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Creating a successful food product depends on crucial market insights. Check out these sample survey questions for a new food product to get you started.
Whenever you try to build something new, it’s best done together, right?
In your food product development process, you don’t just say ‘bon appétit’ when you market a new product and put it in front of your ideal customer. What if they don’t care for it at all?
Take a step back. Try to create something together.
How? No need to invite a bunch of hungry customers to your production facility and let them play with ingredients. With a new food product survey, you can perfectly gauge what they’re hungry for and create a product that’s a match made in heaven.
We’re following up our recent guide on market research for product development with some practical examples of survey questions you can use. This article will focus specifically on food products, but make sure to also take a peek if you’re stuck on another type of product — we’re sure you’ll find some inspiration either way.
How exactly can you use a survey to create a new food product? It’s not like your customers know what resources and ideas you have.
It’s all about timing. Once you’ve come out of the woods of the initial ideation phase and are playing with different options, it’s time to ask the public. You’ll be building on options that you’ve verified to be viable in that initial stage, based on your market research, of course.
At the same time, you’ll use the survey to scratch away any ideas that your customer base doesn’t like, leaving you with a most-desirable product.
So essentially, a food product survey isn’t a build-your-perfect-snack survey for your customers. It’s a tool that will help you determine which options that you’ve already played with are most likely to form a recipe for success.
Regardless of if you’re sending out a survey vs a questionnaire, you’ll need to ask the right questions, or find out how to write good survey questions. These are some of the best:
1. What are you trying to solve by using our product?
2. What are you missing in food product category X ?
3. If you could substitute one of the flavours we sell, which one would it be and what for?
4. What foods do you like to combine product X with?
5. If you could adapt one thing in product X, which would be the first thing?
6. If you could magnify one aspect of our product, what would it be?
7. How would you like to put product X to some other use?
8. If you could eliminate something from your diet, what would it be?
9. What food habits would you like to replace, and with what?
10. How well do you think the idea for this particular product fits our brand?
Launch your new food product survey with Attest
Find out what your customers want to see on their store shelves so that you can create a recipe for success. Send your new product survey to our built-in 125m audience today.
A new food product survey shouldn’t be a carte blanche with all the options your food scientists can create. You make it more specific and tie it to, ideally, one objective.
Before we get into the list, here are some of the most exciting direct-to-consumer food brands to whet your appetite. And insightful new product research isn’t limited to food products—here are some successful brands who’ve tested beverage branding ideas with consumer research.
Let’s look at some of the factors that play a role in food products.
You can’t ask your customers to fill in all the blanks. You should use the survey to fill in the blanks you can’t just assume. Let’s say your market research has shown that there’s a considerable demand for one-person portions of healthy vegan meals, for the microwave. That ticks the boxes for size, nutrition and occasion.
But you’re missing an important element: taste. This is what you can find out in your survey.
It depends on who you ask.
Product managers tend to say “go” if a product concept does not look bad; researchers want to say “stop” unless it looks good.Jay E. Klompmaker, G. David Hughes & Russell I. Haley, Test Marketing in New Product Development
Product managers tend to say “go” if a product concept does not look bad; researchers want to say “stop” unless it looks good.
There’s a difference between a product reaching certain requirements, and it being set up for success. Product managers want to launch a successful product. Researchers want to prevent expensive failed launches.
Of course, you’ll need both, but a new product survey should be used for product managers — to reach for excellence and step away from the status quo. The bare minimum that your product needs to succeed needs to be established before you launch a survey. What you’ll get from the survey is almost literally the icing on the cake of your new product.
Find out what customers are missing in the supermarket. What flavours they could not stop buying if they exist. What products they haven’t been buying because of their dietary restrictions.
Or gather information that will help you create a product that is unique in some way. Go beyond learning what products your customers already love — use that only as your baseline.
Organic Valley has used Attest go find out what flavours to introduce next – and what to name them.
“We were able to identify the top three flavors that we then wanted to bring into the pilot labs. But while our primary insight was around flavors, we also got back a secondary unanticipated insight around how the consumers were clustered around the naming of products as well.
It wasn’t just around choosing the right flavor but it was choosing the right flavor in the context of a broader name. To get specific, one of the options was ‘spicy tomato salsa egg bites’ and the consumers said it reminded them of the Mexican dish huevos rancheros. And so then we were able to test ‘spicy tomato salsa egg bites’ versus ‘Mexican egg bites with rancheros salsa’.”
Did that get you hungry? Read the full Organic Valley case study.
You came for questions, and that’s what we’ll give you. We’ve gathered some practical examples of what you could ask in a new food product development survey.
Before we dive into the questions, we want to explain the concept question 3 to 9 are based on. Ever heard of scamper? It’s an acronym — which is the name of a checklist designed to boost creative thinking. It basically takes an existing product, and lets you modify it in a more structured way than just saying: have your way with it.
Now, how do you use these questions and more specifically, the answers? The hope is that there will be some consensus in the answers. For instance, for Modify/Magnify, you’ll get a lot of similar answers from your customer base. Or 90% wants to eliminate the same thing from a product — let’s say sugar.
With that in mind, here are the questions!
This brings us back to the jobs-to-be-done part of any product, and for food products, this shouldn’t be overlooked. Are people searching for something that spices things up in the kitchen, that adds to their nutrition or that’s for comfort or a quick snack?
Knowing this for sure, without assuming, will help you to position your product accordingly. Here’s list of examples for jobs-to-be-done you can present in the survey:
There’s no doubt about it: veganism is no longer a trend. But if you or any of your friends are vegan, you know how frustrating it can be to find the right snacks for movie night. Because yes, there’s such a thing as too many Oreos!
So, let’s say you’ve narrowed it down to the following:
And taste…? With the survey, you could tap into what people who went vegan are missing the most from the snack aisle. Is it more urgent to create vegan cheese-flavoured crisps, or vegan M&M’s?
Here you can list all the flavours you’re currently selling, and give a list of options that you’ve been considering.
Maybe your customers have found a golden combination of products you haven’t thought of when creating the product. Think peanut butter and jelly, or the ever-controversial pineapple on pizza.
You can either guide your respondents here by giving them a list of options — after all, you know what is actually possible. Think sizes, price, packaging. Or let them dream out loud by giving them the room for all ideas.
Bigger portions? A stronger flavour? More serving suggestions? Find out what your customers can’t get enough of and double down on that.
Would you like an ice cream that is suitable for breakfast? A slice of pizza that you can take as a snack without having to carry an entire box? Find out how your customers are really using certain products, or how they would like to use them if the packaging or portion was suitable for it.
Get more inspo for your research from our concept testing survey template!
Find out what your customers want to see on their store shelves so that you can create a recipe for success. Send your new product survey to our built-in 125+ audience today.
This might sound useless in new product development, but in the bigger picture — which a survey should reveal — this could be very useful information. Maybe you’re looking to create a new breakfast product, but you want it to fit into someone’s dietary restrictions. So, should you focus on gluten-free options? This question will help you find out.
Here you can again give your respondents two lists to choose from: one with common food habits, and one with healthier — or at least different ones. Like question 8, this type of question will help you see the bigger picture and also helps with positioning.
We’re certain that with all their resources, Red Bull and Coca-Cola could create spectacular tea. But it would probably not catch on, because that’s just not what their brand stands for. So, in your product development survey, do take a moment to see if your brand-new idea actually fits your brand, to prevent a marketing disaster.
Is your food business always testing new flavours and ideas and do you want to bring those products to market with more certainty of success, and more speed? Then Attest is the place to start. Have a look at our free new product development survey templates and make them all yours to gather actionable data.
F&B Digest – Wellness foods issue
In the latest edition of our F&B Digest, we’ve digested data from 1,000 UK consumers to discover trends and opportunities in this growing sector.
Customer Research Principal
Alexandra joined Attest in 2018, with a strong background in market research. In the Customer Research Team, Alexandra takes a leading role in supporting brands to uncover consumer insights and explore new opportunities for growth.
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