: Background: In responsible research and innovation (RRI), innovation is seen as a way in
which humankind finds solutions for societal issues. However, studies on commercial innovation
show that firms respond in a different manner and at a different speed to the same societal issue.
This study investigates what role organizational motives play in the product innovation processes
of firms when aiming for socially responsible outcomes. Methods: This multiple-case study
investigates the motives of food firms for healthier product innovation by interviewing firms about
the organizational motives behind product reformulation and innovation. Results: This study
highlights the importance of having both instrumental and moral motives in the innovation process
when aiming for socially responsible outcomes, and how both these motives interact and contribute
to responsible innovation in industry. Furthermore, the study results question the nature of
relational motives as a separate category from the other two categories of motives, as suggested by
corporate social responsibility (CSR) scholars. Conclusions: If commercial innovation needs to
contribute to solutions for societal issues, the importance of moral motives has to be stressed without
annihilating the instrumental objectives of firms. Both motives contribute to the success factors of
responsible product innovation in industry.