Consumer co-creation and new product development: a case study in the food industry

Raffaele Filieri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – The ever changing needs of customers require companies to speed up the new product development process. Thus, the web and social media enable companies to interact and to share knowledge with customers, and to cocreate new products with them. The purpose of this study is to analyze the innovation outputs companies can achieve by involving customers at the “fuzzy front end” of the new product development (NPD) process. Design/methodology/approach – A case study method has been adopted because the phenomenon under investigation is new, it is hard to find similar researches, and the study attempts to increase researchers’ understanding of such phenomenon. The case study method has enabled the exploration of the strategies used and the results achieved by an international food company, which has involved ordinary customers at early stages of its NPD process, namely at the idea generation and screening stages. Findings – The case study shows that customers freely provide valuable, original, new, and feasible ideas that can foster product and service innovation, and may also trigger process innovation. Thus, the case study shows how the company has outsourced to customers the idea generation and screening stages of the NPD. The case illustrates how the food company has used the ideas gathered from customers to develop new products and new services. Increasingly, it shows also how the company has gathered strategic information about consumers’ needs and desires (marketing intelligence). Finally, this research discusses the importance of knowledge codification facilitators and of informal, peer-to-peer, and transparent communication as enablers of consumers’ ideas sharing. Research limitations/implications – The single case study approach may prevent the generalization of results. Originality/value – In marketing and innovation research, there is a dearth of studies on how companies are involving customers through the web at early stages of their NPD process. In addition, there is a lack of in-depth discussion about the innovation outputs generated through cocreation activities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-53
JournalMarketing Intelligence & Planning
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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