Consumers differ in the kind of qualities they expect from food products, and they also differ in the way they infer quality from the product information available. Nevertheless, much product innovation in the food sector is still not geared towards specific consumer segments. This is especially true with regard to products like meat, which are mostly sold unbranded. In a pan-European study, a new method to analyse the way consumers perceived quality in food products was applied to derive European-wide consumer segments, using beef and yoghurt as product examples. Product concepts specifically targeting these segments were derived and tested with consumers from these segments. Results show considerable potential for the development of food products which are differentiated in a consumer-based way. The paper closes with a step-model for consumer-led product development adapted to the current state of branding and differentiation in the product category.
Livestock Science, 2001, Vol 72, Issue 1-2, p. 83-98