Department of Management

A framework for analysing innovation in the food sector

Research output: Working paperResearch


  • Wp38

    Final published version, 177 KB, PDF document

  • Klaus G. Grunert
  • Hanne Harmsen, Denmark
  • Matthias Meulenberg, Denmark
  • Erno Kuiper, Denmark
  • Tom Ottowitz, Denmark
  • Francis Declerck, Denmark
  • Department of Marketing and Statistics
  • MAPP - Centre for Research on Customer Relations in the Food Sector
Executive summary 1. There are two major views on innovation. In one view, innovation is closely linked to technological change and to research and development (R&D) activities; a view prevailing in industrial economics literature. In the other view, mainly taken in marketing literature, innovation is regarded as the detection and fulfilment of unfilled needs and wants of potential customers, presupposing a market orientation of the innovative company. In the food sector, the interaction of R& market orientation can be expected to be a major determinant of innovation and innovativeness. 2. A product innovation is defined as something which is new to the consumer, the distributor, and/or the producer. It can be caused by any changes in the marketing parameters. A process innovation is defined as investments enabling product innovations. Innovations can be more or less successful, as measured by market acceptance of fulfilment of company goals. Companies can differ in their degree of innovativeness, depending on the number and success of their innovations. 3. There is no clear-cut evidence on the relationship between the extent of R&D activities and business performance, neither in general nor in the food industry. There is some empirical evidence that a higher degree of market orientation leads to improved business performance, although this has not been demonstrated for the food industry. 4. The innovation process of a company is affected by the way in which the company is embedded in networks, clusters, and chains. Companies within an industry also exhibit certain patterns of innovative activities over time. 5. The size of the company may have an impact on its innovativeness, but the relationships is not clear, arguments being raised for a higher degree of innovativeness of both small and large companies. In the food sector, however, there may be reason to believe that small companies are better in invention and development, whereas larger companies have advantage market introduction and diffusion. 6. Vertical co-operation may improve innovativeness in three ways: downstream vertical co-operation can facilitate the generation of market intelligence, upstream vertical co-operation may facilitate the acquisition of production competences necessary for innovation, and the communicational requirements of vertical co-operation may facilitate market responsiveness. 7. Research on the determinants of success at the project level has identified three groups of factors: the existence of a clearly defined new product development strategy, market focus in the product development process, and the organisation of the product development process, especially a certain degree of formalisation.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherAarhus School of Business, MAPP Centre
Publication statusPublished - 1995

    Research areas

  • HHÅ forskning, Fødevareindustri, Innovation, Forskning og udvikling, MAPP

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