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


  • Ellen H.M. Moors


  • Rogier Donders



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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  • Ellen H.M. Moors & Rogier Donders, 2009. "Understanding consumer needs and preferences in new product development: the case of functional food innovations," Innovation Studies Utrecht (ISU) working paper series 09-03, Utrecht University, Department of Innovation Studies, revised Feb 2009.
  • Handle: RePEc:uis:wpaper:0903

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Abbie Griffin & John R. Hauser, 1993. "The Voice of the Customer," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 12(1), pages 1-27.
    2. Cooper, Robert, 1998. "Benchmarking new product performance:: Results of the best practices study," European Management Journal, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 1-17, February.
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    consumer needs; preferences; new product development; functional foods;

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