Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Food & Drink Research – Recipe for Success #PLRat20

Over the last twenty years, we’ve come up with lots of new recipes to give our clients exactly what they need. That juicy quote, tasty insight and slap-up conclusion that leaves them wanting more, and ready for their next course of understanding. All this experience of serving up results has left us confident we know the ingredients for a successful piece of research in the food and drink industry. Here we’re going to share elements of that recipe for success.


A client – manufacturer, retailer, supplier or marketing agency is ideal

A brief – the tastier the better

A product or category – a whole line or an individual flavour, a packet or a logo

A budget – we can create a mouth-watering debrief tailored to the budget in hand 

1. Take a client, and listen carefully to their requirements. Where do they sit in the food supply chain? What do they want? Where are they hoping the research will lead? Throughout the noughties we helped Tesco re-launch their own range of sushi, we helped them re-shape the yogurt aisle, we studied all aspects of the Finest range and made it even finer. Meanwhile we were helping some suppliers, like Samworth Brothers take control of the premium sausage market, hold sway in pork pies, dominate sandwiches bought in the likes of Waitrose and M&S. Chopping carrots and onions and potatoes into the mix, we worked with both suppliers and retailers, and helped them understand people’s vegetable buying habits in more depth. 

2. Carefully add some quantitative work. Done in the right way, a simple questionnaire can reveal a lot. Have people heard of a certain own range product? Do people ‘like’ this product as much as they ‘like’ the competitor? Extra prizes here if you can figure out the retailer we’ve been working on taste tests for… 

3. Lightly dust some assisted shops into the pot. When considering store layout, competitors, or packaging, what better way to see how customers react than to be there with them as they experience it first hand? This is something that we have used more and more in recent years, and being in the store environment can lead to some revealing insights. 

4. Add in some tempting qualitative work. Considered a real specialty of the company, we are big advocates of the group discussion and depth interview. Bakemark (now CSM) has enlisted our help over a number of years to explore the world of muffins, of doughnuts, of cookies, of brownies, of cup cakes, of basically all things headed ‘sweet treat’.  

5. Serve beautifully. Packaging should not be underestimated, and has formed a huge element of our work. So we’ve helped Princes with new bottle shapes and new designs for its entire range of own label carbonates. We helped Cott develop the first double concentrate squashes for Sainsbury. We had the pleasure of working on the packaging and in-store layouts for the Christmas and Easter product range at Thorntons.
With over twenty years of experience, we look forward to much more work in the food and drinks industry, and the chance to cook up more recipes for success. Go on, try us. As they say, the proof’s in the pudding.