December 20, 2013

Are New Product Winners Automatic Winners?

As preparations for Kosherfest went into high gear this week, all eyes are on the New Product Competition scheduled for October 13th. Hundreds of new products were submitted in what has become an important event for kosher food manufacturers. The conventional wisdom, and indeed the evidence supports it, is that winners benefit from being designated best in a given category and certainly when receiving the honors of being “Best in Show.” But to my surprise, I learned that several winners in the past few years are no longer on shelves. What was thought to be automatic is perhaps not so automatic.

In discussing this surprising finding with several distributors, I was relieved to learn that the new product winners that did not make it were a distinct minority. They pointed to several products including at least one “Best in Show” that literally turned around a business. So is there a formula for success? Is there a message for those products that will be crowned winners? It appears that being the winner is only part of a broader marketing effort that includes merchandising, advertising and public relations. Too often a product is left to rest on its laurels without recognizing that the ultimate judge is not the panel that decides the best product but the consumer. Recognizing that simple fact can make the producer of a new and innovative product a true winner!