Stage 1 Product development strategy

In mid-1997 it was decided to look for a new sauce product to modernise the brand and open a new platform. At the time, the company had two basic tomato-based sauces with wide sales and a commanding market share, and some hot meal sauces packed in cans. There was nothing on offer in a more up-market, adventurous, range. Brainstorming produced the creative idea from which was born a concept and an advertising campaign; the product was then developed to fit the concept. So a brief emerged for a 'modern, quirky, fun sauce, of premium quality flavours to enhance experience and add some spice to life.' It could be benchmarked to potential competitors, and targeted to enter a smaller, highly fragmented market which at the time in New Zealand displayed 300 separate products from 31 brands. A different product was needed; more up-beat and upmarket with several variants and designed to fit the concept. Six flavours were started, and the original six, with some slightly altered benchmarks, were what finished as market products. For a company that had built its reputation on dependable quality, everyday, best-value, products, it was a major marketing

Case studies: product development in the food system 341 Table 7.5 Activities in sauce PD Process

Product brief: 7 July 1997

Product strategy - inception of initial concept - preliminary product development work and planning - formulation of product development brief and project plan. Decision: Acceptance to proceed as a Project by Product Manager

Product design: 9 July 1997 to 1 October 1997

Product design and process development - preliminary surveys and ball park costings -recipe formation, assessment and refinement - laboratory and ingredient and engineering assessment and experimentation - preliminary packaging - label information - cooking procedures - quality assessment and control procedures - to a full product and process specification.

Decision: Assessment and approval of plant related expenditures and project continuation.

Factory trials: 25 September 1997 Finished product assessment: 29 September 1997 Product commercialisation - factory trials - feedback and attention to shortcomings and problems - trial samples prepared and checked - factory operational planning -marketing planning - sales forecasts - final costings.

Decision: Acceptance of formal specifications and Approval to proceed to launch, by Senior Management.

Production: Started 22, 23, 24 October 1997 Launch approval: 22 October 1997 Launch: November 1997

Product launch and evaluation - factory production - presentation to sales and trade -marketing of products.

Review and continuation - feedback from sales, marketing, retailers - review of lines -withdrawal of less successful items and planning of additional items on the platform -further development and launches.

excursion. It was also a substantial challenge to their traditional formulation and packaging patterns though it seemed it would not present too many new problems in production. The brief therefore demanded an unusual product, justified unusual packaging, and cried out for an unusual brand name. It was a new platform in an extended environment.

The brief was assigned to a product manager from the marketing group, and presented to a product development team on 7 July 1997. The required time scale was very short, four months.

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