vrd for mulino bianco breakfast


How we envisioned the future of breakfast for Mulino Bianco

“The design process allowed us to go beyond passing consumer fads, innovating even in smaller market segments.”

Barilla team member

The challenge of this project was to delineate a future vision for Mulino Bianco’s breakfast offering. To achieve this, it was imperative to commence with the history that the brand has woven with Italians over more than 40 years, and subsequently project it onto the evolution of Italians’ own habits.

The history of Mulino Bianco is also the history of the Italian breakfast. It is, in fact, with the launch of Mulino Bianco’s biscuits in 1976 that the habit of having the first meal in the morning was consolidated. The breakfast then evolves over time in harmony with the bakery products launched by the historic brand of the Barilla Group.

The approach

We established a distinctive design process rooted in Human-Centric innovation. The objective was to centralise, not the breakfast market per se, but rather the individuals who shape it: the Italians and the Mulino Bianco employees.

Methodologically, we have given precedence to participatory activities involving people from various Italian regions and demographic generations. Our objective is to attentively listen to their needs, opinions, and ideas.

A total of 240 people, 190 consumers and 50 professionals from Mulino Bianco and Barilla, participated in all iterative activities, from the research process to development.

Our iterative process with consumers has monitored the changing needs of consumers regarding breakfast and, through analysis, we have identified new opportunities.

120 Consumers

from 4 Italian cities shared their breakfast consumption during a 4-day journey.

20 consumers

hosted us at home to learn more about breakfast strategies and habits.

50 consumers

actively participated in the iterative workshops of the project.

50 Barilla professionals

actively participated to all the workshops of the project.

From data and assumptions to the decisions

Working alongside a multi-department team from Mulino Bianco, we have conceptualised new visions, explored innovative territories, and developed new products for today’s and tomorrow’s consumers

The stages of research and development have progressed through co-creation, co-design, concept clinics, pretotyping development, and clinics. A total of 12 iterative activities have enabled us to comprehend, plan, analyze, and gradually refine all the learnings, solutions, and strategies obtained.

By closely collaborating with Barilla professionals throughout the entire project, it was possible to facilitate the assimilation of new input from the research and assist them in taking full ownership of the output, incorporating it into their future innovation pipeline.

The outcome was 14 product and service concepts, aligned with the new breakfast strategy defined for Mulino Bianco.

Key implemented actions:

  • Territories for innovation and strategies for innovating the future of breakfasts,
  • Early food pretotypes testing method,
  • 14 concepts approved,
  • 4 products already launched at the Italian market,

“VRD has guided us through a complex and challenging Innovation project around breakfast. Clear methodology, highly professional moderation of the numerous workstreams and in the end a super actionable list of innovation ideas of which some have entered our Masterplan. Great job!”

Julia Schwoerer, President Bakery Category at Barilla



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