Teterboro, New Jersey, January 5, 2009 – Emmanuel Laroche, Vice President, Marketing and Sensory Consumer Science (M&SCS) Department, Symrise, North America, announced new Ready to Drink (RTD) coffee concepts that resulted from gaining consumer insights early on in the flavor concept stage of product development.
Mr. Laroche stated, “Our new, ‘refreshing’ RTD coffee flavor concepts were developed for a faster product development track than what was previously considered to be timely. The standard methods once used by the industry for ‘on time’ flavor developments are obsolete for today’s highly competitive food and beverage arena. At Symrise, we believe while many continue to accept yesterday’s idea of what constitutes ‘on time’ delivery, our new accelerated, ‘earlier-is-better’ flavor development approach is more efficient and provides our customers with a strong market advantage.”
The marketing Specialists of Symrise’s Marketing and Sensory Consumer Science (M&SCS) Department created the protocepts that served as a starting point for Symrise’s beverage flavor technologists and application specialists. “Our flavor team achieved successful, refreshing RTD coffee concepts through our extensive research, gathering data and insights to identify what consumers are looking for in this important category. Our findings were transformed into protocepts that drove the development of prototypes. These prototypes were then validated by our sensory group and outside consumer panels,” said Mr. Laroche.
Symrise Flavor Designers Club identifies the coffee lovers’ experience
Key to uncovering what consumers think about coffee was Symrise’s Flavor Designers Club, an online proprietary panel comprised of participants who, passionate about food, see themselves as ‘foodies’. Mr. Laroche underscored the role of the Flavor Designers Club, which was developed in cooperation with Socratic Technologies. He said that panelists who are coffee lovers reported that they looked upon coffee as an “old friend”; what “gets me up in the morning”; “an extension of the dessert experience” and “a ritual”. Coffee lovers said that they drank coffee in the morning for an energy boost, at mid-day to sustain energy and in the evening as a pleasant ritual, frequently to complete a meal. Enjoying coffee that provided authentic aroma and taste was seen as a prime motivator any time of day. By contrast, panelists who are not avid coffee drinkers but are also not outright rejecters of coffee reported that they are interested in refreshing RTD coffee infused with ‘good for you’ fruit tastes. Mr. Laroche said, “It was these findings that led to protocepts that were to guide the creative development of prototypes, which we dubbed Barista Premium Coffee Coolers and Fruit ‘n Java.” The Barista prototype is a deliciously refreshing premium coffee cooler. Fruit ‘n Java brings refreshment to a new level by blending healthy ingredients such as B-vitamins and ginseng with a flavorful touch of coffee. Mr. Laroche explained that the sensory arm of M&SCS took the next step by validating these prototypes among consumer panels that consisted of participants between the ages of 19 through 54, the same age group as the online respondents in the Flavor Designers Club coffee study.
From Symrise insights to flavor delivery and a quicker product development
“Beyond our grasp of sophisticated flavor technology, we are engaging flavor experts and creative consumers to identify winning tastes for our customers’ brands. Within the Symrise organization,” Mr. Laroche said, “the entire flavor team collaborated in developing RTD coffee beverage concepts that ‘hit the mark’. It’s a good example of what customers stand to gain in the earliest stages of product development. They can be sure of our exclusive, accelerated flavor development process that will get them to market faster with flavors that lead to product success. Increasingly, Symrise’s pragmatic, delivery-led approach is becoming extremely valuable to customers who are experiencing that being ‘on time’ in the traditional sense is just too late in today’s challenging business environment,” concluded Mr. Laroche.