Behind the scenes: the product development process

Behind the scenes: the product development process

Article

“Puratos is a reliable partner in innovation for its clients. We create applications to help our customers make a difference. That's where our value lies," says Luc-Dominique Guillaume, application manager for large accounts. He illustrates how the product development process at Puratos works when starting from a specific consumer trend, like meal mobility. 

Addressing the needs of the shopper and the consumer
"When developing new products, we start by identifying opportunities in the market. This can be an observation from a customer seeking help with a certain issue, but can also come from a trend we spotted, such as the trend of increasing meal mobility."

"When we talk about 'the market', we make a distinction between the shopper and the consumer," Luc-Dominique explains. The shopper and the consumer are not necessarily the same person. For example, the parent can be the shopper, but the consumer would be a child. The interests of those two groups can be quite different. For example, the shopper will be concerned with the nutritional value and price of the product, while the child will mostly care about whether the product is tasty or easy to take with them. When developing a product, it is important to cater to the desires of both groups."

Identifying product features
"When developing a product based on a general consumer trend, a number of issues are important. First off, we identify all the product features associated with the trend for which we want to develop a product or spin-off. This can be the general appearance of the product, the portion size, the taste and texture, the visual attractiveness in store, the nutritional value, packaging, portability, shelf life and storage options."  

"Then, based on the product features, we decide what the most important inherent and desired benefits of the product are. These are the most characteristic product features, which are emphasized during the developmental process. These will be the aspects where both the product and thus the customer will be able to differentiate from other providers. And lastly, to develop a full-fledged product, we look at the different elements the product contains. For example, cakes are made up out of a base, filling and decoration. Those components have to come together and compliment each other to make a good product. The whole is more than just the sum of its parts."

At the heart of concept creation
Luc-Dominique explains: "Allow me to illustrate, using meal mobility as an example. For inspiration, we look at the concepts of meal mobility that Puratos' product experts have spotted around the world. We also show our customer meal mobility concepts that we have developed in-house before, such as American sweet goods, the éclair concept, Cakes of the World, or Puravita breakfasts, and so on. Our customer indicates their desired developmental direction, and then we develop the product further, with the consumers and shoppers needs in mind."

"When developing a new product, Puratos offers numerous supportive services:
Innovation Centers: where together with our customer and technical advisors, we develop new recipes.
Nutrition services: where we create recipes with specific nutritional values, supported by a team of nutritionists.
R&D services: when adjustments need to be made on an ingredient level, Puratos can facilitate this with its R&D teams. Puratos is specialised in the - custom - optimisation of nutritional value, flavour and texture of ingredients.
Industrial Bakery & Patisserie Competence Centers: where our customers receive advice about the industrial production process. Which machines and production lines are available and what are the pros and cons of different production methods?
Center for Bread Flavour: at this unique centre, we help our customers create breads with taste beyond imagination by sharing our knowledge of fermentation technology and flavour formation in bread.
Marketing Services: local industry experts give advice about category management and product claims on packaging."

Validation & production
After the new products or recipes have been developed, they go through the concept testing phase. Sometimes we make use of the Sensobus, our mobile sensory lab on wheels. The Sensobus offers the opportunity to have consumers evaluate several versions of a new product on site. The results will then be taken into consideration during further development, the fine-tuning and our customer’s final choice.

"Then, the only question that remains is how the product will be made. We work with our customer to find a way to realise the (industrial) production. At our application centers, we can test the production on machines, and our R&D specialists can advise our customers how to optimise the various production elements. If desired, we can put our customers in touch with factories that make specialised machinery, to develop or make adjustments to a production line. Everything is done with one ultimate goal in mind: a custom developed product that is based on consumer and shopper needs and market opportunity, that is scalable and implementable, and that will give our customer a competitive advantage." 

Featured