Food product development is a growth area of activity and employment in many countries. In response to this, the food industry needs more people qualified to work in this highly creative area.
The choice of food and beverage on our supermarket shelves is enormous, with the large supermarket chains and food suppliers developing ever more complex offerings to compete for the multi-million pound market, driven by the widening tastes of consumers, who are looking for convenience, value-for-money and variety.
New product development (NPD) is the term used to describe the complete process of bringing a new product to market. There are two parallel paths involved in the NPD process: one involves the idea generation, design and detail ‘engineering’; the other involves market research and marketing analysis. Companies typically see NPD as the first stage in generating and commercializing new products within the overall strategic process of product life cycle management, used to maintain or grow their market share.
The skills and qualities needed to work in the development are:
-in-depth knowledge of food, ingredients and global cuisines.
-well developed practical skills.
-a passion for food which is brought to bear on the job.
-a desire to research new trends.
-an understanding of the science of food (food chemistry and nutrition).
-up-to-date knowledge of the food retailing market.
-the ability to generate new ideas that work.
The NPD process requires people to work together, across a range of disciplines to ensure that developments are successful, attractive, profitable, safe and within the law.
The working environment will typically be in a large industrial scale ‘kitchen’ but will also be closely linked to the production environment, to ensure small scale trials can be scaled-up successfully and will also involve visits to point-of-sale outlets and transport facilities.