Product Development Brief and Feasibility

At QualDes, we use the Product Development Brief, as a tool, in the introduction of a new product. If the project is to be successful, it is important to plan the process. That being said, equally important to ensure adequate thought has gone into the product concept before work begins.

To achieve this it is important to get the product concept detailed in writing in a product development brief.  This will ensure there are no misunderstandings about what is required.  Also, it ensures that the Marketing Department must put some thought into the concept and have some real justification for the project.

Marketing Feasibility

Potential new products should  be channelled through marketing for initial screening before acceptance as a project.

The following criteria can be used for the Study :-

  •    Objective of the new product – line extension, new product range , new target  market etc
  •    Marketing Strategy – How dose this product fit in to the entire market  drive
  •   Market size – Is there real potential volume sales
  •   Market trend – New market, Fad market
  •   Estimated turnover – Can we make any money
  •   Market Rank – Are we market leaders etc
  •    Unique selling position – Why will the customer want to buy this product
  •   Able to sustain Media support
  •   Compatible with existing business
  •    Delivers a Nominal contribution before marketing

The feasibility should provide a brief analysis of how the new product meets the above criteria, resulting in a recommendation.

Also consider, A qualitative concept evaluation market research study can also be undertaken at  this stage to gauge consumer interest.  Brands, sub-brands, positioning, packaging format etc may be explored at this stage.

A Product Development Brief can now be written to define the product.  There will need to be imput from several areas of the business to complete this.

Also, A Timeline should be completed to ensure product launch dates can be met. Here is an example of whats required in a Product Development Brief

Product Development Brief

Product and Project Description                            
Market Description
Tick the markets the product is aimed at   Retail –large    small            Food Service                 Other                                  
Benchmark Products (closest product to your concept)    
What is the Product point of difference    
Who is the Target market       
Estimated sales volumes – size of market    
How will you get it to the supermarket    
What is the Cost of the product  
Proposed Launch Date  
Product Description
Flavour Variants    
Particulate Content – size shape, how many    
Texture/ Mouth Feel –    
Ingredient Requirements 
Any ingredients that can not be used – 
Any ingredients that must be used –
Storage and Distribution Ambient Chilled  Frozen
Intended shelf life requirements  
Nutritional Claims- What do you want to say about the product        
Health Claims    
Allergen considerations  
Special Customer groups (Vegan, Halal )  
What are the non-negotiables (no compromise on this requirement)    
If a compromise has to be made what area would you compromise on  
Packaging – Type, dimensions
Inner Unit Type of pack (bottle pouch etc) – Packaging material – (glass, plastic etc)  – Size of pack – Labelled or pre printed – Artwork and design required –  
Outer carton Selling units per carton – Carton material –
Proposed processing steps  
Is a Co-manufacturer required   Yes / No  
Is equipment capex required  
Is new technology or technical knowledge required  

What Does the Product Development Brief Really Mean?

This is the point in the development process were the R&D professional needs to convert customer language into technical terms.

Often we are presented with very vague terms in a marketing brief and we must convert these into words that will help us to develop the product.

For example, how do we formulate a flavour such as, Taste Home Made, Rich, Traditional, Distinctive.  The R&D professional must spend some time fully understanding the words.  Therefore, ask questions of either the customer or the marketing department.

Think about these as strategies to use :-


  • Is it possible to have a natural- eg cola flavour?
  • What is the difference between natural and nature identical OK?
  • Will the customer pay the extra cost?


  • What dose the legislation say about the claim?
  • How difficult is it to develop the product with that claim?
  • Is it a valid claim- eg Lite chocolate cake?
  • How important is it to the customer or is it just a perceived need?


Remember, Ask what is the meaning of the word – eg what does Traditional Flavour mean to you?  If you had to make this traditional product what ingredients would you use?

Are there any similar products on the market to compare?


Do we want to ‘Australianise’ this (Asia, American, African) product ?

What are the cost restraints on the ‘gourmet’ product. Therefore, consider does the customer really want gourmet or are they still looking for a value family affordable product ?

Our next blog will cover some development tips for the Food Technologist

Posted By