alexa Innovation of a new product category — functional foods


Journal of Food: Microbiology, Safety & Hygiene

Author(s): Cecilia MarkHerbert

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In this paper the development process is studied in longitudinal case studies where a radically new product group, functional foods, is developed. Studied in a creative management perspective, these high-tech food products are associated with added value for the food business as well as for individuals and society at large. In the past decades Swedish food companies have faced increasing competition. With increased competitive pressures, low prices and large volumes may not suffice as strategic advantage in the long-term. One way of gaining competitive advantages requires finding new ways of creating added value based on technological development. It represents a technological upgrading process that leads to the production of value added products, profits from licensing agreements and a boost for the company image. Businesses that want to succeed in this market need to develop new managerial methods, in particular for the identification of critical technologies. Strategies for accessing these new technologies may vary depending on the institutional conditions. It may, for instance, imply cross industrial cooperation. Where the pharmaceutical industry has an advantage, in a strong R&D tradition, the food industry seems to have a need. In Sweden, for example, collaboration between authorities and businesses in developing a legal framework for these products has promoted industrial engagement. The government has not, however, subsidized these developments as has been done in Finland and Japan, where huge funds are shared between universities and industrial partners — in an agreement of creating added value. This raises the question of strategic partners and ‘open source development’. Is it an option, given European institutional conditions?

This article was published in Technovation and referenced in Journal of Food: Microbiology, Safety & Hygiene

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