2010/706 Accelerated new product development: Blue Swimmer Crab pilot
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2010/706 Accelerated new product development: Blue Swimmer Crab pilot


By Janet Howieson



The aim of the project was to develop a new series of value added Abacus crab products that have been researched, developed, costed, branded and trialled in the marketplace prior to further large financial commitment to facilitate production. This new accelerated product development methodology, building the products from desk-top to cook-top, and improving the likelihood of market success prior to large scale production, represented an innovative approach to seafood product development in smaller businesses.

Using market expertise (focussed on food service market) and technical expertise there were a number of iterations which allowed the original number of 92 product concepts to be narrowed down to the final two commercially available and market acceptable products in less than 14 months. The multiple assessments both from a sensory and market acceptability perspective enabled renewed confidence in market attractiveness. The assessment also ensured that form, portion size and packaging were based on expert market opinion. Cost was also minimised by the four day ideation process. The process implemented also allowed for a comparison with currently available products early on in the development process.


Following successful completion of the trials, and following factor y modification to facilitate crab cake production, 16 palettes of crab cakes were produced (~288,000) and the product reached the market in September 2011. The crab bisque has also been market tested, but further production and marketing of this product is the subject of a commercial partnership between Abacus and Prestige Foods. The Crab Cake product, which is made in-house at Abacus, reached the market in September 2011, with over 700,000 cakes sold to date.

The accelerated product development methodology, loosely based on the stage gate methodology for new product development has been shown to be an alternative and feasible approach for new product development in the seafood industry.