Benchmarking means monitoring your product's performance in its market to define how it compares in terms of product attributes and consumer appeal. Often carried out blind, that is, without packaging and branding, benchmarking really informs about the true performance of your product and its characteristics and will identify strengths and weaknesses. Regular benchmarking will alert you to competitor activity such as reformulation, and inform about the potential threat from new product entries.
Other applications of benchmarking are as part of NPD and in QA to compare new prototypes or recipe variations with existing market products or in Quality Assurance to understand the impact of variation between products from different production plants or processes.
The approach to Benchmarking is flexible and every benchmarking study is designed to suit your timescales, budget and objectives. We use a combination of Sensory techniques, especially descriptive profiling, to fingerprint the products of interest and define their similarities and points of difference. In addition, Quantitative Consumer Research is employed to measure the relative appeal of the products amongst the target consumer population and identify specific groups of consumers with different responses.
Combining the two gives you maximum insight as to what is differentiating your product from the competition, how this is impacting on the consumer response and what action to take to defend your position.