Tag Archives: product development

New Products for Snacks and More

It seems as if there is a proliferation of new food products hitting the market this spring. In just one week recently we found a number of new food products from Pillsbury, Kind, and Target. What’s going on? Are consumers hungrier than usual, or are they just hungry for change?

Well, it’s a little of both. Yes, consumers are hungry, but we are now at the one-year point in the Covid-19 pandemic and consumers have also made changes to their eating, cooking, and shopping habits. We eat out less and snack more.

In Target’s case, it is launching a new grocery brand named “Favorite Day” with more than 700 snacks and treats that are focused on consumers who want to indulge. The new line includes cookies, trail mix, ice cream, snacks, beverage mixers, frozen desserts, and more. Target’s research indicates that customers want to treat themselves as they juggle hectic schedules and stress. (The new Favorite Day private-label store brand replaces Archer Farms and Simply Balanced which generated more than $2 billion in sales last year.)

Pillsbury is launching its first-ever ready-to-eat cookies, after years of successfully selling frozen cookie dough. Why the switch to pre-made? Pillsbury’s research shows that consumers are tired of constantly cooking and cleaning and are looking for convenience and shortcuts in the kitchen. Pre-pandemic, the pre-made cookie category was only a single-digit growth market. But now the category has grown in sales by roughly 12% in the past year.

In Kind’s situation, the company has a new frozen smoothie bowl for breakfasts. Smoothie bowels have spiked in popularity, including new kitchen appliances focused on smoothies. And, when a year ago consumers might have eaten a breakfast at a restaurant, there has been a sharp decline in eating breakfast out and instead consumers have turned to granola, cereal, eggs, bagels, fruit, and pancakes. According to research company IRI, frozen breakfast foods increased by 7% last year to $3.7 billion.

Try them out. Will they make it into your regular shopping rotation?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. This is a great example of introducing new products.
  2. Show Target’s new products: https://www.target.com/b/favorite-day/-/N-q643lewlzpu?lnk=snav_rd_favorite_day
  3. Show Pillsbury’s new cookies: https://www.pillsbury.com/products/already-baked-snacks/soft-baked-cookies/soft-baked-butterscotch-chocolate-chip-cookies
  4. View Kind snacks: https://www.kindsnacks.com/
  5. Discuss the steps of the product innovation process.
  6. Discuss the importance of environmental scanning. What are some of the factors that have led these companies to introduce new products?
  7. Finally, use these examples to discuss the various stages of the product life cycle. What are the marketing objectives in each stage?

Source: AdWeek; CNN News; Minneapolis Star Tribune; other news sources.

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New “PJ Suit” for Working From Home

What are you wearing? Hmmm…that is rather a provocative question, and we’re not sure you should ask your co-workers. But, in these days of work-from-home attire, people around the world have been impacted and have adopted new types of ‘business’ attire. Some wear sweats, some wear suits, some wear pajamas, and then there are a unique set of people who want the combination of BOTH business and sweats.

Enter: the WFH Jammies, designed by Japanese firm Whatever.

The concept began with the recognition that Zoom calls and virtual meetings require workers to dress up for the video, but the rest of the day they wanted the comfort of pajamas. WFH Jammies is a unisex suite of a shirt-and-sweat combination that comes in white, pink, and polka-dot. It’s not the only solution; Aoki’s Pajamas suit is in a flexible knit fabric that looks dignified enough to stand-in for a suit jacket and turtleneck, and doesn’t wrinkle from your afternoon nap. Other fashion brands are following suit with their own comfy-but-formal-enough attire.

Wear these PJs and give a presentation online right after you get up, take a nap in comfort at lunch time, and still look professional for the evening Zoom wrap-up meeting.

So… what are you wearing?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss new product development. What are the steps that go into developing a new product or service?
  2. What are key considerations?
  3. Show the WFJ Jammies on Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/197719879/wfh-jammies
  4. WFH Jammies page: https://whatever.co/work/wfh-jammies/
  5. Show Whatever’s website: https://whatever.co/
  6. Video: https://youtu.be/ishqJgmy4Ao
  7. Divide students into teams. Have each team list other work-from-home problems that need new solutions.

Source: Wall Street Journal

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CES and New Products to Fight COVID-19

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is one of the largest and most influential showcases in the United States for introducing innovative products from around the globe. This year’s CES show looked a little different though. Due to the pandemic and travel restrictions, CES was held virtually in an all-digital format. Still, it included more than 300 speakers, 150 countries, 700 start-ups, and thousands of new products from around the globe. A diverse group of companies included the latest innovations in manufacturing, transportation, entertainment, robotics, automotive, consumer goods, and more.

This year CES hosted 150,000 digital attendees who viewed products from thousands of different exhibitors in categories such as 3D printing, gaming, robotics, sports, drones, fitness, health and wellness, retailing, wearables, and a variety of other product groupings. CES regularly helps to launch thousands of new products, including many that we all know and use today.

Of course, given the times we live in, a big draw this year was for products and services that could help us cope with COVID-19. The show also provided looks at products in the marketplace as well as products-yet-to-be-launched in categories including:

  • Artificial intelligence
  • 5G and mobile connectivity
  • Food and CPG companies
  • Health care technology
  • Smart cities
  • Home sensors and technology
  • Travel and tourism
  • Transportation and vehicle technology
  • And of course, lots of robots!

What’s your favorite innovation from CES?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the purpose of CES show and how innovation fits into it.
  2. Also discuss the use of trade shows and exhibits as part of a marketing plan.
  3. Show a summary video about COVID-19 products at CES from the Wall Street Journal: https://www.wsj.com/video/series/joanna-stern-personal-technology/ces-2021-smart-masks-smart-air-purifiers-and-more-covid-fighting-gadgets/5BED1C45-A45E-4CDA-9E4B-DC1195F807ED?mod=djem10point
  4. Additional summary videos can be found on YouTube, such as: https://youtu.be/ouiPPIH1uXc
  5. View the CES Web site: https://digital.ces.tech/home
  6. Divide students into teams. Have each team select a product featured at CES.
  7. Instruct students to research the products online, and define a target market for the product?
  8. Which ones do they think will be winners in the marketplace? What products miss the mark?

Source:  C/NET; TechRadar.com; Wall Street Journal; other news sources

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