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P. 6-9 /

Flops analysis:a useful tool for future innovations (part 1)


*Corresponding author
1. Köster Consultancy, Wildforsterweg 4 A, Putten, 3881NJ, The Netherlands
2. Sensory Market Opportunities, Doornseweg 28 B, Leusden, 3832RM, The Netherlands


This paper sketches a procedure to reduce the failure rate of new food products in the market by providing better pre-launch decision criteria. The method also offers considerable potential for the improvement of internal collaboration between the different departments (marketing, R&D and production) involved in new product development. The procedure is based on a thorough diagnostic analysis of previous flops by a team of people involved in the development of the failed product, led by an impartial expert. This first part discusses the diagnostic questions to be asked and the most frequent causes of flops.


In the food industry, unlike in other industries, between 80 and 90 percent of all new products are flops. They are taken out of the market within one year after their introduction and in some cases even within three months. The loss to the company that launched them is often considerable. This loss includes the time and money spent on the development of the product itself and of its packaging, on market research, on advertising and on distribution and sales efforts. It may in some cases also harm the brand.
How do industries deal with flops? Some try to simply forget them as quickly as possible. Success has many fathers and mothers, but flops are orphans, foundlings, whose parents pretend never to have known them. In other cases, after a lot of finger pointing in all directions, the supposed culprits, who are held responsible for developing the product, are replaced. A new team then starts to prepare the next flop. Nothing has been learned.
Flop analysis is based on a very different approach. It tries to make flops profitable for future developments or even in some cases for re-launches of a renewed version of the product. F ...

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