beverages

Packaging Innovation and Route to Market in Beverages

Does introducing a new beverage product really start with route to market? Not necessarily.

We must start by understanding product development in trends, packaging and pricing. Once these aspects are understood, we can move into product development. If we have our idea and we’ve vetted it, then moving into route to market will help us confirm packaging and pricing development and where we’ll be selling our products. This will include our specific channels and strategies as well as geographic objectives.

Does route-to-market have everything to do with the initial stages of beverage innovation and research and development? How will we package, are we shelf stable or are we refrigerated? These factors drive our merchandising within the store and how we might sell a beverage on-line.  ‘The message is clear. If you are a brand aiming to attract consumers to your healthy beverages, be sure your packaging and processing line up with your ingredient list. And be sure to tell your fresh and clean story effectively on your packaging,’[1] says Linda Gilbert, chief executive officer, EcoFocus Worldwide L.L.C.

Innovation is happening in a variety of areas and in multiple categories across the beverage universe. The importance of understanding our route to market is critical in beverage development because as R&D leads in today’s environment, we must understand how our products are going to be packaged, sold, and merchandised within the store. There are a lot of products being developed today to meet changing consumer needs that are plentiful with functional ingredients, are short in shelf life (fresher), and need to be merchandised with other similar products. As we develop new beverages, we must understand our available package options, our co-packer strengths and their availability, our shelf life, and where we will be merchandised. As we consider those products which are ‘fresher’ and ‘functional’ in nature, the supply chain becomes so much more critical. While there is still a wide array of options for development in shelf stable products using hot fill processing as an example, we need to be very clear in our objectives.

As R&D specialists, it becomes necessary to put our ‘marketing’ hats on and think about the competition—evaluate the competition. We should review packaging, messaging, cost of goods including manufacturing, price points, and most importantly our differentiation, and then move into our channel strategy and merchandising opportunities. 

In the past, we’ve been guilty as organisations in working in silos. R&D, Marketing, and Sales don’t really speak to each other; we have products developed that may not consider all aspects of the launch and ultimately are set-up for failure.

Debbie Wildrick will be speaking at Vitafoods Europe 2018 about what it means to link all aspects of our stakeholders and organisations to ensure success in the route to market for beverage success. View the full programme and register to attend Vitafoods Europe 2018 here.

[1] Foodbusinessnews.net, Beverage Trends 2017

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