The purpose of this paper is to provide empirical research evidence on the process innovations and the NPD (new product development) processes/practices adopted by the food industry as well as their interface.
The study was conducted in the Greek food industry. A total of 44 companies that have developed new products were identified and personal interviews were conducted with company managers. Three different aspects of their innovativeness was investigated, namely the use of new raw ingredients/materials, new machinery and new controls. Questions were asked on the adoption of 33 different processes for the development of these new products and the importance attributed to these NPD processes/practices.
Firms in the food industry may operate on the basis of a U‐shaped process innovativeness. They employ either the same raw materials/ingredients with new equipment/machinery or new raw ingredients/materials with old equipment/machinery. New controls/procedures go together with new equipment/machinery. Increased process innovativeness is associated with only a small number of NPD processes/practices. These revolve around manufacturing and its preparation.
The small number of identified innovations and the focus sector limit the results to the target sample.
The exact NPD processes used by the food industry and which of these are associated with increased process innovativeness, bear important implications for food industry managers and research.
The paper fills a gap regarding what is the nature of innovativeness in the Greek food industry, what new product development processes/practices are followed and which of these are associated with increased innovativeness. As such it provides further specialised evidence for the food sector across European countries.
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