Mapping the market
A dairy company was looking to expand its product portfolio by launching a new ‘light' spread for the UK and European markets. They needed direction as to the taste and mouthfeel that the product should deliver to both complement the tastes of consumers and offer something slightly different to the market.
In order to create a starting point for a new recipe it was critical to fully understand the taste and texture characteristics of the products on sale across Europe. Our approach focused on gaining this understanding whilst also providing information that could be actioned and added to throughout the iterations of product development.
What We Did
We carried out a market mapping exercise using trained sensory panellists to evaluate 35 spreads from the UK, France, Germany and Italian markets. Samples were evaluated using the technique of Descriptive Sensory Profiling. Outputs were a carefully defined list of terms describing the appearance, aroma, flavour, mouthfeel and aftertaste attributes of each of the spreads and intensity ratings for each of these attributes in each spread.
What We Found
Mapping the samples according to their sensory profiles identified clusters of samples with similar sensory properties and gave the client a clear understanding of the taste profiles of the market leaders in each country. Mapping also highlighted some potential new ‘taste opportunities'. Most interestingly, the Sensory Map revealed that the taste and mouthfeel characteristics of popular spreads in the UK were very different from those that were popular in mainland Europe.
The client took the decision to develop TWO new recipes; one for the UK and one for launch in the rest of Europe. Using the sensory data the target profile for each was scoped out and development commenced. Prototype products were evaluated by the panel against key benchmarks from the initial mapping until, at an appropriate point in development, a programme of consumer research was initiated.