The failure rate of new products is often over 50%, and can be as high as nine out of ten in some industries. A recent conference, Best of Food and Beverage Packaging, featured innovation professionals highlighting the implications of technology and trends in food and beverage packaging. Their presentations provided a glimpse into the crucial role packaging can play in improving the success of new products in a number of industries. The two-day conference was filled with informative presentations from industry, product development, innovation, and brand experts. Below are just a few of the key takeaways shared by presenters.
Innovation and Collaboration are Critical.
A key message heard from speakers over and over again: Innovation in packaging means more than development in one area. Professionals during the conference honed-in on giving focus to innovation in four key areas: Distribution, resources, trust, & technology. For packaging to work as a true growth driver for brands, innovation must extend beyond the package itself.
One of the biggest themes of the conference was the need to work with both suppliers and customers in an increasingly collaborative way and earlier in the new product development lifecycle. Some suggested a more holistic approach, embedding the marketing and packaging at the beginning of the food development process, thereby making the package become part of the brand story (including a shift to brand owners having more say).
Make Consumer Research a Part of the Equation.
Nearly 75% of purchase decisions are made in the store, where packaging can draw the consumer in and tell the right story. Chris Cornyn, President of Dine, discussed the importance of getting consumer insight right for brands to capture this decision-making through effective packaging, citing inaccurate consumer insight as one of the largest contributors of packaging failure. A number of speakers spoke of the importance of not only making consumer research a frequent and early part of the development process, but also creating discipline to get the consumer insight accurate.
Innovation Needs to Become Disruptive.
Many speakers talked about the packaging industry as change-resistant and fraught with only marginal innovation. Some suggested manufacturers can get as much as double their money for an existing or similar product all based on packaging thereby making the case for the real implication that innovative packaging can have on a product launch or brand. This point was further illustrated during the Best of Food & Beverage Awards. Unique new packaging concepts were recognized and admired by the crowd, including a single-serve wine glass! Of course, disruptive innovation is hard because it is filled with risk. However, this elevates the importance of supporting early collaboration and targeted consumer insight to support a new, disruptive innovation approach in packaging.
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Tena Lyons is an industry marketing manager.