WESTMINISTER, COLO. — New product development is returning to normal in 2023 after taking a backseat to addressing and resolving significant supply chain disruptions the past few years, according to a survey of 287 industry executives from food and beverage companies around the world and conducted by TraceGains, a networked ingredients marketplace service.

Specifically, 64% of respondents said they plan on investing more in new product development this year.

Consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands introduced fewer products in 2020 and 2021, however, TraceGains data confirms the rise in new product development this year. Additionally, 67% said they plan to modify multiple formulations this year and 33% said they need to modify anywhere from 6 to 20 formulations.

“We’re always taking the industry’s pulse for new insights and our latest survey shows that in 2023 brands are taking proactive measures to remain competitive — whether that’s on the production side or R&D with new recipes,” said Gary Iles, senior vice president of marketing and business development. “Rather than allow market conditions to overrun their business, more food and beverage brands are taking matters into their own hands. The future looks bright for CPGs that remain focused on putting consumers first by bringing new products to market faster and more cost effectively.”

Contract manufacturing is coming into play for some manufacturers with more than 55% saying they outsource more of their manufacturing compared to three years ago.

Survey respondents said the benefits of contract manufacturing include getting products onto shelves faster, saving costs on facilities and equipment and circumventing labor shortages 13%.

Respondents to the survey by roles included personnel in quality, regulatory, food safety, other, R&D/innovation, supply chain and operations. About 86% said they are overworked to some extent. More than half of the respondents said they would favor adding automation tools and transform the digital infrastructure over more traditional approaches such as increasing employee headcount and increasing supplier diversity.

Of those respondents, 53% favored adding work automation tools such as real time risk-flagging, sharing among others. Forty-seven percent said they would prefer increased employee headcount, increased supplier diversity and reliability, and tools/resources to better handle audits.