Last time we spoke, I was telling you all about how there are so many similarities between cooking basics and new product development. Don’t believe me? Go back and read the blog, and I promise you you’ll agree.
I just so happened to be reading another article in the Washington Post Food Section (shocking, I know) that discussed how using a kitchen scale makes baking successful on a regular basis.
That’s it. A scale. That’s all you need to reliably create a delicious product each and every time. No fancy spatulas, no stainless steel KitchenAid mixer (though they are so lovely and helpful in the kitchen). Those things are nice to have, but a scale—that’s clutch.
“The thing that you can’t live without may hinder someone else’s development process and vice versa.”And that got me thinking: What is the quintessential “tool” you require in your new product development? Is it a weekend retreat brainstorming session with your employees? Is it a software program that lets you play around with specs and design? Is it a marathon session in your test kitchen with Frank Sinatra playing in the background? Or maybe it’s none of those things, and something else entirely.
I don’t think there is one tool that applies to everyone. Developing a new product is such a personal journey, and no two people are going to go about it the same way. And that’s just fine! Nor should you. Could you imagine if everyone did? I imagine if everyone had the same processes the CPG industry would be pretty boring, and store shelves would be packed with row upon row of The. Same. Thing. rather than the myriad, diverse offerings we see.
What I’m also curious about are those processes or tools you use to take your new product to the next level. You have the one (or ones) you use to develop it, but then what? What do you need to really make that product sing? Maybe it’s hitting up trade shows and showcasing your product across the country, or across the world. Or perhaps it’s sampling like crazy at your local supermarket chain. Or maybe it’s using RangeMe to get in front of your dream retailer.
The Washington Post article talks about the world of possibilities that opens up to bakers who use a scale—less clean up, more consistent results, streamlined prep—and it’s not hard to see the similarities in your new development process if you sub in the tools that you use. And everyone’s tools and processes are different—you do you, as people say. The thing that you can’t live without may hinder someone else’s development process and vice versa. And that’s what’s absolutely amazing, these different perspectives, creating such a dynamic CPG industry.
So tell us—what are the tools you Absolutely Must use when developing new products?