Food sector SMEs and innovation types

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Purpose ‐ This article aims to offer insights into the range of innovations in food sector SMEs, and demonstrate the way in which managers classify their innovations on the basis of Francis and Bessant's classification of innovations into the following four types: product, process, position, and paradigm. Design/methodology/approach ‐ As part of a larger questionnaire-based survey on innovation in food sector SMEs, respondents were asked to provide examples of their recent innovations and to categorise them as product, process, position, or paradigm innovations. Findings ‐ Food sector SMEs offered a wide range of examples of innovation. They were able to classify their innovations into product, process, position or paradigm innovations. Further, there is evidence that food sector SMEs are engaged in a range of innovation types, although a greater number of examples were offered for product innovation than for other types of innovation. Additionally, there is evidence of overlap and complementariness between different types of innovation. Originality/value ‐ Although the food sector plays an important role within the UK economy, innovation in food and drink sector SMEs has received relatively limited attention. This article offers interesting insights into the reality of innovation in food sector SMEs. In addition, it demonstrates the applicability of Francis and Bessant's model of types of innovation to SMEs in this sector.
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