Brim Coffee, Tato Skins, Kudos Granola Bars, ZIMA, Jello Pudding Pops,

Saluting the Ongoing Road to Innovation

Let’s go back in time. How many of these now-defunct food and beverage products do you remember?

Brim Coffee
Tato Skins
Kudos Granola Bars
OK Soda
Crystal Pepsi
Jello Pudding Pops

They were innovative in their own era and paved the way for the products you see on the shelves today. However, their time came to an end, and are now only tasty memories of the past.

Fast-forward to today. There are nearly 30,000 food and beverage product launches (and spinoffs) annually from companies trying to answer today’s consumers’ needs or demands. Whether it be novelty, function, seasonality or something else, the motivations behind today’s new products are numerous. The heart of food and beverage innovation rests in exploring what’s possible when R&D teams see a glowing opportunity waiting for a perfect solution.

Innovation never rests, and success isn’t easy

With the barrage of new food and beverage product introductions, success can feel insurmountable. And in a hyper-segmented world with so much competition, the failure rate for new offerings is very high. A recent Food Navigator article reports that the success rate for new F&B product introductions is in the 5%-25% range and that one in four new products fail to survive even a year after launch. Public opinions quickly change, and trends fade away, forcing F&B manufacturers to pivot and chase the next consumer trend often. It’s a fickle world out there.

Think of how many innovative products have popped up in the alcoholic seltzer category or the plant-based protein category in recent years. People are hungry (or thirsty) to try new and exciting things, and F&B manufacturers are eager to satisfy them, hoping for the next breakout success.

Consumers may not be aware of the failures and learnings that lead to product introduction successes.

How Starbucks struck big

If you think failure only happens to smaller companies with limited resources to get a product to shelves, think again. Even the ubiquitous Starbucks had its share of hiccups in product launches. Nearly 20 years ago, the coffee giant partnered with PepsiCo to launch a coffee that would be sold in supermarkets. Mazagran was a cold, lightly carbonated coffee drink that polarized the market.

Curiosity initially attracted consumers, with many willing to try anything with the Starbucks logo. Unfortunately, once the novelty wore off, no one made repeat purchases. Inevitably, it was pulled from the shelves.

Still determined to bring an innovative product to the store shelves, Starbucks pivoted and bottled their already popular Frappuccino®. It was a massive hit, and the drink is still successful today. Starbucks and PepsiCo are still in partnership and have continued to launch products.

While the product was a failure, Mazagran inadvertently launched the Ready-to-Drink coffee category that we see in stores today. That beverage category is now a $42.36 billion industry, with food and beverage companies launching thousands of new products yearly.

Bottle top with quote

How you can inspire your customers’ innovation teams

Your customers and their product development teams constantly search to create the next breakthrough food experience.

But you have the power to help inspire their ongoing innovation.

Have culinary ideation meetings with your customers. Gather consumer insights and see what people are shopping for. Once you determine a target audience, use sampling programs and highly targeted marketing to offer ideas about incorporating your products in an application and share how it responds to market demands. Today’s B2B buyers don’t just want a supplier. They want ideas and lots of them.

Innovation never sleeps, and companies are hungry for concepts that leave consumers craving them long after the novelty wears off. Communicating how your ingredients answer today’s demands is a must. Talk to us about developing the right plan to get your ingredient story in front of the right decision-makers. From strategic planning to a fully realized marketing and media plan, creative services and public relations, Anderson Partners can take your vision and convert it into sales.