Food & drink is at the heart of everyone’s day. For the past 30 years Cambridge MR has monitored, researched and commented on what the nation is eating and drinking, and why. We have seen trends and fads come and go and some brands flourish while others have disappeared altogether. We have a holistic view of the marketplace, reflecting our heritage in testing brands and own label, fresh produce to frozen foods, confectionery to Free-From products. We have helped companies, suppliers and retailers to develop better products & services; to understand who is or isn’t buying, and why; to fine tune the offering and positioning of products; to help identify niche sectors and rational or emotional territories for products; to assess product performance in the context of its competitive set. This needs more than just great research skills and the right tools; it also requires a deep, visceral understanding of the national psyche; to know why we like the things we do and to bring this understanding to how we design, execute and interpret research.
The best brand and marketing plans will all come to nothing if a product fails to get a listing, or is given a poor shelf allocation. Retail environments are constantly evolving, and the pace and scale of change is such that researchers need to keep a constant eye on these developments. Many agencies specialise in either product testing OR retail research – we see that as a false distinction and take a holistic view on how consumers are shopping, where they are shopping, what they are buying and why. If a product is not selling as well as expected, this could be due to poor product performance vs. competition, but it could also be because of the position it achieves on shelf, what it is near, whether there is heavy discounting of own label or branded products nearby, and aisle location. At Cambridge MR we often combine both retail and product evaluation in our research proposals in order to meet real marketplace issues. We are experts in category management and help brands develop a joined up view of their products and the touch points they have with consumers.
At Cambridge MR, we understand the need for local market research because we’re a local company too. A lot of SMEs have business models centred around serving their immediate vicinity, and we’ve got the skills and experience to help you understand your local customer base. Food and drink is one of the most dynamic and rapidly changing sectors with small businesses, an important source of change and innovation in this marketplace. We believe in supporting the growth of SMEs by helping you evolve groundbreaking ideas into sound, profitable businesses capable of maximising their potential. But entrepreneurs and innovators are often wary of market research, seeing it as expensive and the province of major players. There is no substitute for intuition and the touch of magic that an innovator can bring, but good market research can help keep you in touch with the community you serve, ensuring your ideas tick the right boxes, alerting you to change and providing essential feedback as you become increasingly immersed in growth management.