How The Big Prawn Co. landed category growth by casting a line into consumer data

The shellfish brand used consumer feedback to shape the way they and their retail partners market their products.

Consumer research is most exciting when it surfaces something completely counterintuitive, as was the case when The Big Prawn Co. investigated what customers wanted to see on their website. 

They found that visitors to their website  actually didn’t want to see plates of juicy prawns and shellfish – which is what they sell – they wanted imagery of people and fishing. The discovery came about when Claire Evans, Category Manager at The Big Prawn Co. surveyed consumers on Attest prior to a redesign of their website.

She says: “We recognised that our website just wasn’t doing our company justice. Most of the product we sell is under supermarket’s own labels but we also have our Big Prawn Co brand, plus we have people coming to the site to find information about where we source from and our sustainability credentials, so our audience is quite broad. 

“There are consumers that come to the website to look at recipe content, but we also try to explain our position as a company and how we’re sustainably sourcing and all of the CSR we do. Basically, we weren’t speaking to anybody because we’d become too confused. We’d ended up with a website that was trying to be everything to everyone and that was a recipe for disaster.”

We recognised that our website just wasn’t doing our company justice.

Claire Evans, Category Manager, The Big Prawn Company

Evans wanted to make sure that the new website was going to deliver what they needed it to, so they turned to Attest to get feedback on the content and imagery that they were proposing using.

“We were able to do that before and during the design process, which saved time and money,” she says. “We knew who we wanted to be looking at our website because a lot of them would be people we were directing there ourselves. So then we were able to filter and make sure that the survey respondents were part of that key target audience for us.”

She adds: “We can be really agile because we can have the answers back pretty much instantaneously, which means nothing gets slowed down.”

Communicating brand values

As well as discovering that food images weren’t really resonating with their target customers, The Big Prawn Co. learned that they needed to strike a better balance of content. This meant scaling back the recipes that had ‘taken over’ on the old site. Meanwhile, they found they could better communicate the values of the company through people-driven imagery. 

“It leads to people feeling that, as a brand and a company, that we are real people doing a real job,” Evans explains. “It’s much easier to get across the things that are important and that we care about when there are people involved in the imagery rather than just platefuls of food.” 

According to Evans, carrying out large-scale quantitative research through Attest (we have 125m respondents in 58 markets) gave The Big Prawn Co. confidence in the findings.

“It was really invaluable insight that we were able to draw on, and it came from a huge pool of people rather than just being something internal where we all have our own ideas and it’s hard to set those aside. It gave us a really clear understanding of how to make a fit for purpose website.” 

Empowering retail conversations 

Compelling discoveries haven’t been limited to The Big Prawn Co.’s website; they’ve also used Attest to research how consumers feel about the way specific retailers market shellfish. They’ve used this information to fuel conversations with buyers and improve not only how their products are sold, but also the category as a whole. 

Evans says: “We asked what shoppers thought about the market, who they thought had a good range, who they didn’t rate so highly, and why. It sounds obvious but sometimes we just don’t delve into that explanation enough. That gave us really detailed insight that we could then take to the customer we were working with, with specific targeted actions for them.” 

This included the insight that there wasn’t enough information about sustainable sourcing on pack. They also discovered that it was hard for consumers to differentiate between the retailers’ core shellfish range and their premium range because the packaging was very similar. 

“When the retailer was told this and they could see the evidence, with the physical quotes from people, it was really powerful. They definitely realised this was an issue they needed to address. Overall, that’s a basic thing; if you want to trade a shopper up within a category, it’s a bit difficult to do it if they don’t even see the value in the trade up offering that’s on the shelf there. So really clear recommendations were coming out from that.” 

When the retailer could see the evidence, with the physical quotes from people, it was really powerful.

Another crucial learning was that the retailer’s range wasn’t always delivering what shoppers needed in terms of pack size, shellfish species, and value for money. Evans and her team set out to learn exactly what people wanted from the store, recognising that every retailer is different, with unique shopper demographics. 

“You cannot take what’s successful in one place and plonk it down into another retailer and think the same thing will happen because it doesn’t work that way,” she says. “By using Attest we’re getting opinions from shoppers that are bespoke. It gives us the ability to do something different for all of our retail partners. The bottom line is we’re then giving more choice to the shopper and a better eating experience for the consumer afterwards, because what they want to eat is more likely to be on the shelf.” 

Consumer insights for brands of all sizes

Evans is keen to stress that size should not hold brands back from accessing consumer research; from small shrimp to big fish, there’s a solution for everyone. As a challenger brand, The Big Prawn Co. was attracted to Attest because of the platform’s ability to scale with their needs.

She says: “Insight has played such a huge role recently in our success in working with more retailers and it helps us to prove that we’re a credible supplier, because we are a much smaller company compared to some of our competitors in the industry. 

“As we are more of a challenger company, we haven’t had a huge focus on insight so it was really important to find an affordable solution for our business. Traditional data is brilliant but it’s not always affordable for smaller businesses. But having a small budget isn’t a barrier to success.”

Insight has played such a huge role in our success in working with more retailers.

Being able to access thousands of target consumers when they need to via Attest means The Big Prawn Co. can understand what people want more than ever before. It’s helping them look to the future and anticipate trends.

“Attest has been really helpful to us with that mission. We can ask the right questions to the right people, and we’re using it as a guide to our NPD, which means our products have a better chance of success if they do make it to shelf. But more importantly, for our retail partners we can create actionable strategies for them as well. It’s about the challenger brand opportunity to disrupt the market and, ultimately, give more choice to shoppers.” 

What could consumer insight do for your brand? Book a demo to find out.

Hungry for more F&B stories?

Check out the latest edition of the F&B Digest, full of consumer insight for the UK food and drink industry.

Read it now!

Bel Booker

Senior Content Writer 

Bel has a background in newspaper and magazine journalism but loves to geek-out with Attest consumer data to write in-depth reports. Inherently nosy, she's endlessly excited to pose questions to Attest's audience of 125 million global consumers. She also likes cake.

See all articles by Bel