Strategies on innovation in agrifood multinationals

Oscar Alfranca, Ruth Rama, Nicholas von Tunzelmann

Abstract

Agrifood multinationals are usually considered the world’s most important innovators in the F&B field and fundamental agents for technological change in the Spanish agrifood sector. The innovative behaviour of agrifood multinational firms issue is interesting because 50% of technology related to food is linked to innovative activities of these kind of firms. This paper includes a survey on several subjects related to innovation in the agrifood industry, such as the economic conditions for innovation production and the persistence of innovation. The main conclusions based on empirical work with patent data are: 1. Agrifood multinationals combine technical and design innovation rather than using one type of innovation as a substitute for the other. 2. Becoming a permanent innovator is relevant for agrifood multinational firms because the stock of knowledge, which is strategically important, is cumulative. 3. Agrifood multinationals are more prone than other multinationals to globalize their R&D activities. This is particularly true for European agrifood multinationals. 4. Agrifood multinationals are multi-technology companies.

Keywords

Agrifood multinational; patents; innovation; food industry

Subject classification

F23, L66.

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