From the starting blocks to supermarket shelves: Why validation is key to fresh produce NPD

Email Contact our expert Lorraine Fountain, Senior Commercial Manager

In the first of a series of articles around fresh produce NPD, Lorraine Fountain, our New Business Development Manager, shares what it takes to go from concept to creation. And it all starts with validation.

From the starting blocks to supermarket shelves: Why validation is key to fresh produce NPD

Some innovations are light bulb moments. But usually, a new product has gone through a complex process before it meets the consumer on the live market.


The biggest brands in the world all start with a single idea. But the journey from concept to launch can be a challenging one, even for those products that go on to become market-leaders.


So, what is the key to success, particularly in the fresh produce sector? How do you go from the starting blocks to supermarket shelves?


When it comes to building a brand, there are tried and tested processes that can make the difference between fortune and failure. Having secured market leading positions for both Tenderstem® and Pink Lady®, we have the expertise to transform fresh produce brands to household names. Here, we talk you through this journey.


Ideation phase

You’ve got an idea. There’s a gap in the market and you want to fill it. What next?


At Coregeo, we always start with the ideation phase. We get all your ideas on the table and talk them through. We gather data of the category and analyse it, looking at gaps and room for improvement. We ask the challenging questions like ‘if anything was possible, what would you want’? Then we consider how we get you there. We also look at trends and changes in consumer behaviour and try to carve out your USP.


In this phase, you need an ideas funnel through which you can cultivate the ideal product. Of course, not all ideas will be taken forward, but you need to feed the funnel in order to keep your product lines fresh and innovative, whilst also being commercially viable.


Creating a concept


The next step is to determine if your idea is viable and can present a market opportunity. You need to ensure that there is a consumer need for your product, as well as space in the market.


Immerse yourself in market research and do your SWOT and PESTLE analysis. A SWOT analysis will help you to identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats involved in your concept, and enable you to understand what works well, what may be lacking, how you can seize opportunities and minimise risks.


In addition, exploring key external factors that could impact your product, including political, economic, sociological, technological, legal and environmental (PESTLE), will help guide your strategic decision-making.  Both SWOT and PESTLE will help you understand the landscape in which you want to operate.


What you don’t often hear about is the hundreds of ideas that only got as far as the cutting room floor. A key part of the validation phase is knowing when to stop. If an idea isn’t going to work, don’t be afraid of failing forward. Take the learnings from the experience and apply them to your next idea. It’s all about being nimble and trusting the process.


Once your idea has passed this vital step, you can start to consider your proposition and build aims and objectives. What do you want to achieve? What do you stand for as a brand? This is where research becomes invaluable.


Research, research, research


Research underpins every single stage of the NPD process. From market research in the ideation phase, to the SWOTS and PESTELS in the validation phase, you simply cannot do too much research when it comes to establishing a brand.


  • You need to truly understand the market and where your product would sit.
  • You need to get to know your target customer inside out, from their values to purchasing decisions.
  • You need to know what your competitors are doing.
  • Learn about trends and spending habits.
  • Look at the wider societal context.


Gather as much data on the market, the consumer and route to market as possible, analyse it, and learn. And remember, if it doesn’t give you the answers you hoped for, listen and act accordingly. Afterall, these are your target customers talking.


Invest in consumer research. Panels provide invaluable information that shape your future product. They can further validate your ideas, or they can throw up things that you may not have considered. Either way, there is no substitute for consumer research.


Research is key for an innovative breeding process. If you’re interested in finding out more about how to conduct market research, you can talk to our team.


Call in the experts


This process is complex, and you should expect to invest in this part of the NPD journey. Having an experienced marketing partner to guide you along the way is invaluable.


We are the marketing agency behind your favourite fresh produce brands and we can do the same for you. We have been successfully pioneering the commercialisation of fresh produce brands using a unique business model since 1999. Our brand management expertise and experience helps us to grow brands strategically.


To find out how we can take you through the entire process, from ideas screening to product launch, get in touch today.


About Lorraine:


As our New Business Development Manager, Lorraine works with breeders to bring their brand ideas to life. With 35-years commercial experience in the food industry, she has a wealth of knowledge of the fresh and chilled FMCG market and has worked on a range of categories, from cereals and sugars, to prepared fruits, brassicas and fresh lamb and pork.