Monitoring product quality
A breakfast cereal manufacturer wanted to understand how their product compared to the competition and to the own label market. Predicted changes in ingredient suppliers and processing challenges together with increased competitor activity in the market meant that an ongoing monitoring system to track product quality was required.
We implemented a system of regular product benchmarking that compared the client's product against three key competitors twice during the year. It was important to capture not only the consumer response to the cereals but also understand the impact of in-house changes on product attributes. Moreover, it was critical to identify and track any changes that the competitors were making to their products.
What We Did
A trained sensory panel evaluated selected flavour and textural attributes of the cereal, when eaten with and without milk. In addition, we carried out consumer testing, with people rating their overall liking of the cereal and we collected their views of the flavour and texture, with and without milk. The consumers also answered diagnostic questions about the attributes assessed by the panel, using Just about Right (JAR) scales. The JAR scale data was analysed by penalty analysis to identify which attributes were impacting most on consumer liking and which, therefore, needed to be modified.
What We Found
Sensory profiles showed the differences between the client's and competitor cereals at each evaluation time. Penalty analysis of consumer data indicated which product attributes needed to be adjusted in order to increase consumer appeal.