Edward Bergen
Edward Bergen is a Global Food & Drink Analyst experienced in identifying FMCG trends and applying analysis to client projects to highlight opportunities in their categories.

How well do you know how consumers think?

Well, Mintel asked 100 food and drink industry experts at Health Ingredients Europe (HIE) in Germany to tell us their opinions about four newly launched products and compared the results with what consumers actually said.

During the three days of HIE, the experts were asked to answer a range of questions including how likely they would be to buy the product, how tasty they think it is, whether it’s good value for money and how healthy they think it is, for the following products:

  • Nestlé Kit Kat Crispy Wafer Fingers Covered in Couverture Chocolate
  • Rubicon Street Drinks Indian Inspired Nimbu Pani Lemon, Cumin & Mint Still Juice Drink
  • Savoie Yaourt Honey Yogurt with Sunflower, Pumpkin and Flax Seeds
  • Haagen-Dazs Flowers Collection Cherry Blossom, and Lavender & Blueberry Mini Cups

The experts’ results were then compared to those generated by the recently launched* Mintel Purchase Intelligence  research tool, which benchmarks consumer reactions to new product launches to give companies an immediate understanding and analysis of what’s driving purchase decisions.

So how did the experts do?

There were some wide differences between what the experts said compared to consumers.

The Häagen-Dazs product is a great example from a mainstream brand exploring botanical and floral flavours. Botanicals are being used regularly in drinks, often to show a halo of health. The experts at HIE recognised the growing trend, with 66% of them wanting to buy the product, and a huge 73% of them saying it looked tasty. However, the average consumer feels quite different, with only 35% wanting to purchase and 50% feeling it looked tasty. Industry experts may often forget that ice-cream is an indulgent treat, and floral/botanical flavours, may just not cut it.

While for the Kit-Kat chocolate, only 50% of the experts rated it as exciting while 73% of consumers thought it was – giving a difference of 23%. The experts might think that this is not that new, as ruby chocolate has been heard about in the industry for several years and perhaps regard it as a fad.

What did the experts think of Mintel Purchase Intelligence?

Clara Ip, Business Development Manager Europe at PharmHe Global Corp, said: 

“I am impressed how thorough and how much effort PI has gone through to understand customer preferences.

“I am always keen to understand how customer consumption and behaviour are driven by cultural  differences.

“The market trend shown by these PI results could help me as a business developer for  European operations to develop my own strategy for our business in the near future.”

 

Laura Esther Martinez, Marketing & Business Development Manager at Quimivita, said: 

“It’s really impressive how Purchase Intelligence can evaluate so many parameters that are so important for potential buyers.

“The one thing that stood out for me is how the answers from final consumers can be so different from us –  the people who work in the industry.

“I think this can be a very useful and interesting tool, because  you can help improve the successful impact of your product before launching, and avoid some fails.”

Analyst’s viewpoint

One major fact is clear. At times, we in insights, with our heads firmly in the world of innovation and trends, tend to forget that the average consumer is much more conservative with their choices and with their money. A product has to make a balance between being innovative while still ensuring a high level of familiarity. But this may still not be enough, and a new innovation must also be affordable, especially if it wants to target the mainstream.

*Mintel Purchase Intelligence is currently available to companies worldwide looking for purchase intent research on consumer food and drink markets in the US, UK, France and Australia.

Want to find out more about how you can use Mintel Purchase Intelligence to help your business get the edge? Then visit: http://www.mintel.com/mintel-purchase-intelligence or contact David Jones djones@mintel.com