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New Product Development


We can help you navigate the 10 stage process shown below and help you to conduct appropriate research at each of the stages. Click on each stage to find out more.


What is the competition doing?

The first stage of developing a new product is assessing what the competition is doing. Who are they? Do they have a comparable offering? How good are their products? Using Fast Foodfax, we can access information on over 20,000 new product launches, to better understand new launches. Visit our Fast Foodfax page to learn more about this service.

Besides this wealth of experience of products that we have tested, we delve into other industry material to ensure that we have an holistic idea of your market to help you to understand its workings.

How can you find out more about your consumers?

Who are your consumers? How and when do they use your products? How do they choose which brand to buy? Cambridge MR provides consumer centric habits and attitude studies to help you get under the skin of your consumer. We integrate qualitative and quantitative approaches so that you can not only understand what proportion of your consumers behaves in a certain way – but why they do. We offer additional advanced analytical techniques to accurately determine drivers of purchase. In addition, we can analyse how customers shop the category by conducting accompanied shops. Our in-store trolley audits assess what product groupings are purchased together, and we can offer advice on the most effective shelf layouts for maximum satisfaction.

What gaps can you target?

Strong product launches often target segments of the market that could be better served. Cambridge MR will identify possible growth opportunities by highlighting unmet consumer needs and sizing their potential. We will indicate if these are general needs or if they pertain to specific segments only. We will show you what is most important in driving satisfaction in your market and what best fits your profile. We can segment your market into key target groups, to help direct marketing activity most effectively.


How can you develop new ideas?

The best products give consumers something they want, utilise the brand’s skillset, and stand out from the competition. Ideas can be generated from a number of sources, both internal to your company and also by researching consumers’ needs. Cambridge MR helps to identify ideas for new products based on our needs / gap analysis, as described in step 1, supplemented with qualitative research.

We offer idea generation to identify the most effective ideas to progress to the next stage. During the workshops, key stakeholders, along with representative consumers, rate the ideas. Workshops are particularly effective when large numbers of ideas have been generated and clarity is required on which to develop further and our experienced Cambridge MR moderators help to identify those with the greatest potential for success.


Which new ideas should you progress further?

We identify which of your ideas are likely to bring you the most success, making the greatest difference to your consumers’ lives. With our approach, large numbers of ideas are assessed, to identify those with the greatest consumer interest. This is an extremely simple, yet effective, methodology to highlight the ideas with the most potential.

This is a comparative methodology where consumers indicate interest in the product ideas as well as how differentiating and believable the ideas are. Given our tailor made approach to all of our research, we adapt further questions to suit your particular objectives. As this is a quantitative technique, relative consumer acceptance clearly indicates the most effective ideas to take forward for further development.


How can you ensure your concepts have the best chance of succeeding?

There are so many factors that could hinder or help your product’s chance of succeeding, including the language you use in your product description and usage instructions, and whether consumers have enough information to make a purchase decision. We can help improve your chance of success by offering a qualitative concept development and optimisation service. Our concept development workshops involve a number of iterative group discussions, where concepts are improved and updated, resulting in consumer-friendly concepts to include in quantitative research.

During our drill-down, we examine all features of the concept to ensure total consumer clarity. Additionally, we identify the most winning communication, resonating most with consumers, where you have a few concepts that communicate the same concept idea. With this qualitative stage, we shortlist the most viable concepts to submit for quantitative testing. Let us know if you’d like to learn more about writing winning concepts – we would be delighted to share our tips with you.


Are consumers sufficiently attracted to your proposition to want to buy it?

How well does your concept attract consumers’ attention? Is your product relevant, and does it offer good value for money? Cambridge MR offers both concept screening and concept testing, designed to help you answer these questions. Our screening technique identifies the best prospects from a number of potential concepts, whilst our concept testing offers a more detailed analysis of consumer acceptance of your concept.

Key drivers of success include relevance to the consumer, how new and different your offering is and whether it is available at a sufficiently attractive price. We provide profiles of those consumers who are most interested in your concept for target profiling and you receive a detailed analysis of each concept tested, including key motivators for trial and likelihood of success as well as the option for additional qualitative research.


With Cambridge MR testing more products than any other agency in the UK, product testing is our core competency and we are particularly efficient at recruiting ‘hard to find’ samples, which results in efficient, yet reliable, product testing.

Do your products live up to the promise of the concept?

It is imperative that products match the expectations raised by the concepts. If they underperform, consumers will not re-purchase the product, whilst over-performance indicates an issue with the concept communication – which could be addressed with in-store sampling, but would be more effective correcting prior to launch.

A two-stage approach is followed to address fit with concept, where consumers’ opinions of the concept are elicited before product trial and again after trying the product. It is important for line extensions to fit the overall brand and we offer advice on how effective the product will be at extending existing brands, whilst acceptance of the proposed name can also be ascertained. Any issues with the product performance will be highlighted, with clear recommendations for optimisation.

How do your products compare to your competitors’?

Cambridge MR conducts both branded and unbranded product testing. Using our database built from over 20,000 product tests, we have a clear benchmark to assess how well your products perform against your competitors’. Unbranded product testing is used most effectively with a number of clients as part of their quality management programmes. Unbranded tests assess the product without the influence of brand, communication or pricing, which provides an effective objective performance measurement versus key competitors. Branded testing is extremely effective as part of the NPD process as consumers expect a certain standard from brands – whether they are well known or ‘new’ brands – and it is important that any new product meets, or exceeds, expectations.


What is the optimal line up?

We help you identify the best combination of variants (e.g. flavours, fragrances and colours) to include in your offering. TURF provides clear direction for range optimisation, taking into account both penetration and frequency of purchase to ensure that the most viable options are recommended.

Is your product good enough for the price you expect consumers to pay?

Cambridge MR offers pricing optimisation either – standalone or as part of a more comprehensive assessment – where we employ a range of techniques.

Is the packaging visible, functional and appropriately sized?

Cambridge MR’s pack testing technique takes into account both standout and pack communication. Standout is measured in a competitive context, generally making use of a shop shelf layout. This is combined with a depth analysis of the proposed pack to provide strategic direction on pack acceptance and improvement.

The depth analysis includes both pack communication and functionality to ensure optimal consumer acceptance. This quantitative assessment is often supplemented by a detailed qualitative diagnostic view to provide a deep drill down into individual pack elements and their contribution to communication of key brand or product messages.


How well does the full offering of concept and product perform?

  • Does it meet consumers’ needs?
  • Is there a clear fit and evolution between concept and product?
  • Who will buy your product?
  • What will it replace?
  • Will trialists re-purchase your products?
  • How can you improve the mix?

Cambridge MR offers a full mix assessment, with an optional market estimate. We assess the likely success of the complete mix, taking into account both trial and repeat purchase and examining the key components of success – relevance, value for money and differentiation – at both the concept and product stage. We provide detailed feedback on what consumers like and what they’d like improved, on pricing and product performance. Optional modules include competitive shelf environments as well as detailed analyses as described in Step 7. We offer you strategic direction for your NPD to ensure the greatest chance of success.


What is the best retail environment for your product?

Cambridge MR offers a number of techniques, both qualitative and quantitative, to address key point-of-sale issues, including the most appropriate area of the shop to place a new product, the competitive set – and retail outlets consumers would expect to find the new product in. We also assess online shopping sites the product would be available on.


How did your product perform after launch?

Cambridge MR conducts a post launch monitor which records the percentage of consumers who have heard of your new product, how many have tried it and how many plan to (or have) bought it again.

Source of awareness of the product highlights the most effective communication media, whilst product evaluations determine levels of satisfaction and likely repeat purchase. We also include suggestions for improvements, should these be required. We usually conduct research over a series of waves, beginning shortly after launch, to track on-going purchase and acceptance. This methodology quickly highlights any issues with concept attraction or product performance to ensure that you can react swiftly to consumer needs.

How is your brand perceived?

Cambridge MR helps you to understand how satisfied your customers are. We offer both standalone and tracking studies to identify levels of customer satisfaction and ways of improving image. As part of this, we offer both equity evaluations as well as a consumer value option.

To find out more, please contact us on 01223 492050