Testing whether Cook & Create’s product range answers the challenges of its focus segments hospitality and catering. The results were aimed at optimising the concept, communication and route to market.
THE WORK METHOD
Panel discussions in the Netherlands & Belgium followed by product testing within the hospitality and catering segment.
THE REACTION FROM PIETERCIL
“We gained a lot of insight into the challenges faced by chefs when introducing vegetarian or vegan dishes to the menu. The initial reactions to the concept were enthusiastic, although the panel members still had some questions and comments. It was precisely this honest and open feedback that helped us fine-tune the concept. We were then able to use this information to choose different packaging and optimise the composition of the range. Incredibly valuable. And not only in terms of concept development. It has also allowed us to communicate a better story to our partners and the entire market. Because GROUP7 helped us market this concept in addition to the panel discussion and product test, we were able to achieve a lot in a short period of time. This has already earned us the distinction of being named best partner of Oresto, innovation of the year at JAVA and a nomination for the Horeca Expo Innovation Award and Horecava Innovation Award.”
HOW DO YOU MAKE IT EASY FOR CHEFS TO INTRODUCE MEATLESS DISHES TO THEIR MENUS?
Pietercil Foodservice has noticed an increasing demand for vegetarian and vegan dishes among consumers, whilst foodservice supply is lagging behind. Why is that? How can they assist chefs here? Based on these questions, they have developed the Cook & Create concept, a range of semi-finished dry products that make preparing vegetarian and vegan dishes quick and easy. These basics help chefs while still allowing them to easily add their own personal signature to the dish. This is what helps chefs stand out among their peers.
Pietercil Foodservice enlisted the help of GROUP7 for route to market and concept & communication optimisation. A key element in the process was verifying whether the concept did indeed match the needs and challenges of chefs. For this purpose, a panel discussion followed by product testing in Belgium and the Netherlands was held within the hospitality and catering segments.
INSIGHT INTO CHALLENGES FACING CHEFS
As a chef, how often do you get asked for a meat-free dish? As a chef, do you find it easy to create vegetarian dishes? As a chef, where do you get your inspiration for vegetarian and vegan dishes? How do you prepare a vegetarian or vegan dish? What products do you use here? What do you think of the current product range available? Questions such as these were asked to the panel in order to gain more insight into how chefs conceptualise and create vegetarian dishes as well as the challenges that are involved. For instance, the interviews revealed that the offer among wholesalers and the inspiration within in this field is still limited in Belgium, whereas it is already more developed in the Netherlands. One frustration expressed by some panel members was that many meat alternatives are frozen or chilled and do not come in the desired packaging; either in large packages or in retail packaging. This did not match their needs, as refrigeration space is very limited and a retail product is not distinctive enough.
THEN IS COOK & CREATE THE SOLUTION?
This could very well be a nice product! It looks great, lovely! I haven’t heard of this, I don’t think there is anything like this on the market yet. One respondent was delighted to hear that it’s not another frozen product. The initial reactions to Cook & Create’s concept were complimentary. This was quickly followed by a host of questions. Is this a basic product that you can add to and adjust to your own style? Or is it already more of a convenience product with no room left for creativity? Why isn’t it in transparent packaging?
The main fear was that it had been processed too much. After the taste test, this notion was dispelled and the participants were happy they could still put their own twist on things because that is an essential requirement for semi-finished products. As a chef, you still want to be able to express your own creativity.
“The biggest advantage is that it is a dried product with a long shelf life, so you can easily respond to any unexpected demand for vegetarian or vegan dishes. There are still times when people do not specify their dietary needs in advance,” said one respondent. Another participant liked the fact that the portion size of the burger was customisable and you could also opt to add whatever vegetables you wanted, creating your own veggie burger. Finally, everyone was excited that it was so quick and easy to prepare because, especially with fewer and fewer trained chefs in the kitchen, keeping a constant eye on quality proved a challenge.
TURNING INSIGHT INTO ACTION
All of these insights were used to optimise the concept and determine what message should be taken to market. The choice was: ‘Easy Tasty Veggie. Your convenient solution to the rising demand for plant-based options’. The message addresses the challenges: the time constraints and the convenience while still being able to express your own creativity and meet the rising demand for vegetarian dishes.
A roadmap was then created. What steps were needed first, why, and how would we approach it to ensure a successful launch. This helped the entire team focus on launching the range within a short period of time. And successfully at that. The concept has been very enthusiastically received by the market. It has already been named innovation of the year by several vendors.
The product range offered by Cook & Create is available in the Netherlands and Belgium from a variety of wholesalers. Want to know more? Have a look at www.cookandcreate.eu.