Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Increase in families reducing food waste to save money should have brands looking for a way to get up close and personal

Brands need to gain and act upon a more detailed understanding of the way we are living our lives today, after new research from the consumer organisation Which? found that consumers are making greater efforts to waste less food.

Customer insight agency Engage Research says the survey, which says around 14 million people are reducing food waste by cooking with leftovers, making smaller portions and freezing more to save money, should have brands working hard to gain a more detailed understanding of the challenges their consumers are facing.

“This is a very revealing study,” explains Engage Research qualitative director Hetta Bramley. “Brands not only need to be aware that 78% are worried about rising food prices and 45% spending a larger proportion of our income on food compared to a year ago, they need to consider what they as a brand can do to support consumers at this time and, in so doing, create a sustainable brand/consumer relationship.” The Which? report also detailed how 47% of shoppers said they freeze food or cook with leftovers to avoid waste, whilst 39% said they cook smaller portions, so there is less chance of meals going to waste. A third (35%) are buying less food and a quarter (26%) are doing more frequent top-up shops rather than one main food shop.

This, says Bramley, is one of the reason more brands are turning to webnographic research techniques to understand more accurately how people are living their lives. Webnography – an ethnographic style of research that leverages current social media behaviour and smartphone usage to create respondent-driven content - involves consumers providing information about their ordinary everyday activities from within their naturally occurring settings. This allows for a more personal and in-depth view of the participants and their behaviour and choices and will provide valuable insights about how, why and when customers might choose brands or new products and the role that these will play within the consumer’s life.

“Because people can tweet what they are doing, post images, record short videos and so on easily from their smartphones, webnographic research can help brands really get under the skins of their customers. It gives us a window on them as they chat, shop, and get on with the tasks that make up their everyday lives. Thanks to social media, people are increasingly wanting to broadcast their activities and opinions. Our techniques build on this willingness, often adding an additional element of fun via gamification, so that the consumers do most of the work for us – blogging, keeping diaries and sharing photos and video footage online. This all keeps the costs down whilst still giving brands an accurate and holistic view of the consumers’ lives.”

In terms of food research, a webnographic approach enables researchers to observe and monitor anything from preparation rituals to the food storage habits of consumers; which products are given priority position at the front of the cupboard and which are pushed to the back and which products only make it as far as the “back up” store cupboard? It can also reveal how packaging performs in real life - how does it stand up to the journey home, how easy is it to store, how easy is it to prepare and so on - these are all aspects of pack performance that will impact on future purchase & yet so often performance at fixture is the sole focus of pack testing. Webnography also involves monitoring eating occasions, and frequently videoing family eating occasions to look at how, why and when certain foods are included.

Engage Research is a customer insight agency working largely, but not exclusively, in the food, drink and media sectors. Its emphasis is on delivering knowledge and understanding that adds value to a client’s business without breaking their budget. Engage’s innovative approaches to research, already proven in the field, are handled by a team of senior directors with enviable experience and track record; intelligent practitioners delivering intelligent insights which support NPD and help underpin marketing, branding and communications strategies.

No comments:

Post a Comment