Using Customers to Remove Subjectivity from Decision Making

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Helping the client to make necessary changes

This client, a global takeaway pizza chain, has stores in more than 60 countries and over a thousand sites in the UK alone (including franchises). In the UK, 81 new stores opened in 2016 and like-for-like sales increased by 7.5%, leading to profits of more than £86 million.

New Government guidelines meant the chain needed to reduce the salt levels in their BBQ sauce, so they created a new recipe with less added salt and sugar. They understood that the flavour would change slightly and wanted to make sure that it did not affect customers’ intent to purchase or decrease their enjoyment of the pizza.

Conducting the taste tests

We used our research panel to conduct two blind taste tests – one of the sauce on its own, and one of the sauce as a base on a slice of pizza. We gave panellists samples of the current product and the new product development (NPD), then asked them to rate each on a hedonic scale from ‘dislike extremely’ to ‘like extremely’. We asked about their intent to purchase, whether they could tell the difference between the samples, and for any comments they had about the samples.

Our research allowed the client to discover whether the new product would have an impact on sales, and if so, what needed to be done to improve it before bringing to market. In this case, it was shown that although customers could tell the difference between the current and NPD samples, they would still buy the new recipe product and in fact found it more enjoyable. The client was then confident to introduce the new sauce with no concerns. It was a real privilege to be working with such a large and prestigious company, and to see the knock-on impact across a thousand stores in the UK.

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