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The development of new products and how the process is organised and managed within the firm is a key area in management research due to the high failure rate of new products and the consequent waste of limited resources. Developing new products and being innovative requires companies to have deep understanding of the consumer, the market and the environment but most importantly to effectively apply this knowledge in the development of new products that meet consumer's expectations. This paper aims at developing an innovative framework to incorporate the 'voice of consumer' at early stages of the new product development (NPD) process. To that end, the paper will consider the practical implementation of the Quality Function Deployment (QFD) in the development of new food products. QFD is considered as the most complete and comprehensive methodology for planning the goals of a stream of processes in order to align them with customer's requirements. QFD forces the design team to place customer needs in first place and ensures that this customer focus is kept through the NPD process. In doing so, QFD reduces two types of risks: first, the non- correspondence between product specifications and the wants of a predetermined target consumer group; and second, the risk that final products do not comply with product specifications. To date, QFD has been partially applied in the food area with only a handful of studies venturing in this research area.


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