Russian consumers perceive “everyday freshness,” in terms of fresh taste, colors and fragrance quite differently for example, than American or Brazilian perceptions.
Freshness in Russia
The first aspect of Russian consumer research that stood out from other countries was how Russian consumers segment freshness by season and even time of day. Perhaps this is due to the long Russian winters and then the sharp contrast to beautiful springtime and summer. Each season was associated with images and smells: Summer – early morning grass and dew; autumn – forest, mushrooms; winter – frost, smell of fresh laundry drying in cold; spring – the smell of fresh grass, “spring smell.”
In terms of times of the day, “freshness” was defined as follows:
Morning – included brushing teeth and showering; drinking well water / juice with breakfast, visiting the “Dacha” (small garden), going barefoot on grass or vacationing.
Midday – Freshness associated salads, fresh vegetables, herbs, Okroshka (Russian cold soup), tea with lemon or ginger, lemonade.
Evening – Foods and beverages such as cooked, grilled bell pepper, eggplant, red onions; and salads such as “Caprese”(!). Champagne (dry), white or Rose wine. Ice cream and fruit sauces.
Russian Freshness Feedback
Russian consumers associated the following flavors with fresh taste: Mint, Basil, Dill, Herbal; Lime, Lemon and Grapefruit; Watermelon; Green Apple, Cucumber; “Greenery,” Berries such as red berries, forest berries and strawberries; Watermelon, Kiwi, Ice Cream flavors, garden vegetables, Pomegranates, “Food from the Grill,” and “Food without preservatives.”
Beverages included cold spring water, Citrus juice, Tea (and Herbal Tea) with Lemon or Currant, Carrot and Celery juice, Mojito (!), traditional Russian berry drinks, Campari with Citrus, Pomegranate juice, Dry Champagne.
Deeper Elements of Freshness
We asked panelists to imagine they were on continents that described freshness. This is an exercise tying together imagery and sensorial information to create a platform. Russian consumers identified three continents of everyday freshness:
Freshness & Cleanliness – Fragrances: Mint/Menthol, Flavors: Mint Intensive, Feeling*: Cooling/Chilling, Colors: White & Blue-Green
Taste & Indulgence – Fragrances: Fruits & Berries, Juicy, Fruit Mix, Flavors: Not too intense, Watermelon, Citrus, Currant, Feeling: Warm/Tropical, Colors: Bright & Playful
Self – Confidence – Fragrances: Light & Pleasant Citrus, Flavors: Cucumber. Herbal, Feeling: Moderate, Colors: Warm Yellow/Green
*By feeling, the moderator asked a question of ‘temperature’ of the continent
The Freshness of Russia
It was quite interesting to compare and contrast feelings of freshness in Russia versus warmer climates such as Mexico or Brazil. With the advent of spring and the emergence of lush greenery, herbs, fruits and vegetables the vegetation and warmth come to represent coming alive and renewal. The preferred flavors may range from dill to light citrus to crisp cucumber and overall, fragrances fall into fruity or herbal categories. In formulating a “fresh taste” concept for this market be aware that simply transposing Western Hemisphere preferences may not succeed and more intense consumer testing should be considered.