Open Innovation In The Food Industry

The point of inception for any enterprise, big, small or
medium has been an idea. The thought of coming up with a product,
service or initiative that would be of use to the global consumer, has
resulted in the emergence of numerous brands globally. However, the
success of continuously developing new products and better services does
not only depend on market research and branding activities or new
business development strategies. What is needed is an environment that
is conducive to ideas and knowledge sharing that brings together
multiple views and feedbacks. This too is not just limited to the
organization’s employees, but rather is open to all. This process of
sourcing meaningful ideas is termed as open innovation.

Over the past few years several brands have been
resorting to open innovation and crowdsourcing techniques for new
product development. One of the industry vertical making active use of
this technique is the food industry. Let us look at the multinational
food manufacturing company Kellogg’s (United States). The company
launched a creative initiative that enabled it in creating a new product
variant of Cereal Straws. This initiative originally started in Spain
where children between nine to ten years shared their breakfast concerns
and probable ways to resolve them. The result of from these detailed
discussions was that one should not only drink milkshakes through straws
but eat the straw afterwards that is crunchy and tastes good. The final
outcome was a brand new product named Kellogg’s Cereal Straws with its
target audience defined way before the product released in the market.


Therefore we see that open innovation often helps food brand to have a
clear idea of their target consumer group prior to product release. This
gives the brand the assurance that the capital and other resources
invested in the product development will not go waste. More than that,
it allows the brands to actually come up with products that are a blend
of proper nutrition and taste. Furthermore, innovative ways of mass idea
capture and idea management tactics can not only be used for essential
foods. The same can be applied to fancy food and confectioneries as
well.


This is what the multinational confectionery company Kraft Foods,
United States did by setting up an Idea Cafe along with Insites
Consulting to welcome new ideas. The company was looking for
consolidated ideas that can be incorporated on a day to day process. For
this the company also invited 50 Belgian Kraft consumers to be a part
of this three week idea generation process and Concept Development
Community. The final outcome of this open innovation practice was that
the company gathered more than 60 creative food ideas both for short
term and long term development.

Thus the future of any company
in terms of coming up with better products and meaningful practices
depends on the way idea management tactics are harnessed. Furthermore,
this also helps in setting a deeper audience connect that boosts sales
and results in increased goodwill.

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