They wanted to identify the sensory drivers of liking and how well their product delivers these attributes compared to key competitors, thus identifying scope for product improvement.
We used our proprietary SensoHedonic® Optimization approach to provide a detailed understanding of consumer patterns of preference in the Chinese juice category. Products which were selected to represent different sensory characteristics (including competitor products, juices from other Asian markets and prototype products) were objectively profiled using our expert sensory panel (Sensory Science Centre, Shanghai). Of these, 12 products which spanned the sensory space were taken forward to consumer testing to enable us to perform robust statistical analysis to link the sensory data with consumer preference.
Segmentation of consumers based on their liking of the product set revealed 4 segments, with our client’s product the most liked juice for the largest segment (accounting for over a third of consumers). It was actually only disliked by one small segment, and analysis indicated that there was little potential to optimize the product further to increase overall appeal (any changes to the product to increase liking amongst the smaller segment would reduce appeal amongst all other consumers).
Our recommendation therefore was not to change the current liquid, but to consider launching a second variant designed to appeal to the one segment not satisfied by the current product. Through linking sensory data with the consumer segmentation we were able to identify the product characteristics that the new variant should possess to maximize potential.
The client is currently considering whether the opportunity identified is viable from a business perspective and whether the brand can support a dual product strategy.