Innovation key for Kraft

18 June 2012

HONG KONG: Kraft, the food group, is prioritising innovation as a means of boosting sales, not least through adopting a "glocal" approach to new product development.

New figures from the brand owner indicate that the proportion of overall revenues generated from sales of new products rose from 7.4% in 2009 to 10.5% in 2011.

Jean Spence, Kraft's executive vice president for research, development and quality, said: "Research and development is the fuel for our growth engine."

The company currently runs 15 R&D centres, including outlets in Brazil, Singapore and China, and spends around $700m annually on R&D, from which it has launched 70 new products in the past year. Around 3,300 scientists are employed by the centres.

Asia-specific figures released by Kraft last year suggest that the region performs particularly strongly for innovation, with new product sales tracking at around 30% of the total in China.

For the future, Kraft indicated that it has adopted a "glocal" strategy, with a focus on optimising the platforms used by its R&D scientists for local markets.

According to a recent survey released by The Temkin Group, a consultancy, Kraft is seen as the firm with the second best innovation programmes in the US.

Kraft was cited by 48.6% of survey respondents as offering new products they would be likely to purchase and try immediately after launch. Hershey, the chocolate brand owner, topped the rankings on 52.8%.

Data sourced from Kraft; additional content by Warc staff