The drivers of product innovations in pulse-based foods: insights from case studies in France, Italy and USA

Par Matteo Lascialfari, Marie-Benoît Magrini, Pierre Triboulet
The United-Nations named 2016 the International Year of Pulses to promote pulses for more sustainable agro-food systems. However, pulses are hampered by lock-in and new pulse food products are required. This study analyzed pulses-based food product innovations dynamics in some Western countries, in order to provide guidance for researchers and practitioners about the factors that promote and hinder those innovations. Combining literature from innovation economics and sociotechnical transition studies, we built comprehensive guidelines to explore the multiple aspects of those innovations, applied on twelve cases studies of French and Italian firms that introduced such products in France, Italy and the US. The results show that firms’ strategies were first focused on product differentiation, without specific communication about pulses’ benefits. Moreover, the findings revealed that there are still too few links between food processors and the agricultural sector to foster a sustainable conception of the agro-food chain.
JEL Codes: O300, L100, M300
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