The formula for global success for new food products

How can start-ups make sure to end up among the 10 percent who succeed with their products? Test again and again, keep your consumer in mind, and do not forget loads of well-being. It for sure is not easy, but here is some good advice for you to bring on your path.

Michiel Kernkamp, CEO at the world biggest food company, Nestle, who want to achieve 0 environmental impact in their operations by 2030.

Did you know that 90 percent of all start-ups have to pull back their products?

The million-dollar question is then: How do we as start-ups create successful innovation and thus avoid ending up together with the 90 percent?

1000 tests to success

It is exactly like Lego bricks,” said Karsten Olsen, professor at the department for food science, Copenhagen University, in his explanation of the term “design thinking process”.

You have a bunch of Lego bricks that can be assembled in all sorts of ways and create different ideas/prototypes, and these will have to pass the sensory tests.

It can be a long process, but it can prove to be a success in the long run. This is for sure the case for the company True Gum – a company that has gone from having 0 to 450 stores and a revenue which has increased tenfold in less than a year.

We have become wiser along the way – we went to test with our customers. A piece of chewing gum might have undergone 1000 tests,” said Jacob Sand Motzfeldt, one of the founders of True Gum, who told the secret behind the company’s success.

Professor Klaus G. Grünert is managing the MAPP Centre at Aarhus University – a department that is specialized in consumer behavior within food and beverages, and which has had its work acknowledged on an international level.

Frame your product in relation to well-being

For many years, well-being has been a consistent global food trend, and underneath this theme exists three central themes: Health, sustainability and authenticity. According to Klaus G. Grünert it is important to be familiar with their trade-off – as an example, the consumer expects that healthy food equals loss of flavour and satisfaction.

It can be difficult to develop products with trade-offs, but a solution could be to focus on well-being. If you do not think about trade-off, how can a product then create a position feeling of well-being,” was an open question from professor Klaus G. Grünert from the Mapp Centre, Aarhus University, in his presentation at the event.

It all comes down to how you frame the product, according to Klaus, and in connection to this he presented three concrete advice:

  • Go away from thinking of healthy food as something you need to force yourself to buy and consume, because you believe that it lacks flavour and naturalness. Go towards seeing healthy food as something pleasant, and as something that not just gives you satisfaction in relation to the food being healthy, but also as something that gives you a feeling of joy when you buy, cook and consume it.
  • Go away from framing sustainable food choices as a sacrifice you have to make. Go towards framing sustainable food choices as something that is pleasant, innovative, that satisfies your curiosity and gives a positive feeling.
  • Authenticity is different since it contributes to well-being without having to make any sacrifices to get it.

Natural, plastic-free, vegan, local, Nordic, made in Copenhagen

But you confuse the consumer by indulging in too many well-being synonyms:

Focus on a few mega trends. You cannot focus on too many things,” was a point made by Jacob Sand Motzfeldt.

Heine Max Olesen’s Shaman brand aims for being 100 % plastic-free by 2019, and the company donates 10 % of its profit to the Danish environmental organisation, Plastic Change.

Help the consumers on right path through storytelling

Heine Max Olesen. Seaman”, it says on the front of a bag of chips whose founder shares the same name. On the back is a personal story that is finished off with Heine Max Olesen’s signature.

I have focused on authenticity. That you see the man behind the brand. I was born and raised by the sea and I have a huge love for the sea,” said Heine Max Olesen in his presentation. And you must admit that it shines through in his product.

Perhaps storytelling is the thing that has helped the Seaman brand to get on to the market in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, China, Sweden, Norway and Finland in just 5 months.

Story-telling is a way of helping the consumers on their way, and it is an important part of the design thinking process”, Karsten Olsen points out.

Global trends, local contexts

Success happens when global trends meet local preferences,” was an advice from Jacob Sand Motzfeldt, “in Germany they for example do not have the same culture regarding liquorice like we have in Denmark, when it comes to chewing gum.

Do you want to know more about the local preferences in four corners of the world, when it comes to well-being?

Then, participate in Danish Food Innovation’s Digital Masterclass this Friday, 8 March, where Klaus G. Grünert will dive into the field alongside with his colleagues from the other three corners of the world.

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