Come Dine With Me, Australia

Within a challenging and competitive environment like the Australian FMCG marketplace, companies are looking for innovation to help them break out of the cycle of e.g. price reductions and declining margins. In this context, we helped Campbell’s (together with Direction First) to get a better view on the constantly changing demands of shifting Australian consumer trends and meal preparation patterns. Therefore, a 3 week period MROC was set up, named ‘Come Dine With Me, Australia’. With topics like the evolution of cooking habits (e.g. How do people prepare their meal?), sources of inspiration (e.g. How do people source their recipes?) and how one sees all of this evolve in the future (e.g. Are consumers going to plan, cook and prepare their food in a different way?), we could really get an understanding of what is happening today with the evening meal and what this means to the Campbell’s brand in particular.
Our MROC consisted of 50 participants between 25 and 45 years, covering 4 different life stages (as life stage is a major influence of eating and cooking habits, ingredients used and type of food). Moreover, all these people are closely engaged with food, enjoy cooking and are willing to try new ideas.
In order to gain even deeper insights into cooking/shopping behaviour, an ad hoc mobile app allowed the participants to upload photos and videos whenever they wanted to (e.g. whilst preparing a meal). This additional layer of information could enrich the more personal or contextual data.

What’s cooking?

The effort of all 50 of the participants during this 3-week community delivered a highly valuable source of inspiration and insight into the consumer world and could really help Campbell’s move forward and meet consumer needs. The following three themes came out the MROC as most important insights:

  1. Less is more: Consumers want to feel good about what they are eating, which means that their food has fresh ingredients and authentic flavours which results in a tasty meal and meets their need for nourishment to promote a healthier lifestyle. Also, consumers want to cut corners in their busy lifestyles, in adding their own style to pre-packaged foods. Products like e.g. base sauces can give control back to the consumer as to what they are eating. If they need other ingredients in it like vegetables, salt, etc., they can add them themselves. This helps with transparency of ingredients, building consumer trust and brand credibility.
  2. Make every day special: Consumers are more likely to try new ingredients/techniques and recipes at special occasions or when they have time to experiment. However, a meal is seen as a special moment to relax, enjoy it and have a positive experience. So why not make every day special and have a ‘special’ meal every day? The availability of online recipes, supermarket recipes can of course contribute to the process of making every day special.
  3. Play on emotive language: Consumers communicate in a very emotive way on the subject of food. The investment an individual makes when they plan, shop, prepare and cook a meal is a very personal one and brands have to learn more about how to communicate to their consumers by delving deep to understand the experience they want when eating their food and use this type of language in communicating to their target group.

The valuable insights mentioned above gave Campbell’s the opportunity to take these insights and overlay them onto their strategic plans for NPD and the brand communication that will support the brand and their consumers in the future.

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