Founded over 90 years ago, Tasty Baking Co.’s Tastykakes have been one of the most popular snack foods in the Philadelphia area. However, due to stagnant sales, CEO Charles Piźzi decided that a line extension for Tastykakes would be the right solution to boost performance. With the help of marketing manager Karen Schutz and research manager John Sawicki, Tasty Baking Co set out to ride the emerging trend on healthier snacks and embark on the journey to produce and launch a new line of low-carb Tastykakes (later to be named Sensables) with a tight deadline. II. Problem Statement
Given the story on the development process of Sensables, how did that process compare with the new products process discussed in the book? Would you question anything Tastykake did? Do you think the Sensables line will succeed? Why or why not? a. Objectives
i. To analyse the differences between the Sensables product development process and the new products process presented in the book. ii. To analyse critical factors/events that Tasty Baking Co. did or did not do.
III. Analysis and Findings
The book by Crawford and Di Benedetto present a new products process separated into 5 phases (see Appendix). For the purposes of this paper, the group shall analyse, discuss, and present their findings by phase. Due to the lack of information provided by the case, certain assumptions may be made throughout this part of the paper. Phase 1: Opportunity Identification and Selection
Since the first phase is strategic in nature and is difficult to define or describe (Crawford and Di Benedetto), it is not the group’s place to truly say whether Tasty Baking Co. followed the process or not. However, what we can see from the case is that there was already an existing trend in healthy low-carb products. While the case doesn’t mention if a proper study was done by the organization, the group can only assume that the decision to create a low-carb brand extension was born out of an internal mandate, specifically from the CEO, due to stagnant sales. Since there was no alternative opportunity identified, there can also be no selection process. Phase 2: Concept Generation
The trend presented in the case was rather specific being low-carb products. While it is recommend to have customer involvement in this phase (Crawford and Di Benedetto), it is seen in the case that Tasty Baking Co. was already set on the concept that they wanted to incorporate. Although there was no form of formal or proper customer involvement, Melchiorre also wanted their brand extension to be sugar-free to address their aged consumers.Sawicki and Schutz also brought in supplier involvement on board the product design while it was still in its early stages. Phase 3: Concept/Project Evaluation
This phase was more or less skipped entirely by Tasty Baking Co. Since top management was adamant about producing low-carb brand extensions of their products, there seemed to be no room for failure or no way to back out of development. There is no evidence in the case of any financial or business plan being made or reviewed. If their new brand extension needed to only have one thing it definitely should be a low-carb count. Throughout the case any form of evaluation seemed to be done through taste testing. Phase 4: Development
“This is the phase during which the item acquires finite form—a tangible good or a specificsequence of resources and activities that will perform an intangible service.It is also the phase during which the marketing planis sketched and graduallyfleshed out.” (Crawford and Di Benedetto) Since Tasty Baking Co. was to do a brand extension, resource preparation was not a problem. Involving their suppliers in the earlier stages also helped ease the burden. As mentioned earlier, there is no business plan of any sort involved in the case. However, it is evidenced that ever since the beginning, Schutz and Sawicki have been busy periodically creating samples of their new product. Because of this, the proper minor tweaks were made and the doughnuts were discontinued. It is also seen how Schutz continually considers on how to market the brand extension.While Sawicki is busy developing a product according to protocol, Schutz is readying the sales team. Phase 5: Launch
This is the phase where commercialization of the plans and prototypes from the development phase and the distribution and sale of the new product begin (Crawford and Di Benedetto). The case does not delve into specifics of after the launch. From what can be analysed in the case, Schutz had already made the necessary arrangements by preparing the sales force for the introduction of the brand extension. Upon launch, it was also mentioned that the local newspapers and radio shows were covering their Sensables line. Other commendable events that we see throughout the case include: 1. Constant communication either between Schutz and Sawicki, or Melchiorre, or the suppliers. 2. Continuous marketing effort of Schutz throughout the development process. 3. Excellent team effort between Schutz and Sawicki.
IV. Conclusions and Recommendations
Although there were similarities between the product development process of Tasty Baking Co. and the new product process presented by Crawford and Di Benedetto, the bulk and significant parts were either skipped by the organization or was simply not presented in the case. While there was good teamwork between Schutz and Sawicki, the whole process did not seem as systematic as the process presented within the book. However, it is the group’s belief that Tasty Baking Co. was lucky and that the Sensables line will succeed because of a strong trend, numerous testing including a consumer taste testing, and Schutz role in considering the marketing throughout the whole process. The group recommends the removal of the practice on internal mandating without presentation of convincing data.
While internal mandates can push the development of products or services previously thought to be undoable, it is also susceptible to rash decisions and blind conformance. While it has been acknowledged that there is really no universally successful process for new product or service development, the group recommends that Tasty Baking Co. follow more closely the process outlined within the book. By using a more systematic process, kinks can be earlier addressed such as the discontinuation of the Sensable doughnuts. The group believes that the doughnuts could have been fixed or discontinued earlier if consumer involvement was integrated earlier other than towards the launching.