Innovation Research & New Product Testing in Real Time

The challenge.

Violife had made great strides towards establishing their presence in the UK as the dairy-free cheese brand.

They had a growing audience of consumers that went well beyond just Vegans, but whilst Violife was seen as delivering relatively good quality within the emerging plant-based cheese sector, there was still room for improvement. Consumers were also vocal in calling for greater choice within the dairy-free fixture.

Violife were keen to build their brand portfolio, but wanted to ensure they were doing so with new products that met consumer expectations. They also needed to be able to demonstrate to retail buyers that there was real demand for these innovations in order to secure distribution.

Our thinking.

We needed to develop a research approach that would enable us to evaluate consumer wants, needs and expectations of the various new product sectors that Violife were considering entering to be able to pin-point the opportunity for the new concepts.

We also needed to include product testing – often of a number of different potential new variants – within our approach, and to ensure that it was conducted in as natural an environment as possible.

Finally, we wanted to build a bank of scoring data that enabled us to compare the relative level of appeal of different products over the three years that this programme of work covered.

Consumers were vocal in calling for greater choice within the dairy-free fixture.

Our response.

The core methodology that was used for the vast majority of this research was to conduct a series of online forum studies – usually with 30 respondents over a 10-14 day period.

This elongated research allowed us to cover a range of tasks to understand the dynamics of each sector we explored, and how consumers viewed existing products. We were then able to evaluate the potential new Violife concepts, and to encourage consumers to show us how they used or cooked with the product samples we sent to their homes in ‘real time’.

We were able to pin-point the opportunity for Violife’s new product concepts.

The result.

Violife has introduced a stream of new products into UK supermarkets as a direct result of the findings from our research – this includes their improved ‘Cheddar’, the new Crumbly Blue and Le Rond cheeses, as well as products that have built their presence in other sectors such as Vioblock, Viospread and Cocospread.