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PROCESS EXPO | Expert in Residence
Product Line Extensions – An Effective and Efficient Way to Introduce New Products
Joe Cordray Ph.D. | Iowa State University

Introduction of new products is an important element of success. Product line extensions are an effective and efficient way to introduce new products. A product line extension is when you modify an existing product to produce a new product while utilizing an existing process flow and existing equipment.

Product line extensions typically fall into one of three categories:

  • New meat formulation
  • New seasoning
  • Addition of a new ingredient(s) to an existing product

New Meat Formulation

If you currently produce a pork and turkey frankfurter, you can easily introduce an all-beef frankfurter.

Cordray - March_sausage_pic_1.2

New Seasoning

You can introduce a new product distinctly different from an existing product by changing the seasonings you use. If you currently produce a traditional smoked sausage and instead use a Polish sausage seasoning, you produce a new product. If you use a chorizo-flavored seasoning, you produce a distinctly different product.

Addition of a New Ingredient

Often simply by adding an additional spice or ingredient, you produce a new product. Add some coarse black pepper to smoked sausage and you have black pepper smoked sausage. Add some ground red pepper and crushed red pepper and it is a hot and spicy smoked sausage. Other popular ingredients to add are cheese, jalapeños, dried cherries, dried blueberries, or pieces of dried apple.

Using product line extensions, it is relatively easy to develop new products. However, be cautious not to make your product line too large and difficult to administer. It is always a good idea when you introduce new products to look at your existing product line and consider discontinuing products which are not profitable or low volume.