Skiing Uphill: An Alternative to Traditional Research Practices For Canned Coffee Flavour innovation

Sanja Burns
Givaudan, Singapore


If you want to know where to go, then ski uphill. That way you are not following everyone else. If you want to ski uphill, then drink a lot of coffee.

Kurt Vonnegut sums this up slightly differently: “I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you can see all kinds of things you can’t see from the centre”.

This paper was born of the conviction that flavours could be considered differently in product development. As such, it is tasked with exploring unconventional and peripheral paths for established practices; in this case flavour creation. Specifically, it looks at how consumer insight was used to change the context for flavour creation and led to fresh thinking about sensory possibilities for canned coffee in Japan.