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How open is food innovation?The crispbread case

Sveinung Grimsby (Nofima AS, Ås, Norway)
Cathrine Finne Kure (Nofima AS, Ås, Norway)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 3 June 2019

Issue publication date: 3 June 2019




How does the cereal industry innovate in selective partnerships? The purpose of this paper is to study the cereal industry and the crispbread success in terms of how different forms of openness jointly shape new product development (NPD).


A multiphase mixed methods design was used to combine three sets of data: a case study, sales figures and interviews with ten major actors in the Norwegian cereal industry.


Transparency and interaction with machinery suppliers appear to result in a more successful type of innovation. In practice, companies are more open than, perhaps, they realise. Factors such as mutual trust, asset control and distribution are positive for openness in innovation processes with suppliers.

Practical implications

Future actors such as suppliers, producers, distributors and policy makers in the food industry will benefit from trust and an open innovation (OI) mind-set during NPD.


Prior to 2011, Norway had no large-scale commercial crispbread production. Six years later, Norwegian production nears the sales figures of the leading Swedish brand Wasa. Is this due to OI? Understanding various forms of selective partnership, collaboration and trust among actors in the food industry is valuable for future growth.



The authors thanks Dr Einar Risvik, Sissel Flesland, Stine Hersleth, Geir Håbesland, Dr Antje Gonera, Dr Kasper Christensen, Dr Kristin Hollung, Dr Simon Balance, Dr Taran Mari Thune, Dr Per Ingvar Olsen and Dr Magnus Gulbrandsen for providing helpful comments on the manuscript. Comments from anonymous referees have been appreciated.


Grimsby, S. and Kure, C.F. (2019), "How open is food innovation?The crispbread case", British Food Journal, Vol. 121 No. 4, pp. 950-963.



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Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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