To enable foodservice manufacturers to launch more profitable new products, The International Foodservice Manufacturers Association (IFMA), Chicago, and Canada-based Stage-Gate International released a report charting four essential best practices in foodservice new product development.

The report, “New Product Development: Best Practices in Foodservice,” was produced through The Center of Innovation Excellence (CIE) and provides practical tools that promote better innovation efficiency and foster collaboration.

IFMA and Stage-Gate International established CIE to develop a standardized innovation framework for foodservice. Initial work conducted in 2011 provided an understanding of how foodservice companies and their customers innovate. Continued work in 2012 delivered process benchmarks and metrics.

The report identifies four essential best practices:

Effective project selection means timely decisions and requires discipline. Top performers don't just rely on the acumen of their business leaders to make good project selection decisions; they also instill an organizational discipline around accountability, transparency and due diligence to capitalize on new product opportunities.

A clear product innovation strategy enables speed to market. To win in this vast marketplace, top performers engage their business leaders to determine the role new products will play in enabling the successful execution of the business' strategy.

New product collaboration can unlock significant value, but choose wisely. The industry's highly integrated network and multi-player value chain require top performers to screen for product innovation projects and partners that match their business goals and complement their capabilities.

Break the cycle of repeating the same mistakes; learn from successes and failures. To stay a step ahead of customers (and competitors), top performers capture key learnings from each new product project and use them to make strategic modifications to the process.

"The Center of Innovation Excellence's work showed us that while most foodservice suppliers rely on product innovation to grow their businesses, our industry lacked a trustworthy roadmap to new product success," says Larry Oberkfell, president and CEO, IFMA. "This new report delivers tried and true methods and helpful tools that are unique to foodservice."

"New Product Development: Best Practices in Foodservice" is available for purchase at