Value-added innovation key for Ebro Foods

Value-added innovation key for Ebro Foods

Market-specific launches are key to the success of a new product, Ebro Foods told an audience at this year's CAGE conference in London.

Rafael López Relimpio, a member of the Ebro management committee, said the firm had had pencilled "about 50" new product launches for the year. However, he stressed that NPD was about "creating meaningful launches" rather than rolling out a single product to every market.

"For example, in the US we have a pool of microwaveable products that is growing very well. In France it is fresh pasta which presents an incredible opportunity," Relimpio observed. 

"Proper execution is as important to the innovation or concept itself. We have limited resources so we choose wisely where our innovation goes," he said.

He added that Ebro Foods was "very active in innovation" with 20% of its sales in 2013 coming from new launches.

While there were no plans for any M&A that he could announce, Lopez said the food firm would concentrate on launches in adjacent categories such as fresh pasta and sauces.

An example Lopez gave was that of potato-based products which he said presented a "huge opportunity".

"It started as an Italian concept - gnocchi, we revolutionised the category in France by means of presenting it in a different concept - stir-fried gnocchi and we have turned it into a 10,000 tonne business in ten years time.

"Now we are looking for many other opportunities and variants on potato based. Refrigerated potatoes versus IQF we think will be a huge opportunity for us," he added.