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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Development of new food products : an impact assessment approach Edinburgh, Melanie J.

Abstract

Food Product Development (FPD) is a complex process. The design and development of food products is accomplished by following one of a variety of FPD frameworks. Common to all these frameworks is the disconnection between food and humankind, nature, and culture. This issue accentuates an array of socio-economic and environmental concerns. Understanding consumers, and the food industry, is prerequisite to this research which proposes that in order for a new food product to be successful, it should be safe, and nutritious, and also, socially acceptable, environmentally beneficial, and economically feasible. To address this, several FPD frameworks were assimilated into a Collective framework, which was then reviewed in the context of the related concerns. Concerns are translated to impacts, Impact Assessment particular Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), served as an analytical tool for the assessment, prediction, and mitigation of potential impacts prior to development. A critique of Impact Assessment was presented prior to the synthesis of EIA and the Collective FPD framework, leading to the creation of an Enhanced FPD framework. This framework is incomplete without Industry guidelines, which comprise Guiding strategies and an Economic framework designed appropriately for new FPD by food scientists, and other professionals within the food industry. The Guiding strategies are designed to appropriate the social and environmental concerns of consumers central to the Economic framework. Cost Benefit Analysis is an important tool of this Economic framework. The argument is that the Industry guidelines must be passed through an economic filter in order for them to be effective. The economic filter first ensures that the food product results in positive internal profits for the company. The filter then deals with external social costs such as impacts on health, and the environment. A case study is included to illustrate the achievements of the newly proposed Enhanced FPD Framework. A new food product designed for a rural African market, illustrates how this new framework addresses the identified concerns. The proposed framework recognizes that new food products can be similar and yet designed for different consumers in different locations.

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