Date of Award


Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Business (Research)


Department of Accounting and Information Systems

First Advisor

Marie Dorgan


Traditionally Ireland focused on commodity based food products. In recent years there has been a shift towards value added food products. There has however been little academic research undertaken investigating the role of finance in developing value added products. This study will examine the importance of the value added food sector in the Irish food industry and will also examine new product development (NPD) processes to highlight the role finance plays in developing value added food products. The researcher used semi-structured interviews of seven industry experts as the research technique.

Value added products have many benefits including higher margin and less risk of market volatility. However it is evident from this study that there is and always will be a place for basic commodity ba.sed products in the market place. It is not possible for value added products to make up Ireland’s entire food product range. However adding value to standard commodity based products creates greater opportunities for food manufacturers to achieve a higher profit margin.

This study highlights that every food company has their own and unique way in developing new food products. Some food companies use a structured method while others develop new products sometimes by chance through trial and error. This study highlights that many of the larger food companies use a structured process. The process is usually formulated in-house for many of these food companies. In contrast the vast majority of small food companies take a more natural approach.

This study highlights that accounting and finance play a significant role within the Irish food industry. It is critical to have a sound business plan which has undergone proper financial scrutiny by an accountant. Strong upfront financial evaluation is very important and the role of the accountant is critical to this. The role of accountants in the NPD process normally depends on the individual organisation. However this study finds that the NPD team must be cross- functional and must include the finance function to maximise returns from the NPD process.

This study highlighted many problems associated with the role of accountants in the NPD process. One of the major problems is differences of opinion of the role of accounting and the debated perceived functions associated with accountants. This study discovered it is important to debate and evaluate all potential outcomes of clashing priorities to ensure proper decision making. Accountants are too important to ignore in the NPD process. This study however highlighted that many accountants don’t become involved early enough in the NPD process. Some companies don't engage with accountants up front in the NPD process and this is potentially a very costly error.

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