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BrandWeek has an interview with Walgreen’s chief innovation officer Colin Watts, in which he evaluates the current state of CPG product innovation. An excerpt:

“What I see among the big, major consumer packaged goods companies is marketers know that no matter what the economy is like, their success is predicated on coming forward with new innovation year after year. And the entrepreneurial start-ups also know that frankly, [hard] economic times or not, if they have an idea or innovation, they need to market it and they are looking at this situation as basically, even though it’ll be a bit more challenging for some of the products that are premium-priced, they recognize there’s an opportunity to actually push their innovation in the marketplace itself.

“I do think more than ever, we at Walgreens are seeing people being very careful and watching what their price points are. There used to be a tradition that if I introduced something new, I would always ask for a bigger premium from the consumer for it. What you’re seeing now is innovation that goes in the other direction: I’m actually trying to find a way to reduce that opening price point. I’m trying to make this something that is more value-oriented for the consumer because it’s very difficult in today’s environment to introduce a brand new product that is meeting an unproven need and price it really high and expect people to jump on it.”
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