Research news

Researchers to strengthen the sale of new food products

The technological innovation within the food products area is lacking behind. A new EU research project, spearheaded by Aarhus University, is set to help motivate the retail trade as well as countering consumer scepticism. The project has been allocated 7.5 million DKK from EU's Seventh Framework Programme.

By Jesper Toft Madsen

The technological innovation of food products is currently not often a success; the big players within the retail trade and among the industrial organisations people are sceptical. Rather, they choose to play it safe when it comes to investing in new products,

- The retail trade is not always interested in innovation because the sector is worried about the reaction of the consumers.  The same goes for consumers, who are often uneasy and sceptical about new products, says Klaus G. Grunert, Professor of Marketing and Centre Director of MAPP, which serves as a coordinator for the EU project, RECAPT.

In co-operation with food product researchers from Germany, The Netherlands, Great Britain and Belgium, MAPP will look to establish a European platform that can strengthen the co-operation between researchers, the food industry, the retail trade and catering over a three-year period. The project has been allocated 7.5 million DKK from EU's Seventh Framework Programme.

Closer co-operation to help strengthen the competiveness

- If all the participants in the value chain work closer together and create transparency, our research will become better integrated.  Transparency and enlightenment will strengthen the development of innovative and sustainable products, which complies with consumer scepticism whilst also improving the competiveness of the European food sector, Klaus G. Grunert predicts.

The innovation can contribute to the development of new types of packaging, functional nanotechnology and other initiatives, which can greatly influence the production of food products. In addition, the RECAPT project will aim to examine the retail trade’s handling of innovation in order to build a better infrastructure for the participants.

A change of attitude is needed

According to Klaus G. Grunert a change of attitude is well underway in other EU countries. This change is necessary if the project is to succeed. The RECAPT project has entered co-operations with major European organisations of retailers, who all support the project group’s work.

- Previously, the retail trade has been sceptical towards projects of this type. The people in the business have to show a willingness to take risks and an interest in investing in innovation. Therefore, I am pleased that the industry supports the project, says Klaus G. Grunert, who emphasises the importance of the coordinating role.

- With MAPP’s role as a coordinator at RECAPT comes much prestige, which our entire research unit can benefit from in the long term.

Additional comments

Klaus G. Grunert, Professor and Centre Director
Aarhus University, Business and Social Sciences
Department of Marketing and Organisation, MAPP

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