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We can offer solutions to these common issues:

What do the consumers think of your product? Conducting Taste Tests

Thinking of changing raw materials to improve the bottom line?  Your technical lab experts taste the difference but what about the consumer? Is it a problem? Check out Reformulations

Do you think the competition product tastes better?  If so how do you improve your appeal without making your product taste like your competitors? See our Competition section.

Marketing has developed a concept but there is not yet product developed to test?  See our New Product Development section.

Is there a gap in the market that needs to be filled? See our Mapping section under Competition.

Do you feel that the language the consumers use to describe differences in products is unrelated to any directional help in manufacturing? See our Sensory section.

Focusing on maintaining you’re house flavor is important except where the changing tastes of consumers are overlooked.  Do you feel that your technical product specs do not always reflect the consumers’ preference for products? See our Descriptor section.

Does there seem to be a growing language gap that just not between consumers and your production experts but between your production and marketing / sales departments? See our section on Descriptors

Worried about holding on to your market share because your ad spending is limited?  Are you confident that your taste is as competitive as your advertising in meeting the competition?  Even if you have superior advertising an inferior taste may be holding your performance back.  See our section on Image vs Taste

 

Our approach works with both your technical people and the consumers to bridge the language gap as well as the sensory gap to tell you what’s’ needed.  Our research process help you make the decision based upon what the consumers think so you’re better informed.

 

Step One

Work with your technical department to assess the sensory issues that are fundamental to your specific business process.  Work with existing consumer research material to assess the gap between consumers and the technical department.  Recommend a sensory profile to assess the product on an ongoing basis.  This procedure will require a focus group approach as well as desk time to map out and build the potential flavor profile.

 

Step Two    

Ensure that the filed work is conducted as close as possible to the procedure and test conditions used in the lab.  In addition samples are selected by the lab as representative before they are put into the consumer survey.  This will ensure better support by the technical people when the results come in

 

Step Three

A target consumer is agreed to based on the companies strategy.  Field work is conducted in a way as to reduce bias as much as possible.  Samples are rotated in order of presentation.  Respondants are tested for wareout  prior to major work to test for the maxium number of samples tested before flavor wareout becomes an issue.  Fieldwork should be structured so subsequent surveys can be compared over time.

 

Step Four

Field data is tabulated using leading edge software from SAS and the results presented in easy to read graphics.  Key drivers will be identified so that products may be arrayed along two dimensions so that their competitive taste positions may be tracked and positioned.

 

Step Five

Usually this type of work identifies opportunities or problems that require further work.  After the technical department has prepared new samples their direction can be tested along with other inhouse or competitive samples.     

 

Quality Assurance vs. Consumer Demand

Most food and beverage manufacturers have technical departments and experts who ensure quality remains high and consistent.  Often the most critical demand is that the products taste the same from run to run and year over year regardless of the variation in the ingredients.  This type of approach focuses the training of technical experts around measuring and sensing small product changes and developing a “house” character.  This is a very important role and forms the basis of every quality control department.  Focusing on maintaining you’re house flavor is important except where the changing tastes of consumers are overlooked.  When consumers start to turn away from this “house” character flavor then what?  What do the consumers think of their product?  Do they think the competition product tastes better?  If so how do you improve your appeal without making your product taste like your competitors?  Do you feel that your technical product specs do not always reflect the consumers’ preference for products?  Do you feel that the language the consumers use to describe differences in products is unrelated to any directional help in manufacturing? Do consumers seem to be asking for one thing yet turn away from your product when you give them exactly what they asked for in the product?  Do your marketing and sales departments agree with the production department on what’s’ needed to meet consumer demand?  Or does there just seem to be a growing language gap that just not between consumers and your product but between your production and marketing sales departments.

 

Maintaining Quality In A Growing Cost Sensitive Environment

Then there’s the ever-growing problem of production costs. Thinking of changing raw materials to improve the bottom line?  Your technical lab experts taste the difference but what about the consumer?  Will they go along with the change or desert you for the competition?  You’re nervous about a simple paired comparison test in that it might not catch the volume loving “Heavy user” in your target market who might turn away if such a change is made.  Worried about holding on to your market share because your ad spending is limited?  Are you confident that your taste is as competitive as your advertising in meeting the competition?  Have you calculated the cost of one share point to your business?  Even if you have superior advertising an inferior taste may be holding your performance back.  

            

              

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Copyright © 2002 Philip Wolf Consumer Product Research Limited
Last modified: August 2, 2010