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Understanding consumer needs and preferences in new product development: the case of functional food innovations

Listed author(s):
  • Ellen H.M. Moors


  • Rogier Donders


Registered author(s):

    As the majority of new products fail it is important to focus on the needs and preferences of the consumers in new product development. Consumers are increasingly recognised as important co-developers of innovations, often developing new functions for technologies, solving unforeseen problems and demanding innovative solutions. The central research question of the paper is: How to understand consumer needs and preferences in the context of new product development in order to improve the success of emerging innovations, such as functional foods. Important variables appear to be domestication, trust and distance, intermediate agents, user representations and the consumer- and product specific characteristics. Using survey and focus group data, we find that consumers need and prefer easy-to-use new products, transparent and accessible information supply by the producer, independent control of efficacy and safety, and introduction of a quality symbol for functional foods. Intermediate agents are not important in information diffusion. Producers should concentrate on consumers with specific needs, like athletes, women, obese persons, and stressed people. This will support developing products in line with the needs and mode of living of the users.

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    File Function: Version February 2009
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    Paper provided by Utrecht University, Department of Innovation Studies in its series Innovation Studies Utrecht (ISU) working paper series with number 09-03.

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    Date of creation: Feb 2009
    Date of revision: Feb 2009
    Handle: RePEc:uis:wpaper:0903
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    1. Cooper, Robert, 1998. "Benchmarking new product performance:: Results of the best practices study," European Management Journal, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 1-17, February.
    2. Abbie Griffin & John R. Hauser, 1993. "The Voice of the Customer," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 12(1), pages 1-27.
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