Outcomes

Increased cooperation between food scientists, food industry, retailers and caterers could lead to a higher degree of innovativeness across the food supply chain, enabling food science and industry to convert research findings into products that reflect changing consumer demands, thus offering consumers a positive and trustful experience.

The outcomes of RECAPT are divided into the following work areas:

1. Collaborative Food Innovation Forum

The main objective of RECAPT was to create a platform for effective dialogue and collaboration between the food chain actors as a basis for delivering innovative, novel or improved products and services to support the competitiveness of the European food and drink industry, in line with European consumers’ needs and expectations for healthy, quality, safe, affordable, convenient, environmentally-sensitive and ethical products. To this end, a Collaborative Food Innovation Forum (hereafter CFIF) was established. Among the members of the CFIF were technology providers, food retailers, caterers, food manufacturers and industry bodies.

Several discussion papers have arisen from the workshops held over the course of the project.

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 2. Consumers and Innovation

A strong market orientation and integration of consumers in the product development process are essential for successful innovation policy in the food market. Early identification of consumer acceptability of new technologies and of the forms in which these technologies can be delivered to the end-consumer is of prime importance. Consumer acceptance develops on the basis of (current and emerging) consumer needs, which may make technologies more or less appealing.

The objective of this work area has been to analyse factors that determine consumer acceptance of new technological processes and products in the food and drink sector, and the role that the retail and catering sectors play therein: a) Provide scientifically substantiated evidence on the acceptance of new technologies by consumers and b) Provide scientifically substantiated strategic options on the impact of the retail sector on (selective) adoption of food and drink innovations.

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 3. Promising Novel Technologies

The objective of this work area has been to identify promising novel processing technologies that can be used to produce innovative food products, but where consumer and retailer acceptance could be an issue. Aspects of sustainability (economic, ecological and social aspects) embodied on the new products will be considered.

RECAPT has identified 15 novel food processing technologies that have the potential to lead to value-added food products and services in Europe. They were discussed in-depth with the CFIF at the First Collaborative Food Innovation Forum workshop on challenges facing the European food and drink industry (October 2012, Paris).

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 4. Retailers, Caterers and Innovation

There has been relatively little recent research on the buying and assortment decision-making processes of retailers and, in particular, caterers. Not surprisingly, given this state of affairs, there is also very little existing research into the impact of novel food technologies on these assortment decision processes. Hence, it has been necessary to supplement the literature review with new primary research to establish what the current assortment decision-making processes of retailers and caterers are and how they react to novel food technologies.

This work area has aimed at analysing how retailers and caterers make decisions to (1) include new food products (particularly products based on novel technologies), offered to them by suppliers, in their assortments and (2) become actively involved in new product development processes. The following issues were looked at in detail: 

a) What organizational, structural, strategic and competitive factors influence the assortment decision-making processes of retailers and caterers, and how are these processes affected by interactions with consumers on the one hand and industry on the other?

b) What concerns do retailers and caterers have with regard to novel technologies in food products?

c) Can additional information about the potential benefits and pitfalls of novel technologies help to facilitate retailers’ and caterers’ decision-making processes?

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 5. Collaborative Innovation Management

Innovation is an essential asset for differentiation and the creation of a sustainable competitive advantage. It is also of vital importance for firms in the food and beverage industry in order to survive cost cutting and rationalizations. An important challenge food manufacturers face when developing new products based on novel technologies is a strong focus on price by retailers and caterers. This narrow focus on price and profit margins often results in favouring incremental innovations, as those can be developed faster and are believed to be less costly to develop. As a consequence, many companies in the food and beverage sector are now suffering from overloaded portfolios of incremental innovations, while radical innovations based on new technologies receive much less attention.

It has been the aim of this work area to identify best practice models for managing innovation in collaborative interactions between food manufacturers and retailers/caterers with a particular focus on open innovation and co-development.

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