Hort Innovation is looking to upskill and support growers to develop new vegetable-based products by providing them with the resources to inform and guide them through the process of new product development (NPD) for domestic and export markets. The ultimate aim is to reduce the risk and cost associated with NPD and to increase demand for Australian vegetables by increasing the suite of products in which they are used and valued.

This project has developed ‘best practice’ resources for Australian vegetable growers to de-risk the process of NPD of vegetable and value-added products, such as ready-to-eat meals, snacks and beverages for domestic and export markets.

The project has developed an easy-to-read ‘how-to’ guide covering all aspects of NPD, including:

  • how to scope out potential products and get consumer feedback;
  • hints and tips for working with co-packers and contract manufacturers;
  • protecting your intellectual property; and
  • liaising with NPD teams at retailers, among many other subjects.

A check-list for grower companies to work through in preparing internal/external business case documents has also been developed. In addition, a Resources Guide of relevant suppliers of goods and services, including packaging suppliers and contract manufacturers plus other useful contacts, has been compiled and made available via an online portal. The outputs are in print-ready PDF format, and have been presented at two relevant forums.

The project aimed to provide information and increase growers’ confidence to enable them to undertake more in-house NPD, and to provide a wider range of vegetable-based products to increase consumption and export opportunities.

In addition, the project also provided two one-day events for Australian vegetable growers where the best practices developed could be presented in a vibrant and collaborative commercial environment. Vegetable industry representatives learned not only from key industry leaders, but also from companies operating in the fast-moving consumer goods sector.