Meeting challenges, improving methodology and exploring new arenas. The food and drink industry scores low on R&D investments and innovativeness. The main objective of this research project is to stimulate the Norwegian food and drink industries innovativeness.

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01. Jan 2013


31. Dec 2016

Funded by

Agricultural Agreement Research Funds (FJM)

Project Manager(s):

Antje Gonera

This will be done by investigating new innovation methodologies and by implementing and testing out new arenas for open innovation. In addition to develop new and improved innovation techniques and arenas, the project aims at generating an improved understanding of how interaction with consumers can lead to new opportunities, and how challenges, as private labels, are to be met.

The project is structured into three work packages:

WP1: Food Innovation and Consumers

The fact that food is ingested makes consumers more skeptical to new food products than to other new products. Accordingly, a crucial challenge for food development lies in the development of new products that provide meaningful differentiation. For a new food innovation to be perceived as meaningful and different from existing products in the market, the product must offer an extra benefit for the consumer.

To understand consumers perception and acceptance of new products are therefore important and a human centered innovation process is needed. Not only the physical food product but the system or process around the idea of rendering a service to the user (e.g. new business models and sales channels) are to be investigated.

The effect of including design competence into the product development process is another topic of interest. How designers ability to visualize abstract ideas influence consumers ability to respond to novel ideas are to be investigated. How to create social engagement that matters in food development via social media is another interesting question to explore.

WP2: Innovation Methodology and Food

One of the challenges for the food industries innovativeness is the strong product orientation that still exists. Appealing to an undifferentiated mass market is not enough to succeed in todays’ market. The food industry needs to understand individual consumers and the context in which they live to be able to deliver successful new food solutions. Learning is an important aspect of innovation. The “Design Thinking” learning approach, which captures concepts as empathy and insight, and methods as observation and rapid prototyping, is to be further developed, tested out and adopted to meet the needs of the food industry.

Techniques for rapid learning are to be explored. One question to investigate is how accelerating the learning process influences the outcome of the innovation process. How can rapid concept testing and/ or use of prototypes reduce the time to market?

WP3: Innovation Arenas and Food

The fact that the majority of food producers in Norway are SME’s, needs to be taken into consideration. The innovation process of SME’s are driven by clients, suppliers and within-networks or clusters, and need to be perceived differently from the intra-organizational process taking place in large companies.

How to orchestrate these arenas for best outcome for the actors is a research question of high importance.