After a successful launch in 1999, the innovative innocent product achieved rapid growth in the UK smoothies market (Trott, 2018, p. 508). However, the company has not been able to sustain the growth 8 years later when sales began dropping drastically (Campaignlive 2019). Since 2008 to date, sales of innocent have not performed well. In fact in 2014 and 2015, the company realised 6.5% and 3.5% drop in sales volume respectively (Drinkstaff 2019). The decline in innocent sales is partially attributed to the increase in the cost of raw materials fuelling price hikes of the product, especially during the 2008 financial crisis and consumers switching to cheaper options (Campaignlive 2019). The decline in sales of the innocent is a signal that the company should try out a new product to supplement sales. I suggest that the innocent chief marketing officer a new product an innocent sandwich plus.
About the Innocent Sandwich Plus
The proposed innocent sandwich plus is a new product that serves as normal sandwiches in the market, but unique in the sense that it will be low sugar, fat and salt content. Instead of sugar sweeteners, the innocent sandwich plus will be flavoured using fruit flavours such as chilly among other different flavours.
At the movement, there is a general campaign worldwide aimed at enlightening people to embrace diets low in sugar, salt and fat content to control and reduce the burden of noncommunicable diseases (Waswa, Wairegi & Asiko 2018, p. 55; Rayner, Wickramasinghe, Williams, Mendis & McColl 2017). Consumers are eagerly waiting for a product that replaces the existing sandwiches which have been labelled as 'junk food' with health consequences (Fieldhouse 2013, p. 67). Just as the innocent smoothie attracted many consumers when it offered a 100% fruit juice drink, I envisage a situation whereby the innocent sandwich plus will attract many consumers who care about their health and want a sandwich for lunch that contains the least amount of salt, sugar, and fat yet it still tastes with fruit flavour. Innocent sandwich plus will be sold as a fast food option, and it will easily win customers who had established a loyalty with healthy innocent smoothie products, hence there will be little expenditure in marketing and popularising the new product.
New Product Development Process
According to Ulrich (2003), a new product typically goes through 8 stages of development from conception to being introduced in the market. These stages include idea generation, idea screening, concept testing, business analysis, product development, test marketing, commercialisation, and monitoring and evaluation (Eichert 2019; Ulrich 2003). However, the new product development will not rigidly stick to the linear process as it may be too lengthy and repetitive.
In the UK and many other countries, people are increasingly being aware of the growing burden of noncommunicable diseases such as obesity (Swinburn et al. 2011, p. 804). Unfortunately, their favourite sandwiches that they take for lunch is one of the main cause of noncommunicable diseases due to the high fat, sugar and salt content. Solving this problem appears a perfect business idea: providing an alternative sandwich that has low sugar, salt, and fat content. The idea will be backed by an overall change in health and nutrition policy advocating for consumption of healthy diets by the world population (World Health Organization 2013, p. 75).
The sandwich is an established market product. In an established market, success depends on the uniqueness of the product (Lamey, Deleersnyder, Steenkamp & Dekimpe 2018, p. 432). I suggest that innocent presents a unique sandwich blended with fruit flavours that make it stand out of the many brands in the market. The favourite flavours that have done well with innocent smoothie should be considered among the favourable ones among the consumers.
Fruit flavoured sandwich is a new concept in the market. As a result, it has to be tested among potential consumers. Since the innocent drink tested its concept in a simple but constructive manner that informed the entrepreneurs about how it would be successful after several consumers accepted it, I propose that the same concept is used in testing the sandwich concept. The company should contract with national conference organisers and offer to provide free lunch in which its innocent drink and the sandwich will be served with the yes and no bins. The attendants, who will be mostly UK consumers, will drop writing in the yes and no bins indicating whether they think the product should be rolled out or no.
Before investing in a new venture, every entrepreneur should consider a strategy for entering the market. This should be guided by a framework. I suggest the use of Ansoff matrix. Ansoff matrix helps a business think about the potential risks of a venture, and devise most suitable plan (Noam, 2018, p. 629). Ansoff Matrix contains four strategies that should be used including market penetration, market development, product development, and diversification strategies (Chiang, Chen & Ho 2016, p. 237). Innocent will be seeking to sell a new product in line with the pre-established brand, and the best way is to introduce a loyalty scheme. A loyalty scheme encourages consumers to purchase a variety of products from the company (Kang, Alejandro & Groza 2015, p. 464). So, in addition to consuming innocent drink, the existing customers will diversify their consumption to the newly introduced sandwich. On developing the market, I suggest that market segmentation is employed where different people are targeted based on their preferred fruit flavour which will determine the flavour of their sandwich. Product development targets selling different products to the same people, and here I propose that innocent company shortens the time to deliver the products to the market to ensure food preservatives are minimally used to ensure that the product is almost 100% organic. Finally, I suggest that the company diversifies the product by use of different fruit flavours to appeal to as many consumers as possible.
As a general rule, every new product is tested in the market to ascertain customer preference (Chang & Taylor, 2016, p. 47). Innocent sandwich plus will be first tested by the innocent's test kitchens to ensure that flavoursome fruit varieties are used. The prepare sandwiches will be tested on people living and those working in the neighbourhood. The fruit flavours that appeal to a majority will be adopted.
Innocent sandwich plus will be served with leased preservatives. This means that the production of the sandwiches should be done near the consumers. I suggest that the company makes use of Coca-cola outlets to manufacture and distribute the product to the consumers. This will ensure instant delivery of the product to the customer when it is still fresh. Also, Coca-cola operates worldwide and will help innocent access a huge market and sell its new product internationally.
Also, commercialisation process must consider the 4ps (place, price, product, and promotion). The 4ps sets the foundation of a marketing plan (Akgun, Keskin, Ayar & Etlioglu, 2017, p. 70; Resnick, Cheng, Simpson & Lourenco 2016). The company should seek to sell the product at competitive prices (meaning that they should not differ so much from that of the competitors), ensure the product is readily available to the consumers, packaged in a presentable manner that it stands out in the shelves, and be popularised through advertising. The adverts should highlight the health benefits f the product to attract many consumers.
Monitoring and Evaluation
Consumers' tastes and preferences keep on changing (Paddock, 2017, p 102). Monitoring and evaluation should be regularly undertaken to detect preference changes early enough to update the product and meet consumer needs (Chen, Wang, Huang & Shen, 2016, p. 54). I suggest that the company keeps on collecting consumer and other peoples' ideas holding to the fact that working with others' ideas is vital for a business success (Beckham 2019, p. 33).
Innocent can enhance its sales income by diversifying its product base. By introducing the innovative innocent sandwich plus, the company will target consumers seeking healthy products to consume for their lunch. Innocent sandwich plus is a product that is fruit flavoured instead of sugary sweeteners which will lead to a reduction of noncommunicable disease burden. The product is likely to attract many consumers just as the innocent drink did when it was introduced to help people avoid sugary drinks that were causing problems such as obesity.
Akgun, A.E., Keskin, H., Ayar, H. and Etlioglu, T., 2017,' Why companies go positive marketing innovations: a new theoretical prototype for 4ps of innovation',Journal of Business Economics and Finance, 6(2), pp.70-77.
Beckham, D, 2019, Innovation and creativity in the workplace, [Lecture], p. 33.
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Chen, K.H., Wang, C.H., Huang, S.Z. and Shen, G.C., 2016, 'Service innovation and new product performance: The influence of market-linking capabilities and market turbulence' International Journal of Production Economics, 172, pp.54-64.
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Drinkstaff (2019), The long slow decline of the juice and smoothie business >> Drink Stuff SA. [online] Drinkstuff-sa.co.za. Available at: https://www.drinkstuff-sa.co.za/the-long-slow-decline-of-the-juice-and-smoothie-business/ [Accessed 8 Mar. 2019].
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