“Freshness around the World” – Part 1 of 9: USA
What do consumers mean when they say something “tastes fresh?” Freshness triggers more complex sensory responses from consumers than we might imagine. Different cultures embrace different perceptions of freshness; as a result, R&D and marketing must understand that cultural perceptions of freshness may significantly affect product performance. Over the next several weeks we will post consumer research on “freshness” as perceived in the United States, Mexico, Brazil, France, Germany, Russia, China, Japan and India.
Freshness in the USA
In the United States, panelists and moderators explored what the concept of “everyday freshness” meant to them in terms of colors, flavors, images and emotions. The methodology went from top down; from generalized feelings to deeper sensory information.
Responding to freshness in wide-ranging terms, consumers frequently mentioned “Water” in all of its forms including after the rain, the smell of dew, showering, ocean breezes and snow. “Nature,” was also connected with freshness, including close to nature or fresh air. Non-specific information was also associated with clean, light, (bright) colors, new born baby and new. Regarding food and beverage references, freshness included: unprocessed, fresh fruit/produce, crisp apple, citrus, mint, herbal and farmer’s market.
We then asked panel members to imagine themselves on a “Freshness Continent.” What might the continents be named and what would we experience on them?
Clean Continent – Crisp, Clean, Water, Sky
Vitality Continent – Vibrant, Colorful, Rejuvenating, Movement, Flavorful, Energized
Serenity Continent – Enjoyment, Happy, Seclusion, Relaxing/Calming, Chill, Quiet
Natural Purity Continent – Innocence, Untouched, Nature, Green, Sun Purified, New
Within each freshness continent there were emotions that could also be found in other continents. Freshness called forth cleansing, purity, nature or rejuvenation. Freshness was also seen as happy, innocent, vibrant and colorful. These common elements made it possible to merge the continents to two areas, “Clean” and “Natural Purity.” We then asked panelists to develop sensorial associations within these areas
Deeper Elements of Freshness
What are the sensorial elements Americans correlated with “freshness?”
In terms of “Clean,” colors associated with freshness included: Green, White, Water (Water White) and Blue. Fragrances included: Fresh cut grass, Pine/wintergreen/mint, Rose, Ocean, Lavender, Baby powder and Linens.
Those relating to “Clean” visualized: Fluffy clouds, Birds, Butterflies and
Waterfalls. “Clean” included: Cold/Crisp, Relaxed, Confident, Bold and Play
“Natural Purity” embraced different images and emotions. Color association though fairly consistent within the two groups, expanded with this group to include yellows and sand. Fragrances, flavors and imagery included: New tree buds, flowers, Grass/wet grass, Dew, Fresh fruit, Mint leaves, Salt water. Those who viewed freshness as natural beauty, associated with athletics, energy, deep breathing, relaxation, nudity, health and sweat.
American Concept of Freshness
Freshness means clean, crisp, natural and pure. Freshness is water, air and health; it is colors; flavors were herbal, grassy, floral and fruity. Freshness is earthy, evoking confidence and a sense of playfulness. Freshness is a farmers market. It is a butterfly against cool, clear sky. Freshness is new and pure.