Functional foods, being one of the major food categories of the global health and wellness market, are becoming a major focus of new product development (NPD) in the food industry. The development of functional foods is more complex than traditional food New Product Development (NPD), calling for a concerted effort from researchers and NPD experts to explore and understand the functional food product development (FFPD) process in more detail. The current research in this field has reported that there is a need to evolve from a traditional NPD approach, towards an integrative and innovative approach involving cooperative networks and techniques of commercialization. However, there is little practical evidence on how much progress has been made to date. Therefore, this research was designed to investigate the food product innovation process of food manufacturing in the Asia-Pacific region (Singapore) with reference to functional foods development. Results report on a comparative account of NPD practices between registered Singapore food companies that are doing some sort of functional food development (Group 1) and those that are not (Group 2). A significant difference (P<0.05) in the aims and mode of NPD between Group 1 and Group was observed. Further it was observed that food companies in Group 1 have significantly (P<0.05) more diverse external collaborations with broad aims to collaborate, in comparison with food companies in Group 2. This is a positive step toward developing an external resource base, which is essential in developing functional foods. This attitude should be encouraged in future innovation polices as being critical to value-added food product innovations in Singapore. Apart from these differences, food companies are still pursuing a traditional NPD approach (independent and closed NPD); with loose Intellectual Property protection practices irrespective of type of innovation activity. There is a need to create awareness among the stakeholders about the factors needed for developing unique and inimitable resources, and dynamic capabilities in food manufacturing.
- Traditional NPD process characteristics
- Functional food product development challenges
- Food product innovations