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Business development of a novel functional food concept

Åsheim, Christian LU (2015) KLT920 20142
Food Technology and Nutrition
Abstract
Functional food (FF) is a relatively new sector in the food industry. FF are products that have an added nutritional value for consumers that is communicated through nutritional and health claims, and act as preventive agents of chronic diseases. Innovation of new FF products has grown to become an important impact in research towards preventing welfare diseases. The rate of innovation in this field is nevertheless low and the willingness of companies to invest in ideas and research projects that will lead to novel FF products is today weak. The main reason is the regulations for health claims.

The purpose of this study is to investigate the venture creation process of FF based start-ups, with a case specific research question of how an... (More)
Functional food (FF) is a relatively new sector in the food industry. FF are products that have an added nutritional value for consumers that is communicated through nutritional and health claims, and act as preventive agents of chronic diseases. Innovation of new FF products has grown to become an important impact in research towards preventing welfare diseases. The rate of innovation in this field is nevertheless low and the willingness of companies to invest in ideas and research projects that will lead to novel FF products is today weak. The main reason is the regulations for health claims.

The purpose of this study is to investigate the venture creation process of FF based start-ups, with a case specific research question of how an analysis technique targeting the food industry can be commercialized. The purpose will be addressed by simultaneously investigating different venture creation activities, and how these activities can be applied for FF.

In order to build a theoretical framework for the analysis, an extensive literature search connected to the key terms yielded four categories of venture creation activities:
• Planning activities
• Establishing legitimacy
• Market activities
• Resource transformation
These categories were connected to four important aspects specific for FF:
• Regulatory approvals
• Product development
• Intellectual property rights
• Consumer acceptance

The methodology used to explore this area and get a deeper insight in the research topic was by conducting qualitative insider action research of one case. The data has been collected through; numerous meetings with founders and stakeholders, daily operation actions, observations, notes, experiences, conversations, memories and joint-actions from one year of venture creation in the case.

The empirical data collection revealed that the studied venture chose to perform an iterative conceptualization process followed by a business model canvas and a timeline of activities in the category of planning activities. The venture met issues when investigating regulatory approvals in the category of establishing legitimacy. Through contact with experts they revealed a path that potentially would not include the health claim regulation. The market activities were primarily focused on customer development where identifying customer demand was considered of major importance. The product/technology development as well as funding applications was left to be performed after the concept was verified by customer demands.

The conclusion consists of a proposed framework of how to commercialize an analysis technique targeting the FF sector. This proposed framework could potentially serve as a general framework when commercializing other FF products or services. (Less)
Popular Abstract
This Master’s thesis outlines a framework tool for how researchers and persons with interest for food entrepreneurship can become entrepreneurs and operate their own food-based venture through an optimized venture creation process.

It is a challenge to start and run a technology-based venture, especially when it comes to food-based innovations connected to health benefits. This thesis focuses on the venture creation process tailored for a food-based business. Some argues that the innovation process looks similar for all ventures but results from this thesis supports that there exist major differences in how specific venture creation activities are performed. An example is regulatory approval process and the way to attract and develop... (More)
This Master’s thesis outlines a framework tool for how researchers and persons with interest for food entrepreneurship can become entrepreneurs and operate their own food-based venture through an optimized venture creation process.

It is a challenge to start and run a technology-based venture, especially when it comes to food-based innovations connected to health benefits. This thesis focuses on the venture creation process tailored for a food-based business. Some argues that the innovation process looks similar for all ventures but results from this thesis supports that there exist major differences in how specific venture creation activities are performed. An example is regulatory approval process and the way to attract and develop new customers. Most academic ventures work with a traditional linear innovation process where a product often is created based on the research and pushed to the market. This thesis proposes an innovation process often used for software ventures called customer development/market pull where the collection of customers is prioritized before the product development is initiated.

The thesis has been based on a case study of a venture from Lund University called ViscoSens. ViscoSens is creating an analysis technique that predicts health benefits in food products and has the potential of giving consumers real-time feedback of the health effect of the products they are eating. The first conceptual focus is to predict the blood sugar level after a meal. The innovation was a result of a cross-sectional collaboration between three researchers, working in three different departments at Lund University. When commercialized, the innovation has a potential to help consumers to tailor their diet and make food choices based on their individual health condition and the food industry to design products accordingly.

It is not easy for a researcher with an invention to work as entrepreneurs simultaneous as an employment at a University. At the same time the matchmaking process between researchers and young entrepreneurial spirits are lacking and therefore researchers have to initiate the commercialization process by themselves. The conclusion of the thesis is a venture creation framework for research based food start-ups, which is novel since no one has studied this process before.

The framework is of highest relevance for researchers and entrepreneurs to facilitate the technology transfer and innovation process when commercializing research-based food innovations. Today, innovation is viewed as vital for the success and a source of economic growth in the modern society. Through direct usage of the concluded venture creation framework, more food innovations have the ability to reach the market through an optimized process. The potential implications will be a higher amount of revenue generating companies and more job opportunities in the food and functional food sector, which in the long run will strengthen Sweden as a country. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Åsheim, Christian LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
Utveckling av en potentiell affärsutvecklingsmodell för nya koncept och produkter inom kategorin funktionella livsmedel
course
KLT920 20142
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
commercialization, business development, start-up, venture creation, Functional food, glycaemic response, analysis technique, livsmedelsteknik, food engineering
language
English
id
8311834
date added to LUP
2015-12-21 10:37:31
date last changed
2015-12-21 10:37:31
@misc{8311834,
  abstract     = {Functional food (FF) is a relatively new sector in the food industry. FF are products that have an added nutritional value for consumers that is communicated through nutritional and health claims, and act as preventive agents of chronic diseases. Innovation of new FF products has grown to become an important impact in research towards preventing welfare diseases. The rate of innovation in this field is nevertheless low and the willingness of companies to invest in ideas and research projects that will lead to novel FF products is today weak. The main reason is the regulations for health claims.

The purpose of this study is to investigate the venture creation process of FF based start-ups, with a case specific research question of how an analysis technique targeting the food industry can be commercialized. The purpose will be addressed by simultaneously investigating different venture creation activities, and how these activities can be applied for FF. 

In order to build a theoretical framework for the analysis, an extensive literature search connected to the key terms yielded four categories of venture creation activities: 
•	Planning activities 
•	Establishing legitimacy
•	Market activities 
•	Resource transformation 
These categories were connected to four important aspects specific for FF: 
•	Regulatory approvals 
•	Product development
•	Intellectual property rights 
•	Consumer acceptance 

The methodology used to explore this area and get a deeper insight in the research topic was by conducting qualitative insider action research of one case. The data has been collected through; numerous meetings with founders and stakeholders, daily operation actions, observations, notes, experiences, conversations, memories and joint-actions from one year of venture creation in the case.

The empirical data collection revealed that the studied venture chose to perform an iterative conceptualization process followed by a business model canvas and a timeline of activities in the category of planning activities. The venture met issues when investigating regulatory approvals in the category of establishing legitimacy. Through contact with experts they revealed a path that potentially would not include the health claim regulation. The market activities were primarily focused on customer development where identifying customer demand was considered of major importance. The product/technology development as well as funding applications was left to be performed after the concept was verified by customer demands. 

The conclusion consists of a proposed framework of how to commercialize an analysis technique targeting the FF sector. This proposed framework could potentially serve as a general framework when commercializing other FF products or services.},
  author       = {Åsheim, Christian},
  keyword      = {commercialization,business development,start-up,venture creation,Functional food,glycaemic response,analysis technique,livsmedelsteknik,food engineering},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Business development of a novel functional food concept},
  year         = {2015},
}