Clean Label – for Pets, too!

Pet Foods - A Clean Label Deep Dive

Headlines tell the story.   “Human food trends driving pet food product innovation”   PETFOOD INDUSTRY.COM

Who are these Clean Label pet owners?   How does the industry understand and deliver specifically what they want?

We asked pet owners in our Clean Label Enthusiast Community about their attitudes, habits, and priorities for providing their pets with "Clean" foods and treats.  We found many insights to share regarding what they regard as safe, natural, and high quality.

Find the Case Study here

Download (PDF, 382KB)

Also, view the webinar where you’ll learn:

    • Thoughts and beliefs of Clean Label pet owners
    • Attributes that are most important in products and Clean Labels
    • Why they trust and mistrust products/brands
    • Ingredients seen as Clean or Not Clean
    • Claims that resonate well or are suspect to buyers
    • Trends to watch in the future
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Emotions Testing

Truly understanding the consumer emotions about the ingredients—beyond “likes and dislikes”— enables development teams to creatively design ingredient cues that tells consumers the product will truly deliver the emotional impact promised by the brand.

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Alienation Testing

Risk & Reward: Alienation Testing

Changing a product for any reason entails risk that current users will feel alienated and reject the new product.  Risk vs benefit questions are "Will current users notice?" and "How will users react?"

Companies must weigh the potential business risks of change against benefits such as quality improvement, cost reduction, or regulatory or ingredient issues. Alienation testing engages with current users to quantify the risk they may alter their purchase behaviors in response to the proposed changes.

InsightsNow takes a unique behavioral approach in assessing this risk to predict how and why current users will react to a proposed product change. This includes a diverse array of situations where product changes are “blind” or accompanied by marketing communications.  We may survey consumers in a central location, home use or extended home use environment.

“Coming out with clean label products without alienating brand fans is a major challenge for most food companies.” 

—Noel E. Anderson, Ph.D, CFS, IFT Fellow

What to Do?

First, determine how much alienation you are willing to accept, if any.

From the research identify ...

    • how much alienation would result from making the product change
    • if the alienation cause can be addressed with additional R&D efforts,
    • or if the change is simply not recommended for the brand.

Alienation testing gives you the vital information you need to make business and product decisions.

Ensure that you don’t lose current users when doing a product change or update, and plan a strategy to tip the balance positive.

How Alientation Testing Works

Identifying Alienation

The percentage of people who would be alienated can be calculated by identifying the number of people who:

Sensory Trade-offs

Quantify the sensory trade-offs for a proposed change.

  • Is the new product detected as different from current?
  • Does the new product create penalties that reduce liking or preference?
  • Do benefits overcome penalties leading to a change in purchase behavior?

The Reactions

Analysis through alienation testing looks at when a brand makes a product change, and there are several ways in which the brand’s franchise may respond to that change. Essentially, there are four possible reactions:

  • Unaware/Indifferent: Members of this group fail to detect the change, or are unaware or indifferent to it.
  • Contented: These consumers detect and prefer the product change.
  • Vulnerable: These prefer the current product, but will remain brand loyal and keep buying in spite of the change.
  • Alienated: Members of this reactionary group are aware of change, prefer the current product, and in turn will reduce or discontinue product use as a result.
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Implicit Testing and Product Acceptance

Implicit testing finds biases that impact buying decisions

Approach or Avoid: Implicit Testing

Research to help companies make faster, more informed clean label decisions requires accurate prediction of behavior reactions—approach or avoid—to branded products with given claims and ingredient labels. Asking a research participant to directly predict their behaviors in response to a brand, claim or ingredient is known to be a poor predictor of actual behavior.

Implicit testing avoids the inaccuracy of direct Q&A responses to yield a more accurate predictor of behavior. Through our simple context-based implicit questions, we capture native emotional (system 1) reactions as well as rational (system 2) thinking. As emotional choices are faster, measuring time to make a choice adds a valuable, new dimension for more informed product and brand decision making.

Therefore, it is an excellent technique to help researchers determine:

  • What ingredients to display to achieve a cleaner label?
  • What claims will result in the greatest approach reaction for an anticipated moment of use?
  • What contexts of use are associated with brand use among various segments of consumers?
  • How to screen consumers based on brand attitudes and/or behavioral predictions of “approach or avoid” reactions?

Implicit Testing Rationale

Implicit testing leverages context to measure emotional and rational reactions which motivate decisions. For example, within a breakfast occasion the behavioral reactions of participants may differ if the context for choosing a food item is a “convenient grab-and-go moment” or a “normal sit-down breakfast moment.”
Implicit testing measures not only approach or avoid, but the speed of response. This measure of response time quantifies whether an “approach or avoid” reaction is based on emotional (fast) or rational (slow) thinking.

Implicit test response quadrants

Slow responses represent attitudes about brands, claims or ingredients which are poorly formed, or where the presented context is new to a participant.  This forces the participant into a slower more rational thinking process about how to behave.

Fast responses represent well developed attitudes and strong memories within the presented context. This results in quick reactions based on pre-formed memories and emotions.

For examples of applications and data interpretation, view the recent webinar

"Going Behavioral with the Implicit / Explicit Test " 

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