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Customer-Centric Product Development
Leveraging Digital Continuity in F&B

Michael Benko
12 Dec 2023

Learn about Customer-Centric Product Development and Digital Continuity, and how these can drive success in the food and beverage (F&B) industry.

In the fast-paced and highly competitive Food and Beverage (F&B) industry, staying ahead of the curve requires more than just innovative recipes and efficient production processes. Today, success hinges on understanding and satisfying the ever-evolving preferences of consumers.

This is where the concept of customer-centric product development comes into play, and one of the keys to achieving it is leveraging the power of digital continuity. In this blog post, we’ll explore how digital continuity is transforming the F&B industry by enabling a customer-centric approach to product development.

Understanding customer-centric product development

Customer-centric product development is a strategic approach that places consumers at the core of the innovation process. Instead of relying solely on historical data and the product developers’ gut feelings, businesses prioritize gathering real-time insights and feedback from customers to guide product development efforts.

This approach results in products that align more closely with market demands, leading to increased customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.

Historically, F&B product development has been characterized by a series of challenges:

  • Lack of real-time insight: Traditional product development often relies on periodic surveys, market research, and manual data collection, leading to delays in obtaining insights into consumer preferences.
  • Rigid processes: Long development cycles, coupled with rigid processes, make it difficult to adapt to rapidly changing consumer trends and preferences.
  • Inefficiency: Paper-based documentation, disjointed communication, and siloed data slow down the development process and hinder innovation.
  • Limited traceability: It can be challenging to track the evolution of a product idea and the rationale behind decisions, which can hinder informed decision-making.

The role of digital continuity

Digital continuity, in the context of the F&B industry, refers to the seamless flow of information and knowledge throughout the product development lifecycle.

It encompasses the integration of data from various stages of product development – from concept and design to manufacturing and distribution. Leveraging digital continuity involves using digital tools and platforms to connect teams, systems, and processes to enable more efficient and customer-centric product development.

How digital continuity enhances customer-centric product development

  • Real-time data collection: Digital platforms enable real-time data collection from various sources, including social media, customer feedback, and sales data, offering immediate insights into consumer preferences.
  • Data-driven decision making: Digital continuity facilitates the collection and analysis of vast amounts of data. This data can be used to identify emerging trends, consumer behavior patterns, and market demands, helping businesses make more informed decisions about product development.
  • Enhanced product customization: Digital continuity allows for more personalized product development. By analyzing data on a customer’s individual preferences and purchase history, businesses can offer tailored products and experiences to their customers.
  • Digital prototyping: The use of digital tools allows for rapid prototyping and experimentation, reducing time-to-market and the risk associated with new product launches.
  • Product lifecycle transparency: Every decision made during the product development journey is recorded and easily traceable, ensuring transparency and accountability.
  • Cross-functional collaboration: Digital continuity fosters collaboration between different departments, from R&D to marketing. This means that insights gained from customer feedback can be quickly communicated and acted upon, reducing the time it takes to bring consumer-desired products to market.

Case in point: Coca-Cola’s Freestyle machines

Coca-Cola’s Freestyle machines are a prime example of how digital continuity can drive customer-centric product development. These touch-screen dispensers offer over 100 different drink options, and they collect data on which flavors are most popular in real time. Coca-Cola uses this data to introduce new flavor combinations, creating a more personalized and engaging experience for its customers.

The future: remaining relevant as customer needs change

In the F&B industry, staying relevant and competitive means adapting to the changing demands of consumers. Customer-centric product development, powered by digital continuity, is the key to achieving this.

By harnessing real-time data, facilitating cross-functional collaboration, and responding swiftly to market shifts, businesses can create products that resonate with their audience. The result is not only satisfied customers, but also a more agile and innovative F&B landscape that can anticipate and meet the ever-evolving needs of the market.

The first post titled “Innovation in Food Packaging” summarizes How (and Why) Product Lifecycle Management will transform the Food Packaging Industry


Michael Benko

IT consultant and process engineer
Michael Benko is an IT consultant and process engineer with broad cross functional expertise. His industry experience includes food & beverage and pharmaceutical manufacturing, along with software pre-sales, implementation consulting and numerous enterprise level software implementations. Michael combines his expertise in Product Lifecycle Management with new product development best practices to solve a range of businesses’ most pressing problems.

    A revolution in food packaging