Based in Oakdale, near Blackwood, and employing around 100 people, the Just Love Food Company sell their allergy friendly celebration cakes to many of the UK’s biggest retailers and food service outlets.
Through the Project HELIX Knowledge Transfer Programme, a New Product Development (NPD) affiliate is embedded in Just Love. The affiliate provides Just Love with additional product development capacity, supporting in a range of areas including NPD and reformulation whilst ensuring supplier technical compliance.
As part of the programme of support from ZERO2FIVE Food Industry Centre, the affiliate receives regular training on a range of NPD and technical topics.
With the launch of Christmas product ranges for 2022, it provided a timely opportunity for ZERO2FIVE’s NPD team to deliver product benchmarking training. This would enable the affiliate to review other Christmas products on the marketplace in preparation for receiving retailer NPD briefs for Christmas 2023.
Support from ZERO2FIVE
Product benchmarking is an integral part of the product development process as it enables the evaluation of other products within a food category, taking into account important features such as organoleptic properties, retail price, product specifications, on pack information and packing format.
This can stimulate discussion to identify innovations and trends of interest which can inspire future product development, whether it’s launching a new product range or making tweaks to existing products to improve flavour, profitability, or process efficiency.
Having chosen a range of innovative bakeries and patisserie shops in Cardiff, ZERO2FIVE’s NPD specialists and the affiliate visited each location, where the product ranges were reviewed for inspiring shapes, flavours, fillings, packaging formats and decorations. A selection of the most relevant products were purchased for further review back at ZERO2FIVE.
These samples were assessed from an organoleptic point of view, considering their external and internal appearance, flavour, texture, aroma, price point and whether they delivered on their product descriptions as well as value for money. In addition, artisanal bakery product catalogues, websites and social media were reviewed for additional product ideas.
Finally, a brainstorming session took place to establish which product features could provide inspiration for future Just Love Food Company products and also be manufactured at scale.
Benefits of the support
As a result of the activity, the affiliate was equipped with a range of potential product ideas for Just Love’s 2023 Christmas range. Notably, the affiliate went away with ideas for simple and bold tweaks which could be made to existing products to make them more festive as well as inspiration for how to reduce product waste by incorporating offcuts into new products.
The affiliate’s new skills will enable them to carry out future product benchmarking independently and they have already been put to use whilst reviewing products from other retailers and generating concepts for a UK retailer.
If your company is interested in funded support with product benchmarking, food safaris, and waste reduction then get in touch to find out how we can help: