ORLANDO AT DREDDO DAN’S
‘Most people see the snack market as dynamic and innovative, but actually it is surprisingly conservative. Most of what passes for product innovation is in fact tinkering with our marketing approach, things like special offers, promotion tie-ins and so on. We occasionally put new packs round our existing products and even more occasionally we introduce new flavors in existing product ranges. Rarely though does anyone in this industry introduce something radically different. That is why this project is both exciting and scary’.
Monica Allen, the technical vice-president of PJT’s snack division, was commenting on a potential new product to be marketed under PJT’s best-known brand ‘Dreddo Dan’s Snacks’. The new product development project referred to was internally known as Project Orlando (no one could remember why). The project had been running officially for almost 3 years but had hitherto been seen as something of a long shot. Recent technical breakthroughs by the project team now made the project look far more promising and it had been given priority development status by the company’s board. Even so, it was not expected to come to the market for another 2 years.
‘Orlando’ was a range of snack foods which had been described within the company as ‘savory potato cookies’. Essentially they were one a half-inch discs of crisp, fried potato with a soft dairy cheese-like filling. The idea of incorporating dairy fillings in snack had been discussed within the industry for some time but the problems of manufacturing such a product were formidable. Keeping the product crisp on the outside yet soft in the middle, while at the same time ensuring microbiological safety, would not be easy. Moreover such a product would have to be capable of being stored at ambient temperatures, maintain its physical robustness and have a shelf life of at least 3 months. Enough of the technical problems associated with these requirements had been solved by the...
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