What it means to “Feel Fresh Everyday”
What does it mean when someone says that a food or beverage tastes or smells “fresh?” This is the second in our series of blogs, where international panelists identified five critical freshness areas: Cleanliness, Natural, Vitality, Enjoyment and Relaxation. This post will introduce the concept of “Natural.”
How does “feeling fresh” relate to experiencing “Natural?” We asked panelists in several countries to imagine “Freshness” to be a planet, and to name the continents. “Natural” was chosen as a continent.
“Natural” evoked imagery of greenery, flowers and restful picnics. Natural was also imagined as calm ocean images and harbor scenes. Natural was idyllic; it was sniffing a flower on a spring day or autumn leaves gently covering a park bench.
Those that named the “Natural” area as a vital component of “Fresh,” wanted the product to help them reach purity and simplicity, peacefulness and tranquility. The continent was seen as calm and soothing, recharging and revitalizing.
“Natural” enabled some of our panelists to feel “green,” healthy, relaxed and energized.
As we have discovered in other aspects of everyday freshness, what is highly valued in one culture may not be very important to others. Associations of “Natural” to “Freshness” were ranked by our panelists.
The countries where “Natural” was an important “Freshness Continent” included Brazil, USA and Japan. In the USA, “Natural” was strongly connected with product purity and in Japan there was a strong link between “Freshness” and “Nature.” Launching a product with a “Fresh” flavor or fragrance profile in the USA, Japan or Brazil that contained artificial ingredients would probably not fare well.
On the other hand, “Natural” was not as important in Mexico, China, France, Germany, Russia or India. The one mixed result in this group was Germany, where panelists mentioned the importance of “Natural” in the freshness research but it was not at the top of the platform.
In reviewing the responses from those countries with a high correlation of “Freshness” to “Natural” flavor and fragrance concepts, panelists translated the correlation into colors, flavors and other elements. In terms of colors, all shades of green, blue, white and tan evoked “Natural.” Flavors included mint and herbal, honey, Chai tea and fruity. Japanese panelists also favored strong citrus. The caveat is again that the flavors must be natural in origin.
As for flavor intensity that evoked “Natural” associations, no matter how pure and “green,” panelists wanted their ingredients, they favored moderate to subtle flavor intensity. Subtlety was especially strong Japanese consumers.“Natural” fragrance as part of a freshness concept leaned strongly on herbal, fruity and minty.
The “Natural Continent” as an everyday freshness flavor element was very important to consumers in some international markets and of little or no importance to others. As is always our recommendation, pre-launch market testing is crucial.