Innovation in the Food Industry: A Comparison Between New and Traditional Categories of Foodstuffs

  • Angela TarabellaEmail author
  • Andrea Masoni
  • Leonello Trivelli
  • Andrea Apicella
  • Mariarosaria Lombardi
  • Roberto Leonardo Rana
  • Caterina Tricase
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Food, Health, and Nutrition book series (BRIEFSFOOD)


According to a recent Accenture survey, “Stepping off the crazy train” (2017), a total of 80% of companies still use an outdated approach to innovation, based on incremental tweaking (Holman et al., 2017). The empirical analysis showed that, in the Italian food sector, innovation adoption follows different patterns when product or process innovation is considered. On the other hand, Capitanio et al. (Br Food J 111(8):820–838, 2009) show how the probability of introducing product innovation is influenced by the quality of human capital, the geographical context and, to a lesser extent, the company age. The more a sector is characterized by the presence of small or medium enterprises (SMEs), and so by a poor internal availability of qualified competences and capitals to invest, the more the innovation comes from outside. Indeed, SMEs are not normally able to generate innovations and are therefore willing to adopt them by borrowing from other sectors, which might present different characteristics. Consequently, these innovations often have to be readjusted, as they have been conceived for different scopes and applications at the moment of their development. Thanks to the economic growth in Italy, companies such as Ferrero, Barilla and Parmalat have established themselves as major business centres in the development of innovation, and were capable of driving the entire context characterized by the presence of SMEs. Cooperation is particularly important for innovation in the food industry, which is traditionally considered a “low technology” sector (Trott and Simms 2017). Nowadays, the food industry is facing technical and economic changes of society, manufacture and food processing that affect the whole supply-chain. This fact forced companies to pay great attention in food products, in order to meet the consumer’s demand for a healthier lifestyle. As a consequence, innovation in the food industry does not only appear as an opportunity, but also as a prerequisite to stand out from the competition, apply specific pricing policies, penetrate new markets and ensure sustainability of the food sector (Galanakis, 2016).


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Copyright information

© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Angela Tarabella
    • 1
    Email author
  • Andrea Masoni
    • 1
  • Leonello Trivelli
    • 1
  • Andrea Apicella
    • 1
  • Mariarosaria Lombardi
    • 2
  • Roberto Leonardo Rana
    • 2
  • Caterina Tricase
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Economics and ManagementUniversity of PisaPisaItaly
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsUniversity of FoggiaFoggiaItaly

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