|Home > Better communication for successful food technology development: A Delphi study|
Despite developments in technology, design and marketing, many new food products are not successfully commercialised. Communication between key players with different expertise (food technologists, consumers scientists, end consumers, etc.) seems crucial to improve food technology development, respond better to consumer wishes and reduce innovation failures. In this study, preliminary results of a Delphi survey aiming to identify opinions and priorities of various key players regarding the elaboration of an effective communication strategy during food product development are presented. Survey participants were recruited from an ad-hoc online community and personal contacts from different areas of expertise and sectors. Results revealed that disciplinary differences constitute an important barrier to such communication, and these may relate to both theoretical and linguistic differences between communities. Inadequate communication between consumer scientists and food technologists is commonly (but not unanimously) regarded as a barrier to inclusion of consumer science data into product development. The problems include insufficient, ineffective and excessively late engagement and also non-engagement between actors. Some clear gaps between the perceptions of consumer scientists and food technologists exist, for example consumer scientists were more likely to agree that food technologists find it difficult to interpret consumer information, whereas food technologists were more likely to agree that consumer information is not specific enough for them to use. Given those identified barriers, it is important to explicitly recognise inter-disciplinary communication as a success factor in food development projects, with, e.g., the establishment of multi-disciplinary teams, and to improve knowledge and awareness of each other’s subject.