Improving communication during the food innovation process (CONNECT4ACTION)

Last Updated : 14 October 2014

Webinar produced on 14 October 2014 in Bologna, Italy

About the Connect4Action project

New products are very important to the life of a food company, as they are tied to its competitiveness and longevity. Although thousands of new food products are launched every year, the majority of them fail. There are many factors that can contribute to this failure. In general, it is acknowledged that an efficient communication among various actors involved in the food innovation process is of crucial importance to the success of novel food products and technologies. Communication should be two-fold, taking place both within the company (internal communication, i.e. between different departments such as R&D and marketing) and to the outside (external communication, i.e. with the end consumer but also other stakeholders involved along the food chain, such as retailers, policy makers).

The Connect4Action project, which receives support from the European Union's 7th Framework Programme, aims to lower the failure rates of new food technologies in Europe, by increasing consumer acceptance of new products, through improved communication among key players in the food innovation process. Connect4Action brings together a multidisciplinary consortium comprising food technologists, consumer scientists, representatives of the food and drink industry, small and medium enterprises, and knowledge transfer experts who work between academia and the food industry.

In order to improve internal and external communication between stakeholders involved in the new product/technology development, Connect4Action has developed a set of tangible tools. These tools are accompanied by two types of trainings, targeted either at young academics (PhD students) or food industry professionals. The toolbox consists of eight tools which are available here. The complete training materials are available via the ISEKI (Integrating Food Science and Engineering Knowledge into the Food Chain) e-learning platform, for which interested participants can register for free, through the project website.

Dr Maddalena Ragona University of Bologna, Partner in the Connect4Action project

Maddalena Ragona is a post-doctoral research fellow at the Department of Statistics, University of Bologna, Italy, since 2007. She holds a PhD in Food and Environmental Economics, an MSc in Agricultural Development Economics, and a 'Laurea' degree in Tropical and Sub-tropical Agricultural Sciences. Her main research activities include impact assessment of agricultural and food policies and regulations, economics of food risk communication, economics of food safety, economics of regulation, multi-criteria analysis, Delphi method, event study analysis. She is and was involved in several national and international research projects (Connect4Action, Biosus, MoniQA, Trust, etc.), and her publication record includes some 15 articles in scientific journals, like Food Policy and the European Review of Agricultural Economics.