Sunday, February 22, 2009

Invention vs Innovation

In the food research business we talk a lot about innovation when what I think we mean is invention. The definition that I like that distinguishes between these two is:

Invention is the product of a creative or curious mind. Innovation is something that changes the life of the customer in some way, or the world in which the customer experiences things. That’s an innovation.

Arno Penzias – joint winner of the Nobel prize in physics, 1978

So invention is the product of a curious or creative mind, which describes the products of universities and research institutes but innovation requires that the invention changes the lives of customers.

If it's not innovative unless it is commercialised and if we take the rule of thumb that 90% of the cost of getting a product to market is in the commercialisation process (rather than the R&D process - invention?) then we need to spend more time and effort making our inventions easier to commercialise.

Do we need to think more about the commercialisation process before we set out to invent something or would this stifle invention?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

One month since publicaion

The book has been out for about a month now and seems to be selling well, at least for a book that is very specialised. We have had one published review which liked the book and recommended it for anyone involved in the fruit business.

A few companies have bought licences which is petty cool.

I have been working with a juice company that wants to create a functional juice, so I'm getting a chance to put some of the ideas in the book into action. If everything works well, they will create a new product category in the juice market and show that it is possible to create a superfruit that is not based on something wild and exciting, but that can still wear the superfruit tag.

It would be great to get a debate going on the Six Elements - do people agree with these? Do they make sense? Or do readers think that there is another definition of a superfruit?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The book is finished!

After 18 months and endless meetings and rewrites the book is finished - and it looks great! It has ended up being 280 pages with lots of charts, tables and pictures. It seems hard to believe when we started out writing that it would ever get done, and that, in fact I was even writing a book.

The publication date is June 9 and I'm looking forward to seeing what it looks like and hopefully seeing some sales. I'm pretty happy with the content, I think it covers the superfruit market really well and explores the marketing implications of superfruit. You can have a look at the book at the New Nutrition website.

Next step is to put the findings from the book into practice.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Are superfruit marketing or science based products?

You know, it's kind of weird because you get people arguing from both sides, generally disparagingly about the other position and equally passionate that the have the right answer.

On one side, there are people who say this is all marketing hype with no substance and so you shouldn't buy a superfruit product ( If you do some digging you will find that most superfruits have at least some science support, and for the most well known like cranberry or pomegranate very solid scientific support of specific health benefits.

On the other side, some try to define something as a superfruit because it has a high antioxidant level or some other type of science support. This position ignores the fact that lots of fruit have high levels of antioxidants, but they are not all superfruits.

My position combines both of these positions - you have to have science, but more than that you have to have very effective marketing and if I had to choose, I would choose marketing over science. Marketing will get you science (by making sales you can fund science) but science by itself will never be enough.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Ok, so I started a blog, what now

This seemed like a good idea, start a blog about something you know about and that maybe people will be interested in and see what happens. I am in the final stages of writing the Superfruit book, maybe a blog would be a good place to start a discussion about superfruit.

It's not for everyone, I get that. Not everyone will be interested in superfruit and it's a kind of technical and marketing thing.

So, I've done it and now I'm not quite sure where to go next - any ideas?

One new thing is that there are now six elements of superfruit success (nice alliteration I thought). For a while now, Julian (my co-author) and I have been debating whether novelty was another factor. We even wrote a section explaining why novelty is not an additional factor - then we realised that if we could write a whole section on why not, then it probably was.

So, novelty. We think of it in three ways:

1. The way you probably think about it - it's a new, exotic fruit you have never heard of, probably from some country you never thought of visiting, used for hundreds of years by people who live to 120 - maybe not, but you get the idea. Things like acai, goji and mangosteen (go on Google them), but there are other ways to think about novelty.

2. New format - it's been around for ages but now it is a drink, or a bar, or maybe a capsule. Watermelon juice - hey watermelon, nothing new about that but have you ever drunk it as a juice (except when it's dribbling down your chin)?

3. New market - cranberries have been served on turkey in the US almost since the founding fathers, but virtually unknown in Australia where Ocean Spray is having a good time selling a product that has been on the market in the US since 1959.

So now there are six, and at least it allows my series of 's's

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Superfruit Definition

A superfruit is a fruit product (fresh fruit, beverage, ingredient) who's sales have grown by more than 5% in the last year and has the following characteristics:

1. Sensory - it has to taste good, look good and be novel

2. Convenient - it has to be convenient-beverages are great, fresh fruit has a problem unless it is a berry

3. Health - it has to have a specific, relevant and understandable health benefit

4. Control of supply - no point in spending money on developing a superfruit if everyone else can jump on the bandwagon

5. Marketing - it's all for nothing if you don't market your superfruit