Change, alteration, revolution, upheaval, transformation, metamorphosis, variations…whatever you call it these tips will keep you on track.

So, how do you innovate? What is the process you take to discover the next big trend?

Here are 5 important best practice tips to help you innovate without investing in new equipment, creating more space on the production lines or jumping into costly new product development (NPD).

“Innovation should be very simple and easy to execute. During this process you must always recognize flavors, tastes, textures, mouthfeel, applications and your target market.” Dan Follese – Chief Culinary Translator, Food Trend Translator

5 Tips for Innovation

Consider all the information that gets blasted at you on a daily basis. Internal memos that sales need to increase, spam mail claiming they can help and then the daily “whats hot email”… sometimes it is a bit too much to handle.

The truth is innovation should be fun, exciting and inspire your team members and make your customers salivate with anticipation for what you bring them next. These 5 tips are not exclusive to each other but what you do with your insights and how you apply them to your target customers makes all the difference.

  1. Discovery is many things and in this instance we are focusing on a specific product you want to go to market with. Perhaps it’s something you already make and when you launched it it was the best product, a real one of a kind but now sales have slowed down. This is an ideal item to focus on as it’s most likely something familiar to many and you already know how to make it.
  2. Spaces are the unlikely places where you can give this product new life. It’s also very important to understand is who your audience is? Defining sectors of business to deliver the most value or even considering your product has the ability to cross over to many day-parts. Often, many products are carriers to flavors, components of a bigger build or simply the flavoring itself and it needs a new format to connect with. Within the “Spaces” is also where you will start paying attention to the next three tips as they will help you solidify your thoughts.
  3. Inspirationthis is where the fun begins as you start to do some targeted innovation at this point. Literally diving into all the ways your product is being used in the market today and learning what the end customer has to say about it. Social listening is something that is gaining more recognition as the popularity of sharing your thoughts to the entire world on Twitter, Yelp or Instagram is the normal thing to do. These are nuggets of gold that you should allow to be apart of the innovation process. Also, one of the most important parts is physically experiencing your product or a like product out in its environment. Actually going out to the restaurants that are using it, and influencing their menus; this will lead you into your next tip.
  4. Ideationnow is the time you open your mind to all the endless possibilities and write them all down. What have you collected while on your visits to taste the inspiration? Was it a sensory element of smells? Was it how the operator displayed the item…perhaps a video on the monitor demonstrating the special sauce being squeezed onto a sandwich or seasonal fresh berries being rinsed and sliced by hand. The biggest question of all was how did it taste? Even with poor customer service the final edible item must taste amazing. Was the flavor element in your product delivering on its promise, did it compliment or overpower the final build?  This is one of those moments where self serving is detrimental to you and your customer. Every idea you come up with must compliment each other and support your customers goals.
  5. Validation, simply put did you create a new application on an existing product that now will enjoy a boost in sales. Today’s biggest growing buying power is the Millennial’s and they love to explore flavors that are inspired by International regions yet are more willing to give it a try when its on a concept that they recognize. Another smart tip is running your new approach through a testing site, there are several out there but the most effective one we have used is the “Omnibus” by Datassential. Low cost, robust insights that are targeted to your specifications.

One last tip… Food Trend Tours

Innovation is an extensive process to put together. Food trend tours actually are the ideal way to discover innovation. At Food Trend Translator we have created a process that will address the 5 tips to a successful innovation, we do all the heavy lifting for you. From soup to nuts the entire process is delivered with fresh new innovations and packaged with extras like a high production video format to use how ever you wish, editable presentations, stories about your discovery process and new culinary inspired creative actionable applications.

If you want to make your innovation simple and successful, let us help.