New directions for food and beverage NPD

Wayne MartindaleTom Hollands and Mark Swainson discuss recent advances in newproduct development (NPD) that use digital platforms to analyse a wide variety of datato achieve ‘meta-solutions’ that address all aspects of a product’s performance.

The reality of a 21st century lifestyle is that we work and consume in a globalised food system that has raised living standards and increased longevity in regions where efficient food manufacturing and supply is possible. Improved nutrition is responsible for much of this and innovative manufacturing enables us to revolutionise how we develop new food products for improved quality, price and convenience. The resulting accessibility to food is not without its issues because eating more of what we enjoy means poor dietary choices can be made more often, resulting in increases in diseases, such as diabetes.

Getting new product development (NPD) right can help to tackle these problems by reformulation and the use of tools, such as nutrient profiling. NPD is getting smarter because we can begin to project how products are consumed at the population scale. Where NPD has been focused on the product and marketplace, we can increasingly project its impact in populations. NPD research is also crossing the manufacturing efficiency and consumer choice boundaries so that we can meet more sustainable outcomes at scale to react to consumption trends and at the same time maintain a responsibility to improve health. The result is a new meta- NPD approach, which has been enabled by digital technologies that dramatically scale existing methods. Meta-NPD provides an enhanced understanding of all available data about a product, including consumer preferences as well as quality, nutrition and sustainability……..

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