Consumer Focus

A thorough understanding of the target market and consumer preferences is necessary before developing any new beverage. Moreover, it is more complicated than it looks. Extensive market and consumer research is imperative before implementing new ideas in the field of beverage development. This can be an expensive yet cost effective initiative. The alternative to proceeding without conducting and analyzing proper research will likely yield undesirable results. Recognizing the desires of consumers will lead toward a successful beverage development process. New beverage development requires creativity combined with knowledge and expertise. It is a collaborative effort between experienced research and development experts that utilizes many skill sets. Knowledge gained through research can help identify emerging trends, test new flavor profiles, gain insights into factors that motivate consumer purchase and maintain loyalty, understand the implications of different pricing schemes, provide information about competitive activity, gauge the feasibility of utilizing new distribution channels, explore product line extensions, and on and on. Thorough research will prove its value many times over. The next step in the beverage development process is the formulation of the beverage. This involves sourcing ingredients and developing a proprietary recipe. Industry experts employ food scientists and beverage specialists who understand the importance of matching tastes and other sensory cues to specific target markets. Once the prototype is developed, the focus of the beverage development process will switch phase and focus on marketing. Given recent economic conditions, consumers are more sensitive to value—a combination of price and quality attributes. Creative marketing strategies will be necessary to develop a complete beverage development plan. As with research, developing a well thought out marketing program will optimize opportunities and minimize mistakes. Innovative promotional programs along with effective communication strategies will help heighten awareness, educate the consumer, and convey the proper brand image. Effective beverage development must include cooperation between the producer, distributors and retailers. Attractive incentives can help enlist the resources of these partners and result in premium shelf locations. A careful evaluation of necessary resources, a determination of a realistic budget, recruitment of a project management team and the establishment of a timeframe should occur before beginning the elaborate process of the beverage development process.