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NEW FOOD PRODUCTS: INNOVATION, IMPROVEMENT, OR IMITATION?

By Andrew J. Groff and Ralph D. Christy

Abstract

Researchers have little understanding of what lies beneath the increased numbers and declining "innovativeness" of new food products. This paper investigates product innovation by focusing on both market- and firm-level relationships. Structural data is compared with innovation trends to determine possible associations. A mail questionnaire of 27 food manufacturing firms investigates the issues of strategy, practices and performance. The food manufacturing industries reflect the conventional wisdom that larger firms in concentrated markets invest more in product innovation efforts, but do not contribute proportionately more to innovative output. The declining "innovativeness" of food products results from emphasis on developing product improvements and imitations.Research and Development/Tech Change/Emerging Technologies,

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