Abstract for: Innovation diffusion and bandwagon effect. The case of the palm oil in the Italian bakery industry

The Italian bakery products industry, a 7 billion Euros market, has been recently interested by a process of deep transformation ignited by the introduction of palm oil free products. In the second half of 2015 a market player introduced a new biscuit line with a palm oil free formulation, it supported the products with a massive communication campaign leveraging on increasing media attention on the possible health related issues of palm oil consumption. Suddenly a bandwagon effect started in the market and all major players reformulated their products eliminating palm oil, eventually flagship products with a strong and long lasting market leadership were interested by reformulation. Investments in advertising soared and more than one incumbent experienced significant discontinuities in its market and financial performances. The palm oil free formulation can be treated as a new technology that in less than one year become the industry standard following innovation dynamics already observed in other sectors. In particular we observed that a pivotal role has been played by the media and by a highly educated customer base that ignited a bandwagon effect determining the affirmation of the new technology standards.