Adding to or changing a menu is often one of the most challenging tasks a retailer faces. Before moving to product development, retailers should study their sales data to be sure the product idea is something their customers and their market wants. The emphasis is on the retailer’s own customers, although industry trends may offer a guide.

Once decided, then innovation requires retailers to consider all logistics. If made on-site, can the new product be prepared consistently? Is it a grab-and-go item or made-to-order? What packaging is required?

And of course, is there a return on investment?

If a retailer creates with customer impulse in mind, a new craveable food item is more likely to result in better sales and profits, Byrne said.

In a recent Technomic consumer survey, Rutter’s Farm Stores tops the list of chains recognized for introducing new and exciting products.

Pictured: Rutter’s Loaded Potato Pizza