The low rate of innovation and high rate of failure of new food products is a cause for concern. Whilst a wide range of product development process factors are known to influence product success and failure, these predictors are based almost exclusively upon investigations into `industrial' rather than food products. In this paper, an analysis of existing models of product development is carried out, a recently developed model for reduced fat food product development is described and implications for best practice in food product development discussed. Market and consumer knowledge and retailer involvement are key success factors in food product development. (C) 2003 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.