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As a certified master baker, French master, bakery scientist, and bread and cake expert, Richard Charpentier has a thing or two to say about bakery innovation. As the chief executive officer and founder of Bakery Innovations, he uses his 34 years of experience in the baking industry — which includes product development for both Hostess Brands and Flowers Foods — to help large CPG companies and small startups develop new products.

In this episode of Since Sliced Bread, Mr. Charpentier shares his best practices for new product development and the biggest pitfalls he’s seen in the industry. For him, new products always come down to shelf life.

“I’m always worried about what happens once you package a product and put it out,” he said. “What happens when you put it in a trailer in the summer in 120 degrees? What happens to your product when you package it too warm? It’s not spending enough time and doing the proper testing to validate and ensure your product will be good.”

When done right, true innovation —creating a new product and not a line extension — can change an entire category and keep the industry growing. But this kind of innovation requires investment and commitment from the company.

“As a brand new inventive product, it’s going to require more resources overall, more people involved, and at that point there’s no certainty that your product will be successful, so the risk of investing in product development becomes much higher,” Mr. Charpentier said.

Listen to this episode of Since Sliced Bread to hear why Mr. Charpentier believes brands should take the risk anyway and how to set up any new product for success.

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