Combining Focus Groups and Ethnography for New Product Development

Objectives of this project for a food manufacturer are:

  • To understand the various potential positions for the general idea and identify which resonates the highest among the target
  • To develop a concept with accepted consumer beliefs (ACBs), benefits, and reasons to believe (RTBs) that resonate among this segment
  • To identify key product/concept attributes in order for research and development to begin development. These include:
    • Usage occasion
    • Preparation method
    • Ingredients
    • Packaging
    • Price
    • Size, and
    • Names including potential co-branding

Qualitative and ethnographic work to flush out the meaningful concept driver as well as product attributes to feed into the conjoint optimization work.

Method Description:
Two rounds of focus groups (4 in the first round, 4 in the second round) and eight 1-hour in-home visits.

Respondents are concept or category acceptors who prepare dishes of relevant ingredients a minimum of once a week for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, using a variety of cooking methods and ingredients. In the first set of focus groups, usage habits are explored, the concept is introduced, and initial ACBs, benefits and RTBs are developed. At the end of the first visit, some respondents are given a prototype of the concept to test during the following week: some are asked to continue their usual routines of preparing dishes of these ingredients, some are assigned a change in their routines, and some are asked to go without such dishes over the same time period.

A third of these respondents are visited in home during that week in order to capture the different behaviors and responses.

All respondents return one week later and discuss their experiences from both a functional and emotional point of view. In this round of focus groups, ACBs, benefits, and RTBs are further developed and key attributes are identified for positioning.

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