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Customer Value & product development

Customer Value & product development

Many food developers think that developing a successful food product is just about the right recipe, an appealing packaging, and a competitive product price, but there is a lot more to think about while creating a successful food product. All the components of the customer value creation process have to be considered and maximised to and product developers have to think beyond the physical product.

So what is the customer value and how to influence it?

The customer value is roughly spoken what the customer gets for his money. It is the ratio or difference between the provided benefits and the cost or sacrifices incorporated in obtaining a product. In theory, economists distinguish four different customer value components, which should be considered while developing a new food product. These value spheres are called, product, location, process and emotional value spheres and the aim of every product development should be to maximise each of those customer value spheres to create the highest customer satisfaction possible.

Many product developers often just concentrate on the product value components, like sensory properties, quality of ingredients and safety and leave the job to maximise the other value components to the marketing department, but thereby many possibilities to build up the full potential of the product get neglected.

In the field of the location value creation, for example, which is all about the experience of the customer at the POS, as well as the location and situation of consumption, product developers could support the marketing department in the process of selecting the most suitable packaging. They could help them to come up with a packaging form and material, which is providing the perfect mix of practicability, safety, and an impressive presentation.

When it comes to the situation of consumption, both should intensively work together to tailor the product to the situation the product will be most likely be consumed in. If the product, for example, expected to be given as a gift at festive events the packaging should also be festive and also the product and ingredients can probably be slightly more expensive. When it is supposed to be consumed at a party it should also be designed by the product developer to be easily consumed, for example, during a conversation. All use cases should be played through by both parties and the product should get adapted to the most probable.

Also, the optimisation of emotional value sphere should be the playground of both parties. Yes, it is encompassing symbolic value attributes like the brand and the identification of the consumer with this brand, but it also encompasses the experience value of the consumption. The product developer can, for example, create memorable excitement, by choosing unique flavours, ingredients or textures and combinations thereof and can thereby contribute to the overall emotional value of the product. In addition, they can also underline the messages and brand concept of the marketing department with the right packaging or recipe.

Same holds true for the process value sphere. Although this sphere is mostly about the quality of the production process and its sustainability and therefore mostly in the hands of the product developer, the communication of the sustainability by the marketing department is the only way to transport this value to the customer, as this value is mostly not observable by the consumer, without any additional information. That’s why also in this field the product developer should support the marketing department to transport the messages to the customers in the right way or form.

As you can see, it is way more the product developer can contribute to, than just the creation of the physical product. He can help maximising all value components, but this just happens with the right company structure, where there are close connections between all involved parties.

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