Are you a taste setter, taste adopter or taste follower?

Monday 09 August 2010 11:45

According to a recent report, consumers of new food and drink products can be divided into three categories: taste setters, taste adopters and taste followers, depending on their attitude towards trying new things.

A report by retail and advisory service The Oxford Research Agency (TORA) has identified two groups of consumers which can make or break a newly launched food or drink product: taste setters and taste adopters. The findings, from the Question of Taste report, which became available on August 5, were based on interviews with 1534 people from across the United Kingdom, the United States, France, Germany, Brazil and China.

The survey found that within each country there was a certain percentage of people identified as "taste setters," who could determine the success of a product. In China, for example, a key 13 percent of respondents were responsible for dictating the trend of a brand's success. This key 13 percent are consulted by friends or family for advice on buying a new food or drink product and are usually the first amongst their social circle to buy such products.

"Taste setters" will often read numerous food-related magazines or watch food-and-drink-related TV programs. Countries such as China, or Brazil where internet word of mouth can determine the success or failure of a product and where certain brands are less well established, have a higher number of taste setters than other countries.

A recent example of a campaign involving taste setters involved Unilever's "love it or hate it" Marmite brand: the campaign for the vegetable spread used just 30 UK taste setters to spread news about the Marmite XO campaign via social media sites.

The second group, "taste adopters," will try new food and drink products within a month of seeing them but first need a recommendation from a celebrity, magazine or "taste setter." Thirty-nine percent of Chinese and 17 percent of French people are taste adopters.

The last group, and the majority of people in every country, are known as "taste followers." Taste followers are the last to try a new food or drink product and need a personal recommendation from a friend or family member whom they consider a taste setter before doing so.

The national breakdown of taste setters, taste adopters and taste followers from the report:

    UK   France   Germany   Brazil   China   USA
Taste setters   
   7%   9%   6%   20%   13%   10%
Taste adopters
  21%   17%   22%   35%   39%   35%
Taste followers   72%   74%   72%   45%   48%   65%

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