Consumers can be a fickle bunch, so keeping pace with their changing tastes and demands is vital to any food and drink manufacturer’s productivity and growth.
Our skilled researchers plan, design and coordinate the data collection and the understanding you need to help you make better decisions on all things food and drink-related, from ‘will this idea appeal to our core target audience’ to ‘how can I get more people to be willing to try my product’. We can help you identify new products and ideas for existing markets. Or even new markets for existing products.
Our solutions in this area
Product Innovation and Development
Making winning products
Branding and Strategy
Building successful brands
Understanding your category and consumers
Pricing and Promotion
Defining the optimum pricing strategy
Packaging Design, Structure & Sustainability
Making your packaging work for your brand
Range and Portfolio Optimisation
Identifying the perfect combination
Some of our featured work
How do you prefer yours?
Global consumer preference testing: hot drinks
Taking the decision to switch the key ingredient that goes into making your product taste the way it does is not one to be taken lightly. Working in close partnership with one of the biggest High Street hot drinks chains we were able to evaluate the degree of risk associated with a proposed change based on direct consumer feedback. We spoke to customers across three key markets through combined on and off-site controlled quant consumer product testing. The output generated the evidence required by the business to confidently make the ‘go/no go’ decision they needed at a global level.
A seal of approval
Getting the proposition right across the full mix
Our busy lifestyles mean that we are eating ‘on the hoof’ more and more, particularly when it comes to grabbing a relatively healthy snack to bridge the gap between meals. Our client identified a potential opportunity for one of its existing portfolio products to satisfy the snacking needs of three quite distinct target groups. To be confident in its performance prior to launch we tested all elements of the marketing mix with target consumers - from initial proposition, TV ad treatment alternatives, packaging design and format, product delivery and pricing. Using qual and quant approaches we were able to check that the proposition and desired consumption occasions were clearly communicated and delivered against across the full mix. It went down so well in the UK that launch plans are now in consideration across the Atlantic!
Not everyone's a winner
Sense checking your packaging design changes before they get past the post
We’re real advocates of making pack design changes where they lead to a genuine improvement in desired brand image, communication of benefits and ultimately purchasing. But some designs can sometimes make it through the heats to reach the final stage when they may not really qualify for a medal. We’ve been helping a leading confectionery manufacturer put some of its designs through their paces via simple quant online testing to help them avoid a false start and retain their gold standard designs.
A healthy choice?
Decision making & category opportunities for healthier sweet biscuits
On-the-go snacking takes up an increasing proportion of our daily food consumption and supermarket shelves are filling up with healthier options across all categories to offer greater choice (and less guilt) to the consumer. With this in mind, our category challenge was to explore the healthier sweet biscuits fixture – how it’s understood, how it’s shopped and what opportunities exist for maximising sales, converting browsers into purchasers in-store. Using a combined approach of accompanied shopping trips and quant at-fixture interviews we were able to identify real opportunities for our client’s brand, not just in terms of merchandising but also in terms of packaging solutions, POS and disruption at the fixture, while making the decision process easier for the slightly confused shopper.
Getting all aspects of your product just right
Most of us love to eat sweets but we're fussier than you think when it comes to getting the size of these little treats just right. Apart from checking they had a great tasting product, our client also knew how important it was to understand how big it should be to really deliver against on indulgence among a relatively sophisticated audience. So we sent our interviewers off to give some carefully selected consumers a real treat, and they put the product through its paces across the country. A winning size was identified that not only wowed consumers' taste buds but delivered perfectly on indulgence while hitting all the right business KPIs.
A burger fit for a king
Landscaping & identifying opportunities
Our task was to gain a deep understanding of consumer attitudes and behaviours towards pre-prepared meat products to establish ‘what makes a good burger’ to the consumer. Detailed exploration of purchasing behaviour, decision making and usage in the context of the store environment took place, taking into account merchandising and POS. A number of competitor and NPD burgers were also consumer-evaluated to understand their delivery against the ‘best burger’ standard.
Integration of qual discussions, diaries, online quant and central location testing generated the insights and client guidance needed to feed into their volume and loyalty strategy for a major UK grocery retailer in the pre-prepared meats sector.
Achieving impact on shelf in the seasonal aisle
Standing out from the crowd on a busy seasonal fixture brimming with Christmas chocolate novelties is not easy. Our client wanted to achieve this through a change to the existing iconic pack design while ensuring that consumers still found the pack and the brand endearing. With several possible pack design routes to evaluate we used our online pack testing approach to gauge the ability of each design to generate brand reappraisal and broaden appeal. Even with relatively minor differences between some of the designs we were able to tease out the consumer-noticeable differences that led to selection of a design route with the most potential to secure priority shelf space with retailers during the festive season, leading to increased penetration and strengthened brand equity.
Making sense of the category
Our challenge was to generate real category understanding, and make sense of the decision-making process from the shopper perspective. This was no mean feat against a backdrop of a category where retailer interest is relatively low, shelf space is limited and where a major category driver is price and deals. Unlocking ever-limited shelf space and creating a brand footprint was a key focus. The ultimate goal was to understand how to spotlight our client’s products, enabling them to take leadership in what would potentially prove to be a newly defined shopper segment, and to act as the ‘beacon’ brand for that new segment.
Our staged and multi-tool approach incorporating qual, quant and predictive modelling generated a 16 segment solution and the insights necessary for our client to act as credible thought leaders in leveraging dynamic range discussions with the trade.
Making a case for stocking in the on-trade beer channel
We needed to establish if there was any tangible consumer-led support for stocking one of the world’s leading brands of draught beer to the on-trade channel and licensees. Part of our remit was to generate a detailed and clear understanding of the profile of our brand drinkers versus other draught beers drinkers and more importantly how best to leverage this with the trade. We took on the challenge through a relatively complex survey online which took respondents through a multi-stage occasion-led interview. We were able to generate a deep understanding of detailed repertoires across outlets, occasions and party sizes, using these as a back-drop against which our client could develop a trade-led case for the brand in question.
Kneading to get the perfect product
Benchmarking a new bakery product prior to launch
Creating a product that suits the customer’s needs and expectations can be a real challenge. The aim of this project was to establish how a new bakery product would go down among potential consumers, compared with a competitor brand. Hall tests are a great way to speak to potential and existing consumers face to face and truly understand what is important to them, while being able to manage the way the product is served for controlled testing. Numerous product attributes were assessed: from appearance to texture and, of course, overall taste! Presenting respondents with unbranded products enabled us to gather an unbiased assessment of product quality. We were able to highlight which areas to improve in order to increase purchase intent before it was launched into stores.
Oh crumbs ... what a concept!
Identifying winning biscuits concepts
We love working with manufactures at every stage of the innovation process. Sorting out what ideas work and don’t work, before they get too far down the line is just one small part of what we do for our manufacturing clients.
As part of a major brand relaunch we helped a major biscuits company sift through a raft of NPD to identify which ones really had some bite and were worth taking forward. By combining our pricing expertise with relatively simple concept testing we identified genuine winners and losers and how to best optimise them, keeping consumers' taste buds in mind, as well as making the most commercial sense.
Some of our happy clients
Don’t just take our word for it…
"I have to say, you were absolutely outstanding yesterday. Really, it was a joy to watch you in action!"
"Some really interesting insights that have come through on how the category shoppers behave that could potentially help us unlock growth. The dwell time at shelf is one of the most interesting points - it really makes me realise how important our comms is at this point of the P2P."
“I don’t quite have as much fun with any of our other agencies, and we also manage to turn out some great work in the process."