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Taste spotting

Are you a taste setter, taste adopter or taste follower? These groups can make or break the fate of a food brand.

india Updated: Aug 14, 2010 01:48 IST

Are you a taste setter, taste adopter or taste follower? These groups can make or break the fate of a food brand.

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 – Oxford Research Agency – 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 recently, were based on interviews with 1,534 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 programmes. In countries such as China or Brazil, 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’s 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”.

Around 39 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.