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TLF Panel Case Study - Food for Thought

By Darren Wake, Business Development Manager, TLF Research

So said one respondent after completing the survey. Winterbotham Darby is an award-winning supplier of high quality chilled, frozen and ambient food products. Although the company supplies product across a wide range of categories including antipasti, bakery, chilled desserts, fresh pasta, frozen desserts, seafood and sausages, perhaps it was the photos of freshly baked brioche rolls that accompanied this survey that prompted the respondent’s comment! Winterbotham Darby supplies retail and food service with clients such as Waitrose, M&S and Tesco. With full marketing, technical, logistics and sales support they work in partnership with their customers to keep them at the forefront of their markets.

Winterbotham Darby has been working with TLF Panel since 2011 on a number of consumer insight projects and in July 2015 commissioned a survey for one of their key categories – pre-packed Continental Morning Goods. Consisting of Brioche, Croissant, Pain au Chocolat, Waffle, Crepes and Danish, the Continental Morning Goods market is growing over 12% per annum, so it’s a big opportunity.

Basically a Usage and Attitude (U&A) survey, the research focused mainly on brioche with objectives including:

-Occasions when eaten

-How are they used

-Consumer attitudes regarding

 - Healthiness

 - Quality levels

 - Packaging

 - Flavours

-Product development opportunities

It was agreed the best way to obtain these insights was to survey a nationally representative sample of UK consumers who had purchased Continental Morning Goods in the previous 3 months. TLF Panel was identified as the best data collection method for the speed of data collection, the representativeness and granularity of the sample and the ability to use product images. In addition to demographic information, questions were asked about respondents’ living arrangements, family unit type, grocery spend and shopping habits as well as product usage and preferences.

Within a month a questionnaire had been agreed, the fieldwork had been conducted, the responses had been analysed and charts produced and Winterbotham Darby had presented the findings to their supermarket clients.

New product opportunities were identified by comparing consumers’ current buying habits with their interest in product items that they don’t currently buy. This identified bite sized brioche as the most promising product development area. Since most consumers regard brioche as a special treat and eat it on its own rather than adding a filling, a mixed pack of bite sized brioche would offer some exciting product development opportunities – as highlighted by these respondents.

“Maybe brioche could be sold as a multi-pack of savoury and sweet?”

“I wish they did more different fillings.”

“I used to live in France and there we had brioche in different shapes coated with large sugar crystals totally different to what’s available here.”

“I would like to see various varieties of brioche available in stores.”

Popular ideas for new flavours included fruit, raisin/sultana and cinnamon. Baked-in-store brioche is also a big opportunity with an overwhelming 91% of consumers giving it the thumbs up.

“I work in a bakery and we also sell the pre-packaged version but there is nothing like the freshly baked smell!”

The results split the responses according to the store where respondents bought brioche so were extremely well received by both Winterbotham Darby and the supermarkets, and at the time of print the results are being used to further develop the products and their marketing, which we’ll see in the shops before long!

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