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News and Notes from the Innovation Center to the Production Floor and Beyond

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How Pilot Facilities Help Accelerate Speed to Market

  • By Frank Cavallaro
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Today "the average grocery store carries roughly 50 times as many products as 80 years ago" ...spread across more, and smaller brands, noted the Wall Street Journal in 2016. That makes new product development and speed to market more important than ever to take advantage of consumer trends. It also explains why our brand and private label partners are outsourcing their R&D to our LiDestri Innovation Center in Rochester, NY.

Using speed to market is particularly effective for companies that are behind the curve in innovation; it can help them create differentiation in a saturated category, Food Engineering noted in an article discussing our strategies for successful new product development at our Innovation Center. And in truth, we’ve never been busier as our partners schedule time to collaborate with our team members in pursuit of new product development as a pathway to growth.

Our customers understand that today's label-reading food and beverage shoppers are less brand-loyal, more discerning and just plain fickle than ever before. They want variety, value and, increasingly demand healthier formulations of all manner of products, both new and old alike.

In fact, more than 20 percent of consumers are searching for "options that are new and truly different," according to market research firm IRI’s 2016 New Product Survey, and another 24 percent are looking to "add excitement to their daily diet."

Many of the new foods and beverages that pop up weekly wherever groceries are sold also capitalize on the strong consumer demand for nutritious products documented by think tanks such as Mintel.

The more quickly our partners can match their products to consumer needs, the better their chances are to grab and hold market share, which is why LiDestri’s unique pilot line has been embraced by our partners. It offers them a competitive advantage that most contract manufacturers and third party development houses don’t have, and they appreciate how it saves them time and money on research and development costs.

Having our Innovation Center allows us to quickly and accurately pinpoint optimal formulations for large-scale production. Most R&D facilities have two types of testing: on the bench top or stovetop, and full-scale runs of the product. But our pilot room line bridges that gap, allowing our brand and private label partners to do small runs of their formulas with the processing, and in the type of packaging, they have selected – or in a variety of packaging if they have not yet chosen one.

This allows them a true understanding of how those stovetop formulations translate to industrial processing and packaging, which isn’t always predictable. If our partners need to fine tune or otherwise alter the formulations, they can do it much faster, without having hundreds of cases of product with a discontinued formulation to worry about.

Often times, our customers are trying to hit a window of opportunity, whether that be a hot new flavor or whether they’re developing products for a certain season of the year. LiDestri Food and Drink is experienced at speeding these new products to market and our pilot line is one of the important catalysts for making it happen—not only quickly but also with high quality and consistency.

  • Frank Cavallaro

    About the author

    Frank Cavallaro
    Vice President of New Business Development & HPP

    Frank Cavallaro oversees product development, regulatory compliance and product data management for the entire portfolio.