The development of innovation theory points to the growing importance of innovation in the processes occurring in the economy. The paper characterizes evolutionary changes innovation models - starting with the linear models up to the cooperation network concept. Particular attention was paid to the creation of contemporary models of innovation and the possibility of their implementation in the food industry. It was found that innovation should increasingly be based on the concept of open innovation. It assumes the active participation of many actors in the creation of cross-organizational knowledge and skills improvement. This trend may be the answer to food industry companies to the growing competitive pressure in global markets.