From Concept to Marketplace: Our NPD Process

New product development has been a mainstay of our operations at Food Connections for 25 years. During this time we’ve worked with a diverse range of customers, encountered all kinds of requirements, and have seen numerous food fashions come, go and come back around again!

Our decades of experience and specialist knowledge have resulted in the successful development of new products for the sports nutrition and health markets, often catering to popular or emerging dietary trends. We’ve also worked on a number of products intended for overseas markets. In cases such as these, our NPD expertise and understanding of how flavour preferences vary from country to country has helped to tailor recipes to the tastes of our clients’ intended markets, resulting in highly successful products.

So, when it comes to NPD, we’re receptive to all kinds of ideas. No matter how complex, unique, or groundbreaking, we relish the challenge and will work closely with you to help make your ideas become reality thanks to an NPD process that’s tried, tested and trusted by our clients. Want to know more? Read on below to find out how we take a product from concept to marketplace.

Step 1: Establishing Your Brief

The first step in our NPD process happens when you get in touch with us with your NPD enquiry. After receiving your initial communication, our Sales and Marketing team will arrange a meeting to discuss your ideas. During this meeting, we’ll not only discuss the product in question, but also take the time to fully understand both your current needs and future aims. This allows us to develop an NPD strategy that’s truly tailored to you. We’ll also answer any questions you may have about our NPD skills so that you have a clear understanding of how our handmade manufacturing processes work and how they can be easily adapted to suit your requirements.

Step 2: NPD Considerations & Recipe Writing

Once established, your new product brief will be sent to our NPD Manager, who will begin considering how to translate the ideas set out in the brief into reality. This will involve thinking about where to source the best quality ingredients at the best price, organising samples to be sent from suppliers, assessing prices, and checking allergens. This step in the NPD process requires great levels of expertise to create a product that meets both the initial brief as well as our production criteria.

Our NPD manager will then begin to write a recipe. During this process, our NPD manager will also make nutritional calculations and calculate raw material costs to ensure that the product meets nutritional aims and budgets.

Step 3: Test Samples

The test sample stage is when you’ll get to see and try your new product for the first time. After making samples according to the newly written recipe, our NPD manager will then conduct internal testing. If the sample passes this stage, it will be sent to you for testing.

Once you’ve had the chance to taste and review the test sample, it’s likely that you’ll have important feedback for us. You may want a stronger flavour, a different colour, or an altered appearance. Whatever your requests, we’ll listen to your feedback and make the appropriate adjustments to ensure that we end up with a result that you’re happy to sign off for the next stage.

Step 4: Packaging

Packaging and branding is a crucial step in any NPD project. We can help you to create the product’s film and packaging or you may already have alternative means for handling this part of the process. Whichever you choose, we will send you the finalised nutritional and product specifications so that you have this vital information to include in your designs. If you are exporting abroad, we can help you organise translations and suitable packaging for various markets.

Step 5: Production Trial

Scaling up from the original sample to a mass production scale isn’t easy, but we’re highly adept at doing it. And, as we create everything by hand, we’re unrestricted by set manufacturing processes so are able to adapt to facilitate all kinds of requirements. After the production trial has been successfully completed, we will send you a sample from the resulting production trial for you to again test and sign off ready for production and retail.

During this stage, we will also be conducting continuous quality checks and strict tests to evaluate the product’s shelf life. Our NPD manager will keep samples to test internally and externally.

Step 6: Purchase Order, Production, Distribution & Retail

Once you are happy with the finished product, we can set the production wheels in motion to manufacture it to order. Distribution and exporting is another part of the process we can help you with. Having worked closely with clients based in the UK and across Europe, we have years of experience distributing across the UK and over a decade of experience exporting to Europe. Should you therefore require your products to be sold overseas, we can help. If you are sending your products to Europe, then you can be sure that they'll be baked to order, packed freshly and delivered with ease. If you’re thinking of exporting to the rest of the world, then we can help assist you with the necessary documentation.

Got a burning idea for a fantastic product but not sure how to bring it to life? Find out more about our NPD services and see how we could help you by getting in touch with our team