Consumers know best – the key to making new products flourish

Why do products such as Cadbury Marvellous Creations’ popping candy chocolate and Chobani’s high-protein Greek yoghurt succeed, when others fall short of the mark?

Because the people behind these products listen to consumers and offer the best packaging to get people grabbing for their products.

Food innovation expert Angeline Achariya explains that companies often forget to find out what consumers want, which leads to products failing before they even hit a high.

“Take a consumer inspired approach. Understand the market, understand the consumer,” she said.

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“In FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods), 90 per cent of products fail in the first 12 months of product launch,” said Achariya.

Perhaps with better consumer knowledge and packaging this wouldn’t be the case.

In a presentation hosted by St.George Bank, in Sydney in July, Achariya talked about “finding the next UBER in food”.

Food producers and manufacturers gained valuable advice on how to introduce new products to the market that will bring consumers back for more.

Achariya is the chief executive officer at Monash University’s food innovation centre. She and her team helped Chobani succeed in the Australian dairy retail sector, and she recalls Mondelez buying “all of the popping candy in the world” for its Cadbury Marvellous Creations range.

Cadbury listened to consumers. People liked the chocolate melting on their tongues to reveal textured candy with a satisfying crunch. They liked the crackling on the roofs of their mouths, which reminded them of their childhood, said Achariya.

“The most successful things in the market place are always meeting a need. It’s really about making sure that consumers want it.”

During the innovation cycle process, focusing on packaging first was necessary, said Achariya.

When it comes to launching new products, it’s what’s in the outside that counts at first glance.

“Consumers eat with their eyes first,” said Achariya.

Beak & Johnston founder David Beak agreed that good market research, and the right packing, helped the success of a product.

Beak’s company is a family owned food processing business with 30 years’ experience dealing in fresh cut and value added meat products, fresh soups, sauces and prepared meals.

It wasn’t always smooth sailing for the company, which brought products, such as fresh ready meals, out a decade too soon, Beak said.

“A lot of the ideas we had 25-30 years ago were 15 years or 20 years too early. It comes back to doing market research,” he said.

Although it could be daunting to launch a new product, it was all about perseverance, Beak said. “Don’t give up.”

St.George relationship director Mark Burgess said the event was about supporting businesses in the food and beverage industry.

“We love bringing our customers together to showcase different perspectives and trends in the industry.”

Learning more about consumers’ needs and wants, and making sure this is reflected in packaging, could help a new product succeed.

These steps may seem simple, but speakers at the event, Achariya and Beak, highlighted them as they can get lost in a large list of ‘must-do’ tasks.