Kim Malley is a Senior Analyst with AHDB in the UK. She says that as potato retail volumes grow, smaller categories such as crisps and chilled are increasing at the fastest rate.
According to Ms Mallay, this is reflected in the innovations we see in the category, with significant degrees of diversification in terms of new flavours and formats. Conventional oven chips are no longer the overwhelming force in terms of new product development within the category.
The focus is undoubtedly on greater convenience as well as new formats providing greater variety and sophistication through gourmet and premium offerings.
In the future, new product development needs to stand out as ranges are rationalised, according to Ms Mallay. She points to a study by SCALA, that indicates that the UK’s biggest grocers are reducing their product ranges to compete with discounters.
Currently, discounters stock 7,500 units compared to 30,000 for a traditional supermarket, Malley says. This simpler and more streamlined approach is coupled with market share growth for discounters.
“Range rationalisation has a big impact on new product development, making it harder for new products to gain shelf distribution, with shorter a period to prove themselves,” according to Malley. “Despite this, new product development is key for retailer success as innovation is news for a consumer and typically higher priced.”
Therefore, it is essential new product development stands out and meets consumer needs.
Recent potato new product development has focused on the following: Convenience, carb alternatives, healthy snacking, premium snacking, shareable offerings, exciting flavours and formats, continental cuisines, packaging innovations, and (behold) potato-based alcohol.