Taste remains key driver of consumers’ preference for food, beverages

by | February 1, 2018 1:05 am



Market survey carried out by BusinessDay has showed taste is the most important reason for purchasing specific food or beverage brand.

Over time, the changing tastes of consumers have presented food marketers with need to meet changing lifestyle from ethnic composition, attitudes of different age groups, health conditions to the need for convenience, have led food marketers to invest heavily in consumer insights and research to determine what consumers want.

The survey sought to get consumers opinion on food companies and the number one attribute valued by a majority of consumers was taste.

When asked Bunmi Alade said, “That shouldn’t be too shocking. It is food we are talking about, not cars or computers.”

“The one thing that has not changed and will not change is that taste is the main reason people buy food. Survey after survey bears this out.”

“I think the food industry’s effort now is to create healthy food for Nigerians. Most times because companies want to make profit, and burn with zeal to satisfy so-called public interest groups, we lost sight of what our customers wanted, and we made products that very few customers wanted,” Tunde Ajimobi a psychologist told BusinessDay.

“Why would any company produce a food product that doesn’t taste fantastic? Pressure! To reduce the costs, to make it simpler, to get it into the market sooner, to get cheaper ingredients and flavours, unknowing to them they are losing their customers.”

Over the years, various brands of snacks, soft drinks and packaged food have flooded the Nigeria market with many cutting down on ingredients to meet the harsh economic reality which led to low purchasing power and difficulty in importing needed ingredients.

“For me I have always placed greater value in taste, quantity matters not, there is a particular energy drink, despite price increase, it remains the only drink I still buy,” John Omole told BusinessDay.

Dufil, makers of Indomie goes with a simple slogan in its latest advert, ‘the taste is the difference’ to help solidify its position in the noodles market share worth $1billion.

“Better taste means better profits. Most of the really good tasting foods often have the highest margins,” Emmanuel Morka lecturer with Delta State Polytechnic marketing department said.

“First and foremost, it means that every food product must pass the taste test before any other attributes should be considered. Your food products should not taste good, they should taste great.”

“Compromising on taste not only decreases the chances of a product’s success, but it puts undue pressure on all the other marketing variables to pick up for an average product. In many cases it leads to a lower price in order to get people to buy the product,” he stressed

A food scientist Victoria Osaneye said, “Preparing a good meal demands a very keen eye for ingredients that help give good taste, consumers place high value on such product.”

“A while back I had a conversation with the brand manager at a well-known food company. He was introducing a new product that tasted good but not great. I asked him why he was introducing this product, and he said quite simply his boss wanted a new product and by the time it was decided the product was a failure, he would either be in a different job or with a different company. This is sad but true.”

She advised that companies should build a product starting with delicious, the best flavours and textures.

“I want to go to the market with advertising and promotion knowing that — whether the product is targeted to healthy, Hispanics, Millennials or any target market — there will be no compromise on taste and flavour,” Chukudi Ajao food and beverage marketer said.

“It is true that consumers are changing. They want more of this and less of that. As we all get involved with convenience, health, and value. We seem to forget that the real thing that consumers are looking for is not convenient food but tasty food that is convenient, or tasty food that is perceived as healthy, or tasty food at a great price. They want all of these things plus the best tasting food that you can possibly make.”

DAVID IBEMERE