If you think market research at a flavor company is just about keeping track of new flavor trends, think again.
In his presentation, Symrise VP marketing and consumer insights Emmanuel Laroche took the term 'consumer insight' to a whole new level as he unveiled a consumer research project of epic proportions designed to uncover the broader motivations and preoccupations of consumers around the globe.
The research, conducted for Symrise by GfK-Roper, involved 37,500 consumers in 25 countries from Argentina to Indonesia, and identified key trends which it divided into three categories.
Slow intensity is about feeling a sense of responsibility for the planet and for others, with a focus on real food, authenticity, quality, sustainability and respect. In the food and beverage arena, this might mean local sourcing, freshness, provenance, organic or fair trade.
Balanced intensity is about a focus on you and your immediate friends and family. This might mean restaurant quality foods for the home or gourmet coffee.
High intensity is about living life on your own terms, instant gratification, and customization (it's all about me). This might mean challenging flavor combinations, fusion cuisine, new taste sensations and experimental products from gourmet salsa to sparking vodka.
Importantly, the trends are not mutually exclusive. A single consumer might shift between all three in the course of a single day, while a single brand might also tap into all of them, said Laroche.
But how can brands translate this insight into action, and where does Symrise fit in?
In many cases, just thinking about their brands in the context of these wider consumer trends has helped to unlock new opportunities for food and beverage manufacturers, who have been sitting down with Symrise in the past 12 months in workshops and brainstorming sessions, said Laroche.
"Often when you are focused on the day-to-day, you don't step back and see the bigger picture", he told FoodNavigator-USA after the presentation.
"Could your brand play in a new area? Where are the white spaces? We try to expand the horizons, but we can also create some rapid prototypes for customers using our flavors to help them see what's possible."
Feedback so far has been excellent, he said. "What's particularly appealing to customers is that the research is quantitative."
For example, 21% of women in Argentina buy into concept x, compared with 60% of women in Brazil.
"The research is very targeted."
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