An Onslaught of Truly New Products?

Get ready for an onslaught of truly new products – not safe line extensions or just “cleaned-up” products – from your product development team as well as the R&D departments of your competitors. That’s how I begin our May cover story, Food Processing’s 42nd annual R&D Survey.

OK, the voting may not foretell an onslaught, but the 48 percent of you who voted truly new products as you top priority for 2013 was up 8 percentage points from last year -- and was the highest number for that subject since our 2010 survey. I consider it one more indication that the nasty recession is behind us and food companies are ready to resume aggressive growth.

A distant second in voting was existing product improvement (18 percent), followed by cost control (13 percent), “cleaning up” current products (10 percent) and product line extensions – normally a high vote-getter – at only 8.6 percent.

Maybe the most impressive number is the total votes. This year, we had 514 responses to the survey, quite an increase over last year’s 409 responses, and possibly the highest number ever – up to 2006, we asked company spokespeople to provide the data for their product development department. This survey was taken via a web poll during March.