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Innovation heyday predicted

12 September 2016

Qualitative research undertaken by Science Group companies, Leatherhead Food Research and Oakland Innovation has indicated that the food and beverage industry may be heading for an ‘age of innovation’. 

The statement follows series of in-depth interviews with leading global brands which revealed a trend for more creative, open-minded and collaborative activity to overcome sector challenges.
Many of those interviewed spoke about a rise in democratic approaches to innovation as well as out-of-sector inspiration and consumer-centricity. There was widespread acknowledgement that brands need to foster big ideas, not just incremental product development. 

“Leading food and beverage brands are taking a long hard look at their approach to innovation,” said Chris Wells, md at Leatherhead Food Research. “Product development alone is not enough in today’s always-on world where consumers have greater choice and power than ever before. Clever, customer-focused start-ups can quickly disrupt and colonise market segments that have been unchanged for decades. 

“In this dynamic new environment, doing things as they have always been done is inherently risky. Getting the right balance of investment between incremental innovation and longer term, open innovation is vital to ensure food and beverage companies remain relevant with consumers. I am looking forward to sharing our findings with the audience later this week.”

The research involved 27 in-depth interviews with senior innovation and new product development professionals from food and beverage companies in Europe and North America. More detailed findings will be released at Leatherhead’s members’ conference, New Insights for Global Growth, on 4 October. 

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