The bedrock of qualitative FMCG market research, focus groups gather together a roomful of participants to explore almost any topic, from an emerging concept to a live product. Assessing and resolving challenges specific to your brand, company, or idea, our focus groups are usually held in public venues in London, Bristol and Manchester, with participants drawn from our growing consumer panel. We often hold focus groups in retail store training rooms, allowing us to take respondents down to the relevant category fixture and get feedback on their decision making process in a real-life store environment.
For those hard to reach consumers, we also offer online focus groups. This is an ideal technique when the consumers you want to speak with are spread out geographically or difficult to get together in the same room. Online focus groups also allow clients to view the sessions remotely, either live or through a video recording.
We offer interviews as an alternative to focus groups when in-depth insight is what you require. The information gathered is much more detailed and tailored to a particular consumer than other methodologies and are a great starting point for exploring your business’ challenges. Interviews can be held face-to-face, on the telephone, or via Skype. We use CAPI data collection to ensure responses are gathered quickly and efficiently.
Engaging consumers in the real world, in-store intercepts, or ‘accompanied shopping’ is a method of qualitative food market research that interacts with consumers in store, usually gathering data about brand delivery and evaluating their experience.
Workshops and Innovation Sessions
An interesting method of gathering qualitative data is through a workshop. We run workshops with clients as well as consumers to stimulate the thought process and develop ideas. By an outside source introducing new ideas and opinions into the mix, consumers can develop entirely new ideas, and clients are able to think differently than before. Ideation Groups are a great method of kick-starting the market research process, usually followed by more straight-forward and quantitatively robust methodologies to give it a wider representation and validity.
It’s all very well asking people about their behaviour, but often what people say they do and what they actually do can be two very different things. This is where in-home placement comes in. Through watching people interact with products in a home environment, we can get a much more reliable measure of real-life behaviour.
At HRA, we recognise that market research is all about people. Trying to distill the richness and depth of peoples’ opinions onto a few charts and slides is a difficult task, and sometimes this just isn’t the right approach. This is why we see video as a hugely valuable tool – instead of reading what consumers have said, you can watch them say it for yourself. We pick out the key video excerpts from our qualitative methods, condensing the most important insights we know you’ll be most interested in into an easily digestible format.
With our in-house video production capabilities, we can turn key video extracts round for you quickly, giving you something to engage with and circulate internally before receiving the full debrief.
Rolling out a new product can be a stressful task for any food or drink business. The last thing you want is for your perfectly designed brand to be presented in a way you hadn’t intended, or for your masterfully engineered SRP to be discarded before being put on shelf. This is just one of the occasions where Mystery Shopping can be of use as our panel of fieldworkers can check up on stores and help iron out any issues.
While focus groups, interviews and online surveys are great for getting instinctual feedback, sometimes it’s useful to get more considered views over time. This is where Market Research Online Communities (MROC) can be particularly useful. Respondents log on to an online platform where they can upload images, videos, journals, and participate in polls and group chats. This is a highly interactive form of research and allows us to really dig into a topic and understand real life influences on consumer views.
If your business prefers quantitative data, we offer online and postal surveys – efficient, geographically targeted research with definitive answers. Postal surveys and taste testings can go hand in hand to deliver quick results.
Food and drink companies often come to us with questions on what flavour they should launch and whether their recipes could be improved. In order to give recommendations, we hold taste tests to find out what typical UK consumers think. Tastings are carried out via postal surveys or are held at public venues, also known as hall tests. This can include sensory research.
The HRA Consumer Panel is a growing database of consumers in the UK. We access the panel when we’re looking for participants to take part in our food and drink market research, be it for a client or for our own leading research. It is one of the services in our HRA toolkit that is a real differentiator. Empowering the voice of the consumer is something we are very passionate about because insights from real consumers matter. Make your research exceptional, give it the edge, and make your company stand out from the rest.
While quantitative surveys can help answer simple questions like ‘which design do people prefer?’, part of the real value of quantitative data is in helping us understand the behaviour and opinions of different types of consumers. Through using SPSS to analyse the output from a quantitative method we can create distinct customer segments, each with their own thoughts and attitudes. A strong understanding of the customer is crucial to any business and a customer segmentation model adds another dimension to this understanding.
We use a variety of FMCG market research techniques, both in person and online. Whether it is taste tests, online focus groups or in-home placements, we provide our clients with all types of food market and drink research to help them develop their brand and reach the right audience.
You could be part of these vital market research projects, which are great fun to participate in. If you are interested in participating in our nationwide food and drink market research, just sign up via the online survey below. We will only contact you for relevant opportunities and will not pass your details on to any third parties.