was also necessary to investigate various recipes in order to find the method which is most compatible with the resources available.
· Compatibility of development costs and financial resources
· Capital investment resources needed and available
· Finance needed and available for market launch and ongoing product support.
· Profits or returns on investments required.
As development progresses, the direct costs of development and the internal costs associated with the new products impact on the company’s existing infrastructure become more apparent.
Chapter 3 – Product Strategy Development- Product Concepts and Design Specifications
The product concept develops from the first description of the product idea to the final product specifications controlling production and to the product proposition that the marketers present to the customer- Earle and Earle (1999, 126-8).Once the discussion (in the form of a customer focus group) has been completed, the first stage of product concept is to identify any benefits that the consumer wants from the product. Based on the initial product description the following benefits have been recognized:
Basic Product Benefits
The healthy eating dessert gives the benefits of a tasty indulgent dessert alongside the advantages of choosing the healthier option that is the feeling of well being. The one size portion is advantageous to those who eat alone or who want to eat ‘on the go’
The price was decided after the completion of questionnaires from the taste panel regarding what they would be prepared to pay. The price needs to reflect the one portion size however upon research it was identified that consumers are prepared to pay slightly over the odds for the benefits of the healthy eating dessert. Consumers require ease of disposal and/ or storage in the packaging.
Ease of preparation is an important factor, the dessert should be ready to eat and easy to eat if the consumer is on the go. It should be possible to eat as part of a larger dessert or on its own for a quick snack. Information on nutritional advantages should be on the packaging and presentation should be attractive and inviting.
Psychological benefits sought from a healthy eating dessert should include not feeling guilty from over-indulgence. Consumers would also like to feel content that they have not given into temptation and selected a healthy option.
The initial description of the product evolved at this stage due to the investigation of the benefits sought. In order to make consumers identify this as a healthy eating dessert it was felt necessary to change the filling of the profiteroles from chocolate mousse to peach mousse. The benefit of this is that the consumer can relate the peach mousse to the fruit, which of course is related to healthy eating. The flavour of a chocolate sauce accompanying the dessert was changed to white chocolate, this was decided due to the nature of the dessert being that of a light dessert, and the colour of the white chocolate would enhance this. In which case the new description of the product is as follows:
“Creamy Low Fat Peach Mousse Encased In Light Choux Pastry Balls, Topped With Low Fat White Chocolate”
Product Design Specifications
Raw Materials- Earle and Earle (1999, 136-39) identify raw materials as those which can be used and are available, and the limits on their use are obtained. The raw materials for this product are as follows: four Eggs, 150 grams plain flour, 125 ml water, 125 ml skimmed milk, 100 grams of low fat butter diced .The sugar in the recipe is omitted due to the nature of the dessert. The dessert is advertised as low fat and low sugar, in which case it was necessary to know the fat and sugar content of the raw materials to ensure the desired quality of the final product.
Processing Variables – Gould (1992, 77) stated that product formulation is essentially the selection of a blend of raw materials to give the desired product qualities. The way in which the raw materials are processed will affect the end product in which case it was necessary to evaluate the processing methods through pilot trials. The initial formulation of the raw materials took the following structure:
· Place the water, milk and sugar in a medium to heavy based saucepan.
· Set over high heat
· Bring to the boil
· Cook for 1 min stirring continuously
· Take of the heat
· Quickly and evenly, pour in the flour stirring vigoursly.
· Put back on the heat for 1 min to dry out.
· Stir into a bowl
· Beat the eggs one at a time and add to the mixture until smooth and glossy.
· Heat the oven to 200 degrees
· Line 2 baking trays
· Spoon the mixture into piping bag with 1.5cm nozzle
· Squeeze out the mixture into 1.5 cm balls
· Brush with egg wash
· Bake in oven for 10-15 mins
· Leave to cool for 20 mins then slit the profiteroles on one side
· Spoon the peach mousse into a piping bag then pipe the mixture into the choux balls.
· Melt the low fat white chocolate in a Bain marine then drizzle on the profiteroles.
Upon completion of the first pilot trial is was noted that 4 eggs made the consistency of the choux pastry too runny, the final product therefore ended with the centre not cooked thoroughly but the outside of the product was well done. In which case one egg was omitted from the recipe. After completion of the second pilot trial, it was discovered that by omitting one egg the consistency improved leading to the final product cooking more quickly and more evenly.
Chapter 4 – Product Development
Earle and Earle (1999, 141) state that at this stage packaging design concentrates on the packaging of the individual product, this is based on the needs of the consumer and the requirements of product preservation. Hutton (2003, 85-89) adds that the main functions of food packaging are to deliver the product to the customer in its desired state, to inform the customer of the nature of the contents and to do these things in a way that is convenient to the consumer.
As highlighted by Hutton (2003, 111-15) there are two main ways in which packaging affords physical and mechanical protection to products; via primary packaging and secondary packaging, this product will at this stage only require the primary packaging to be designed. This packaging must be designed to prevent unwanted physical, chemical and microbiological contamination of the food enclosed for quality reasons as well as safety reasons. Hutton (2003) also states that the prevention of physical damage is one perquisite for the prevention of contamination, however to prevent microbial contamination seals lids and closures also need to be appropriately constructed.
This specific product requires the measures above to be adhered to. The packaging required for this chilled dessert is plastic packaging as once moulded into the final form and set by heat, this type of packaging cannot subsequently soften, thus minimising potential damaged goods.
The packaging of the product also has a vital role in informing the customer about the contents of the food. Information on packaging can be divided into two broad categories: advertising and related information and legally required factual information.
According to Hutton (2003, 59-63), all food must have a clear product name and a supplementary description. In this case, the ‘fancy’ name is PROFITER-LOWS along with the description ‘creamy peach mousse encased in light choux pastry balls topped in low fat white chocolate. The name here is a play on words of the well-known dessert profiteroles, the end of the word was changed to lows followed by the slogan ‘low fat + low sugar = lower cholesterol. Due to the term low fat and low sugar being used Hatton (2003, 82-84) stresses that nutritional content must be displayed, for this reason all the relevant information on fat content and sugar content was presented on the inner side of the packaging.
Earle and Earle (1999, 152-155) point out that a consumer is generally concerned with the length of time a food product can be kept in the home before it can no longer be used, a retailer is particularity concerned with the length of time a product can stay on the shelves in order to maximise sales potential. May(2001, 89-94) defines shelf life as the period of time udder defined conditions of storage, after manufacturing or packaging, for which a food product will remain safe and be fit for use.
As Man (2001, 102) states that food that cannot be kept for longer than three months should state the date followed by the month for best before information, this method was used for this product.
Bearing these factors in mind it is necessary to set the final shelf life based on the worst-case scenario in order to give it a clear safety margin- Man (2001, 110). Earle and Earle (1999, 162) describe three types of possible shelf life, short life, medium life and longer life products. Due to the nature of this dessert, being that of a chilled dessert the category selected will be shorter life, which is up to 10-14 days.
Although some room for improvement has been distinguished, the consensus is that the product, after some careful alterations is ready for commercialisation. This has been made apparent through the majority of the taste panel members stating that they would buy this dessert. Alterations to the marketing of the product and flavours may add profitability to the company.
The research has shown that there is room for such a dessert to enter the market place, and if successfully marketed can be highly successful. This is due to the expansion of the healthy eating sector and the desire of consumers to lead a healthier lifestyle.
“The aims and objectives of the project have been satisfied and the project has shown that product development is a major activity in a food company. This is due to the consumers need for new foods for nutritional purposes or just variety and interest. It has also become apparent that, if managers undertake the processes involved in new food product development correctly, new products can generate enormous profits for a company”. (http://www.cheathouse.com/essay/essay_view.php?p_essay_id=77580)
The taste panel results (assumed results) have given a basis for changes made to the product. The main concern seems to be the size of the product being too large. There are a number of ways in which this can be corrected. The portion size may be diminished in order to satisfy the aims of the project or the portion could be made into a family size using the same quantities but changing the advertising. It is recommended that the portion size be halved as the aims of the project state that the dessert must be a one-portion size in order to satisfy consumer requirements.
The peach mousse was not appreciated by every taste; it is recommended that further research into making the mousse taste less sweet is undertaken. It is also recommended that a second line of the product is introduced using low fat cream and chocolate. This will add to profits, as those who may not buy the specified dessert may be more satisfied with this variation.
It may also be recommended that a 100% peach coulis may be used instead of the whit chocolate; this may be advantageous for those respondents who felt the flavours did not compliment each other.
If the size of the product is to be altered this needs to be reflected in the price. The respondents were prepared to pay up to €2.50 for the dessert however; this is in a large portion. Therefore, if the portion is to be changed into a smaller size the suggested price is €1.50.
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