Improving the food product development process with food market research

Angeline Martin




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Food market research is critical to the food product development process.  In an increasingly challenging marketplace, extensive planning and research is required to produce successful food and beverage products.

New food product development objectives include acquiring new customers, expanding into new geographic markets, boosting profits, and growing market share. Food market research is often used when developing new food concepts, adding to existing product lines and when making modifications to existing products.

Most food product market research tends to focus on additions and modifications as entirely new concepts are rare and involve a higher level of risk.


Food product development

Prior to launching a product, food market research can help with multiple aspects of developing a new food product; from uncovering the needs of the market to giving an indication as to whether a new product will meet those needs.

Aspects that should be explored in food research include the following:

  • Is the purpose of the product clear?
  • Who are the potential customers?
  • What customer segments exist in the market?
  • Do potential customers see the benefit of the product?
  • What needs do the potential users have?
  • What needs does the product meet?
  • What products are currently bought by potential users to fill those existing needs?
  • Why do those products not fully meet the prospective customer’s need?
  • How likely is it that a prospective customer would buy the new product?

The answer to all of these questions need to be found, but in a way that does not create bias.  Bias in a market research survey will lead to false information which can have a catastrophic effect when developing a new product.



In addition to new food product development, aspects such as package design, advertising, in-store promotions, coupons and discount options all need to be evaluated, then designed and then re-evaluated.  Focus groups, friendship groups, cluster groups and diary studies are just a few of the methods used for evaluation.



Food market research is also beneficial to inform the pricing strategy.  It can be used to uncover the price that a prospective customer be prepared to pay for the new product.


Place (Distribution)

Food research can be used to find out how and where prospective customers would expect to be able to buy a product.


Growth and Maturity Phases

Food market research may be used throughout the lifespan of a product.  Areas such as pricing, customer satisfaction, views on the product, comparisons with the strengths and weaknesses of competitors’ products should all be analysed. This kind of market research can discover potential opportunities for further product development.

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About the author: Angeline Martin

As Marketing Manager, Angeline has more than 20 years of marketing management experience. She holds a BA (hons) Business Studies degree, specialising in marketing, from the University of Ulster. A Chartered Marketer, Angeline is also a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing.

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