BY HANNAH CAMPBELL
OPERATIONS DIRECTOR, THE WORK PERK
Superfoods such as kale and chia seeds have grown in popularity over the last few years, and now the spotlight is beginning to shine on algae, baobab, birch water and cactus: the new kids on the superfood block, which are all set to take hold this year.
This growing trend for ultra-nutritious foods not only has a direct impact on our eating habits, it drives change in how we prepare our food. This has led to the proliferation of Nutribullets in kitchens across the UK, with many replacing their usual breakfast with a smoothie containing all manner of foods including spinach, kale and avocado. In fact, Nutribullets have grown so much in popularity that retail figures indicate that one was sold every 30 seconds on the Black Friday prior to Christmas last year.
Like any fad or trend, things come and go, and so too does consumer loyalty. So with so many new superfoods securing mass adoption with consumers, how can food brands ensure they are keeping up with emerging trends and consistently developing products that consumers fall in love with? Social media is one option, providing brands with an environment in which they can gauge consumer opinion, as well as leverage online communities by crowdsourcing flavours of products, a technique used by both Walkers and Kit Kat to good effect in the past.
Another more traditional approach available to food brands is sampling new products with mass consumer audiences to obtain their feedback on new recipes or flavours.
Popular tea brand Pukka Herbs partnered with sampling expert The Work Perk to undertake a national campaign that targeted the brand’s audience of female tea drinkers, aged 18-35, that did not currently drink Pukka Herbs tea. The campaign distributed more than 100,000 free samples of Pukka Herbs tea directly to the desks of the brand’s target demographic, along with a questionnaire for recipients to provide their honest feedback on the product. The samples included a host of new flavours – including supreme matcha green, and elderberry and echinacea – meaning consumers had an opportunity to try different types of tea to what they might usually have bought buy, and provide Pukka Herbs with valuable consumer insight.
Having received the tea samples and questionnaires, almost 20,000 consumers gave their feedback on the hot beverage, with 82% rating the product between seven and ten out of ten on a traditional 1-10 scale. 86% of the sample recipients also stated that they would drink the tea in future, confirming to Pukka Herbs that its product was resonating positively with consumers.
We know that food trends come and go as quickly as customer loyalty, so it’s essential that food manufacturers stay one step ahead of the game. FMCG brands must stay in tune with consumer desires, enabling them to be agile and tap into emerging trends. There are many tools and techniques available to brands in order to gauge changing consumer desires, but it’s arguable that none are as effective as sampling real-life products that people can try for themselves and provide their feedback on.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2020