New Product Development in Small Food Enterprises
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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate how small businesses may deploy a formalised Stage-Gate approach to new product development (NPD). The original Stage-Gate framework was modified to better suit a small business B2B environment in the seafood industry, and was subsequently applied to a small vertically-integrated crab catching, processing and marketing business.Design/methodology/approach – This paper uses a case study methodology. The method used at each stage of the Stage-Gate framework, as well as the time and location details, the people and skills involved, and the evaluative criteria applied for NPD are outlined and discussed; and subsequently synthesized in a modified framework.Findings – The modified Stage-Gate approach was shown to be an effective NPD method, allowing for 92 initial product concepts to be narrowed down to three commercially viable and acceptable products, over a period of less than 11 months. Cost and time were minimised by the four-day ideation process. Furthermore, repeated evaluation of the sensory and market acceptability resulted in strengthened confidence in market attractiveness, while ensuring that appearance, portion size and packaging were based on expert market opinion. Moreover, this approach was successfully completed at less than 25% of the cost of the previous unsuccessful NPD undertaken by the firm.Originality/value – This study advances our understanding of how small businesses may use a formal NPD process to increase the success rate of new products, through development of a modified Stage-Gate approach.
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