3 reasons why food innovations fail
31 augustus 2023 
in News

3 reasons why food innovations fail

Research shows that 8 out of 10 innovations in FMCG fail*. Throughout my career, I have repeatedly witnessed new innovations not surviving. In this article, you will find the 3 main reasons, along with tips to bring about change.

1. Neglecting consumer needs

One of the key reasons for the high failure rate is that companies simply don't adequately address consumer needs. For marketers, understanding their target audience is perhaps the number one skill you should master. You have to delve deep to gain insights into what really drives consumers and not what they say.

Tip: Take into account the intention-behavior gap. This gap shows that there is a disconnect between what consumers say and what they actually do. A consumer may show enthusiasm for a new concept in a panel, but make different choices once in the store. Bridge this gap by gathering insights into consumer behavior rather than focussing on opinions.

2. Good idea, poor product

Without a good product, there is no future, as Retail Expert Cor Molenaar recently mentioned in an article about VanMoof's downfall (De Ondernemer, July 2023). When innovations fail, you often see that little attention has been paid to a good product experience. A good idea and marketing alone won't suffice.

Tip: Resolve this relatively simply by allowing sufficient room in the innovation process to test the user experience of your product. Make the research setup as realistic as possible, in a real-life testing environment. This will always yield valuable feedback, even on aspects you may not have considered before.

3. Poor commercial decision-making

Decision-making within food companies is often based on gut feelings, assumptions, and personal opinions. Aspects like conflicting interests and bureaucracy hinder well-founded decision-making.

I understand that breaking this pattern doesn't happen overnight. Effective decision-making is a specialized skill. To effect change, foster a culture that prioritizes fact-based decision-making. Invest in knowledge and expertise in data.

Why there is need for a big change

As a marketer at food companies, I found innovation to be the most enjoyable aspect of my work. It's great to experience a product co-developed by you appearing on the shelf. Yet, I was also frustrated by the waste of time, money, food, and packaging that came with innovation.

That's why I want to radically change the way food companies innovate. At Bamboo Brands, we achieve this by helping companies base their decision-making on facts rather than opinions. 

One of our clients is Jamael Food Group. Discover how we helped Jamael Food Group by testing a new packaging innovation.

*Source: Nielsen, 2018. 

About the author
Founder & Managing Director Bamboo Brands B.V.