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Journal cover: British Food Journal

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Online from: 1899

Subject Area: Industry and Public Sector Management

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Innovation drivers and barriers in food processing

Document Information:
Title:Innovation drivers and barriers in food processing
Author(s):Frances T.J.M. Fortuin, (Food Valley, Wageningen, The Netherlands), S.W.F. (Onno) Omta, (Department of Business Administration, Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands)
Citation:Frances T.J.M. Fortuin, S.W.F. (Onno) Omta, (2009) "Innovation drivers and barriers in food processing", British Food Journal, Vol. 111 Iss: 8, pp.839 - 851
Keywords:Customer orientation, Food industry, Innovation, The Netherlands
Article type:Research paper
DOI:10.1108/00070700910980955 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Acknowledgements:The authors thank Matheus de Barros Moura for conducting the interviews. The authors are also grateful to the anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments.

Purpose – The food processing industry, confronted with increased global competition and more stringent customer demands, is pressurized to improve the pace and quality of its innovation processes. This paper aims to find out what factors constitute the main drivers and barriers to innovation and to explore how far the food processing industry can rely on the principles of innovation management developed in high-tech industries to improve its innovation performance.

Design/methodology/approach – The study is based on the investigation of nine multinational food processing companies with their headquarters and/or major operations in The Netherlands. For this study a research questionnaire was developed, based on theoretical insights derived from the industrial organization theory and the resource-based view. In each company the research director, CTO, or CEO completed the questionnaire and was interviewed about different aspects of innovation management.

Findings – The food processing industry can indeed rely on the principles of innovation management. However, there is clear room for improvement. Especially the potential of “open innovation” with suppliers and buyers to leverage innovation resources and capabilities is underutilized. Interestingly, the uneven power distribution in the chain, especially the high pressure of buyers, acts as a strong driver for innovation. Seen in this light it is noteworthy that in most companies the communication from R&D to marketing needs further improvement to enhance customer orientation, one of the main drivers of innovation success.

Originality/value – This study is the first to investigate innovation management concepts related to success in the food processing industry.

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