If you’re pursuing an effective circular economy strategy, any new product development should be carefully considered as part of it.
As a staggering 80% of a product’s environmental impact is ‘locked in’ at the design stage, it’s imperative to build sustainability into any product brief – otherwise the potential is lost.
So how can food and drink manufacturers design out waste and embed circularity during the new product development process?
1. Ask the right questions and have a shared, clear vision
To adopt circular economy principles across the business, you need a clearly articulated vision, championed by you and a senior management team that can see the long-term possibilities when it comes to making changes required from concept to final product.
A circular economy vision doesn’t necessarily need weighted manifestos or documentation, but a suitable framework would very useful.
2. Close, and early, collaboration with raw materials and packaging suppliers
Challenge the product team to think about sustainability in every product.
In implementing circular principles in the food and drink industry, you need to consider sustainability demands when it comes to product development.
Make sure you remember that packaging can be equally important – you’ll be able to reduce inefficiency and waste if you implement circular principles in your entire manufacturing process.
3. Involve consumers in new product development
You develop products to satisfy consumers, so why not make them part of the process?
Examine ways that you can involve consumers in the design process when it comes to food and drink products and packaging.
Different consumers in different countries will have their own tastes, demands and quirks, so do your research in your given market.