Consumer-driven food product development is an innovative concept which seeks to improve the nutritional value of human food through the understanding of their changing purchasing behavior. It also takes into account the importance of sustainable development through improved nutrition, knowledge management and community nutrition. This concept emphasizes on building a market for customized, good-for-you, and eco-friendly foods that are suitable to individual dietary needs. It aims at addressing nutritional concerns and practices and developing solutions in a cost-effective manner.
Consumer-driven food product development needs to satisfy consumers’ needs and desires to become relevant. Various factors which become relevant in this regard are discussed and their impact is presented, such as globalization, mass-personalization and a shifted perspective of the healthy food concept by consumers themselves. These factors impact different segments of society and different countries. Developing products that become relevant to various segments of the population requires innovation.
Globalization has become a major factor that affects both the quality and the supply of many essential nutrients like iron, vitamins, and protein. Mass-personalization also has a great impact on consumer-driven food product development needs. It has led to the increased preference for organic food products, including food items like dairy products and eggs.
Technological change has also become a relevant factor in the development of products that become relevant to different segments of the population. The impact discussed above points to an increasing preference for organic food items. This segment is represented by low income groups in the society. Consumer-driven food product development needs to take this into account.
There is an increased trend of consumers shifting towards whole foods as they become more price-effective. This is according to the research done by Penn State’s Ag Department. Sustaining the share of sales of more economical food items like whole grains, vegetables, fruits, etc. at higher levels is important to meet the increasing demands of consumers’ needs.
Consumer-driven food product development is also related to the shift of diets in the general population. The need to eat healthy foods is increasingly felt among people, regardless of their income group. Some of these diet programs have been initiated by government bodies like The ministry of health and family care and The National Health Program to bring together all stakeholders in the sector, including private sector, authorities, stakeholders and organizations. The NHP projects focus on improving nutrition and focusing on healthy diets for the entire population.
Consumer-driven product development involves more involvement of consumers themselves in designing and delivering innovative new products. There are many examples of such product development activities in the market today. Smart House is one of such examples that has been designed by a Delhi-based consultancy firm. The company works with consumers who want to design and set up their own homes smartly. In this process, they involve themselves in the design and development of products, which would be useful in maintaining, protecting and managing the quality of their family’s life.
Consumer-driven food product development has also contributed in the development of improved nutrition standards. With the implementation of market strategies like price competition and government support, food retailing organizations have been successful in reducing the cost and lowering the nutritional quality of many common household food products. The NPP projects aim at promoting and maintaining high quality nutrition in the public health system through various programs and policies that include food processing and consumer education.
Consumer food product development can also work towards environment-friendliness and at conserving resources. For example, biodegradable packaging material is becoming increasingly popular due to its eco-friendly nature. Consumer product development can also promote community and economic development in rural areas. The NPP projects aim at improving agricultural productivity and reducing the poverty line among the poor people in the rural areas. These people depend on agriculture for their survival and prosperity. Thus, the NPP helps them improve the living standards and market opportunities for the farmers.
Consumer-driven product development can help in improving the quality of life for all the consumers across the world. It helps in reducing the food consumption and thereby, providing the nutrition required by the body effectively. At the same time, it also ensures the availability of affordable, nutritious and tasty foods for all. Since agriculture accounts for about 80% of the economy, and since it is largely responsible for producing our essential food, there is a great need for NPP in agriculture sector. There are many projects, which are focusing towards agricultural development and consumer-driven development, which have been developed by the government, NPPO and private organizations.
Consumer-driven development in the context of food products involves consumer education, which provides information on nutrition and makes healthy eating habits prevalent among all the consumers. This would definitely help to reduce the weight of the population, which in turn, could lead to significant reduction in the global burden of obesity. Consumer-driven development also encompasses the development of community development and improvement in the living standards of the local people. Such projects aim at ensuring better health, better nutrition and enhanced living standards for all the consumers across the globe.