The client was keen to understand how
Chinese consumers would actually use this new type of product given their limited experience of western
ingredients would they use? How would they cook it? Would they adapt it by
adding their own seasonings and flavourings?
MMR felt that it was important to capture the consumer’s end-to-end
experience with the product in real time rather than via a diary, so arranged
for a small research team to spend a day with each study participant.
visiting consumers at home, we also had the opportunity to acquire deeper
insight into daily meal preparation and identify challenges presented by the
‘real’ kitchen environment. We were able to see the types of utensils,
equipment and ingredients on hand, and observe consumer reactions to the
client’s product. The interviewer was able to ask the consumer exactly what
he/she was doing and why at every step.
Our approach uncovered some unique but deeply engrained behaviours that
might have been missed by conventional research methods as these were taken for
granted by consumers.
Furthermore, we found that there was a fundamental
disconnect between the notion of preparing an ‘alternative’ dish and the use of
Chinese cooking methods and equipment, such as stir frying in a wok. Our
recommendation was to reinforce the alternative cues through the flavours, specific
recipe ideas and other communication about the products.
The client's NPD team followed our guidelines on
recipe development, particularly with respect to the tendency of Chinese
consumers to ‘tweak’ recipes using familiar local seasonings such as soy sauce,
rice wine, ginger, garlic, etc.
Further product testing and co-creation research is being planned to
take forward some new recipes designed specifically for the Chinese market.