NPD excellence – Balancing nutrition with customer experiences

More than ever before, consumers want to improve their lifestyle by being healthier. Expectations regarding health continue to evolve with food & beverage always appearing to play an essential role in this.
Nutrition has always been important but trends are showing that more consumers want to adopt a healthier more balanced approach to their lifestyle. This often includes looking after the planet and opting for fair trade, sustainable and balanced nutri-score, vitamin rich options. Despite nutrition being at the forefront, it’s important to not unbalance health and nutrition with poor product taste or texture; consumers want products that are tasty, smell and look good, as well as are healthy.

According to the Consumer Goods Forum, bread products are considered tasty and healthy as they contain wholemeal flour, fibre, grains and seeds. These are recognised by consumers as power ingredients that make products healthier and tastier at the same time. Regarding patisserie, nuts, fibre, vegetables and fruit filling, they are considered to be power ingredients. Healthy and tasty ingredients in chocolate products are cocoa, followed by fibre, nuts, super fruits, floral extracts, fruit filling and seeds. These are all products that consumers recognise as being 100% natural and thereby full of goodness.

There also has been significant growing interest in the role of cross modal sensory experiences in consumer brand, product choices and decision & purchasing making. Whether it is the crafted crunch associated with a branded breakfast cereal or the look and feel of an iconic bubbly carbonated fruit drink bottle, the idea of aligning various sensory cues to support a brand or product as detected through bodily sensations gained ground.

The sensory experience of eating & drinking is an important determinant of food and beverage intake control. Sensory cues based on a food’s sight, smell, taste and texture are operational before, during and after eating. The role of visual and odour cues in identifying food in the near environment, guiding food choice and memory for eating, and highlight the ways in which tastes and textures influence meal size and the development of satiety after consumption.

The consumer experience is an essential part of achieving NPD excellence. At KICR Innovation, we take a consumer centric approach to our innovation driven, product development process. We carry out rapid concept ideation and in-kitchen prototyping for any food or beverage NPD project with consumer co-creation, moderated by a sensory expert. This allows consumers to feedback and taste pilot products, commenting on taste, texture, smell, pack and expectations. The prototype recipes or beverage formulation can then be iterated based on real life consumer feedback, to ensure the final pilot prototypes are consumer validated and ready for scale up commercially.

Consumers are changing, it is very difficult to keep and hold people’s attention. Co-creation and consumer feedback, forces us all to push boundaries. There are huge advantages of NPD with consumer co-creation at the local level for instance. Even for well-known global products, a huge proportion of sales depend on adjusting products to suit specific markets. Collaboration with communities, co-creating and adjusting their product recipes or beverage formulation helps brands achieve local product demand & sustain shelf attention. NPD excellence is about being disruptive but also about being relevant to your specific target audiences.

Director of innovation and insight at Mintel, David Jago, said “Smart brands are the ones that will use a series of differentiators which play with sensory values in different ways to keep the brand alive, so the longevity will come from perhaps a series of different stimulations, a series of different sensory appeals over a period of time to maximise brand awareness and keep that brand in the consumer’s eye.”

“There is quite a lot of room for innovation – we are going to continue to see this trend growing. If you think about the ‘visually stimulated’ millennial generation it’s become a much bigger deal and going forward it is going to be even more important.”

Find below 5 brands balancing nutrition with consumer experience.

Mindful Chef prepares fresh, delicious, nutritionist-designed recipes delivered to your doorstep.
Pasta Evangelists deliver fresh, restaurant-quality pasta recipe boxes so you can make gourmet pasta in minutes.
Huel Hot & Savoury is a nutritionally complete food that is high in protein, fibre and essential fats. Additionally, it contains no lactose or any animal products, no soy, and no GMO.
Beyond Meat offers the Beyond Breakfast Sausages. It is an easy-to-cook plan-based patties that are seasoned to perfection and ready to power your day.
Clive's Pie makes a range of pies, tarts and roasts that are 100% vegan and organic. They focused on creating free-from food that tasted incredible. All the pies are dairy free and made using either gluten free or wholemeal pastry.

Why not join one of our KICR Innovation Clinic session to discuss your next challenges & opportunities? Speak to our leading innovation consultants to discuss your product development roadmap.