Geary’s Bakeries

A research programme for a new product launch

The challenge.

Geary’s Bakeries had successfully established their range of sourdough loaves under the ‘Jason’s’ brand within most UK supermarkets. The business was keen to expand the brand’s presence by introducing further innovative lines that would extend into other parts of the bakery fixture.

The first of these was a range of part-baked products that have a longer shelf-life than ‘standard’ sourdough loaves, and offered consumers the opportunity to ‘fresh bake’ sourdough loaves and rolls at home.

Geary’s was therefore keen to understand the appeal of this concept to consumers, to evaluate the different potential products to be included in the range at launch, and to establish appropriate packaging, pricing and positioning for the range.

Our thinking.

We recognised that there was a need for a research programme that had to fulfil a number of objectives. It had to demonstrate to the Geary’s Board that the investment required to deliver part-baked sourdough products was likely to pay back. It also had to convince retail buyers that there would be sufficient consumer demand for these products to persuade them to stock them. And we had to provide the marketing team with guidance on how best to shape the offering.

In order to do this we needed to plan and undertake a series of research stages that would marry the desire for robust, clear insights with the available budget.

Geary’s was keen to expand the brand’s presence by introducing further innovative lines.

Our response.

We started with an online forum – an elongated qualitative study that enabled us to engage with 30 consumers over a 10 day period. This meant that we could explore their current usage of and attitudes towards bread, identifying why they liked both sourdough and part-baked bread. We also sent respondents product samples that they could enjoy in the natural environment of their homes.

It enabled us to identify the variants within this part-baked sourdough range that were likely to hold the greatest appeal, and why – the aroma of a sourdough loaf finishing baking in the oven was a big driver of appeal! We also explored pack presentation and potential pricing to arrive at recommendations on the final range offering.

Following on from this, we undertook a limited Omnibus study in order to quantify the appeal of the final, priced concept. The results were really encouraging, particularly amongst shoppers at Geary’s key retailer targets.

We complemented the Omnibus research with some Zoom-based focus groups to deliver final qualitative validation of the range, and to confirm which sizes of product should be pursued at launch. Again, respondents were sent product samples to try at home, and the use of Zoom enabled us to capture ‘vox-pop’ video testimony of the appeal of the breads that could be used to assist trade presentations.

Research delivered the direction and validation of the new ‘Bake-At-Home’ range that Geary’s were seeking.

The result.

This programme of research delivered the direction and validation of the new ‘Bake-At-Home’ range that Geary’s were seeking, with each research stage adding a layer of valuable insight.

Geary’s Bakeries launched their initial Jason’s ‘Bake-At-Home’ sourdough range in September 2023.

Jason’s is now the No.1 Premium Bread brand according to Kantar data with retailer sales value of £17.6m (figures to August 2023).