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