Page 2: Responding to market demands
A market led company like Nestlé is continually monitoring customer attitudes and requirements through market research. This research takes two main forms:
- Qualitative research. This involves setting up small focus groups of consumers who express their ideas and opinions about their needs and views on different products. At one level, this might involve asking groups of athletes to talk about their lifestyles, dietary habits and training regimes. At another level, it could involve a consumer focus group discussing the quality of the nutritional labelling on a yoghurt drink.
- Quantitative research. Whereas qualitative research involves only relatively few people, quantitative research involves much bigger numbers. For example, professional market researchers may interview thousands of people through postal or telephone interviewing.
Nestlé regularly uses both forms of research to gain a clear idea of consumer opinions and trends. Market research helps the company to keep in touch with an ever changing environment in which social attitudes and buying patterns are continually shifting.
Nestlé's market researchers do not work in isolation. They liaise closely with the company's product developers, food scientists and technologists. In this way the company can design products to meet market needs.
Research and Development
Nestlé spends more on Research and Development (R&D) than any other company in the food industry. It is constantly looking at ways to improve its products.
Using this market-led approach, Nestlé introduced and developed its Sveltesse ('slimness' or 'elegance' in French) range. The range began with yoghurts and dairy products and globally now includes bottled water, ice cream, cereal bars and frozen prepared meals. In developing Sveltesse, the emphasis is concentrating on an appealing taste combined with a low or no fat, low calorie option.