• Marie Screene

"You are not as interesting as you think"

I read a thought-provoking article recently, an edited version of Campaign's interview: with Byron Sharp, that reflected on his point of view on pandemics / economic downturns and how consumers react [1].


The statement that particularly resounded with me was:


“…most of us have repertoires and we keep returning to the brands that we've bought before. We're not quite as interesting and dynamic as we think we are.”


While this might be a contentious subject, economists and market researchers will talk about and have evidence to support fiscal pressure will impact consumer choice, it made me ponder on my personal circumstances.


Broadly speaking this statement for me was true – despite the pandemic, I use the same grocery store for my main shop (in fact I have continued to visit the actual store as I like looking out for new products, new packaging, and watching first-hand how consumers behave). Certainly, like so many others, my purchase of tinned foods increased during the first lockdown, but I did not switch brands (I stuck with my favourite baked beans, own label chopped tomatoes). This got me thinking about products and why I have stayed loyal to those brands: essentially: I and my household like their taste.


Our latest research across four markets (UK, Germany, Netherlands, and Belgium) reinforces this view: "‘Excellent taste’ is the clear number 1 factor across all countries, with ‘Is healthy’ the only other factor coming close”, with regards to buying food and drinks in a grocery store [2].


Here at Touchstone Shoppercentric we know that products need to deliver a great consumer experience to maintain their leading position within a category. Maintaining the number one status to ensure long term profitability requires an understanding on how products compare to the competition.


We have heritage in and experience of a range of product testing methodologies (be it in-home or in a central location); blind testing when there is a need to focus purely on product performance versus in market leaders, or branded product tests, when there is a desire to modify existing recipes without alienating existing buyers.


Responses are collected via self-completion surveys, on paper, online, on tablet or mobile, to capture in-the-moment feedback. Results are derived to provide insight and prioritization on the specific product attributes that need optimizing. We help our clients stay ahead of the competition, by ensuring their products obtain best-in-class status among consumers.


• R&D innovation / Food technologists/ Marketeers/

• UK/ Europe/ Global capabilities


Marie Screene


To read more from our latest edition of our Shopper StockTake Report - 2021 Shocks & Switches, click here.


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[1] https://www.campaignlive.com/article/byron-sharp-why-best-response-covid-19-stop-advertising/1695381


[2] SAM Shopper Adaptation Monitor (Touchstone Shoppercentric Self-funded study since 2020)