Execution and culture are key to successful innovation, claims United Biscuits


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Execution and culture are key to successful new product launches, according to Mark Winter, UK and Ireland sales director at United Biscuits.

Speaking at the 2014 IGD Convention, Winter presented Nielsen data on new product development, which showed the industry’s collective success rate at launching breakthrough innovation over the last three years was just one in 2,000.

“Our success rate is not very good as an industry,” Winter said.

Further, of the 12,000 consumer products introduced across Europe between 2011-2013 only seven had achieved breakthrough, according to Nielsen.

“Technology is not the answer. It’s more than new products – execution is key and the right culture is required,” said Winter.

He highlighted successful NPD in the on-the-go breakfast category. Winter said there are 16bn breakfasts eaten in the UK and more than a third are eaten on-the-go, costing six times the amount spent at home.

The launch of the breakfast biscuit had been disruptive to cereal bars, said Winter. Breakfast biscuits are half the price of cereal bars and their launch has built a £100m category in three years.

“It’s not just about new products,” Winter stressed. In the canned cola market, for example, growth has been driven by core products with different can sizes and pack formats.

Similarly, Winter said United Biscuits had innovated around its Chocolate Digestive brand with new packaging to improve the customer experience.

“We added more chocolate and launched disruptive advertising to keep it top of mind,” said Winter.

Winter name checked Netflix for getting product execution right and Blockbuster for getting it wrong; and Kodak as a business where a culture of fearing change resulted in the company’s demise.