You want the perfect nutrition bar to offer to your customers. What is "perfect" though? What are the priorities for your nutrition bar, and how does the manufacturing process capitalize on those goals to deliver the best product at the best cost? These questions are where research and development (R&D) comes in.
Nutrition bars are an increasingly competitive field and require innovation to keep up with the other products available. Navigating the world of R&D can seem complicated, but can be a worthwhile investment in a business' future.
What is R&D?
Research and development is the core of how innovation occurs in the commercial world. This is an in-depth process that functions as an investment in future potential, laying the groundwork for advances to come and deducing new and novel ways to produce results. This can mean more original products, more efficient processes, and the development of valuable intellectual property that can be a long-term asset to a company. The R&D process can usually be divided into three basic types.
Basic research - Basic research is the foundation of most R&D strategies. For many large companies, this is a constant process. Basic research begins typically with no specific purpose in mind, but rather the pursuit of knowledge in relevant fields to a company's interests which can then be evaluated, with some advancements moving along to the applied research phase.
Applied research - Applied research is executed from the brightest innovations in the basic research phase, or to solve a specific problem with a product or process. Applied research is defined and seeks to meet a specific objective which a company can leverage to its advantage during the design and development phase.
Design and development - Design and development takes innovation from prior research and applies it directly to production methods or processes. This is where knowledge gained is leveraged to make more streamlined processes and reap the rewards of research.
Not all R&D strategies go cleanly from basic research through the development phase. Often, companies will have a specific goal and priority for R&D teams, and applied research will be more valuable than basic research. For nutrition bar production, this may be how to better scale a specific formula, altering a formula to incorporate new ingredients, or improving texture retention.
R&D for Nutrition Bars
R&D can be expensive and time-consuming. With technology, pharmaceutical, and life science companies, often billions are spent every year to innovate through R&D teams with no clear idea of the results as an investment in their future. While nutrition bars are less research-intensive than some of these industries, it is a highly competitive field.
Consumers have more options and more refined tastes for what specific proteins, flavors, or dietary considerations they want in products they purchase. Staying at the cutting edge of these trends and providing the most value efficiently are goals that can be achieved through a careful R&D strategy. R&D is not simply used to develop a formula, with partners like nutrition bar co-packers or private labelers often exploring their own R&D strategies to improve manufacturing methods and better serve client needs.
R&D teams can solve specific issues that need to be improved in your formula as well as innovate new ways to utilize existing assets. Adjusting shelf life or softness, incorporating novel ingredients, and improving flavor and texture are all areas where R&D can refine a formula to reach its full potential. The development of new ways to incorporate proteins or bind ingredients, for example, can make your formula more efficient to manufacture, more appealing to consumers, and more profitable to you.
Collaborate with a Co-Packing Partner
If you work with a nutrition bar co-packer, oftentimes their team will include R&D personnel to further develop formulas to provide better manufacturing for their clients. Their expertise in research could offer a wealth of solutions to your formula, as they've often already produced relevant results through basic research. Just as you partner with them for their manufacturing infrastructure, they offer a potentially valuable partnership for R&D infrastructure and expertise.
If you have questions about the R&D process and how collaboration could help further your nutrition bar formula, contact an R&D experienced nutrition bar co-packer and ask how they can help.