We are happy to share inspiring research projects that we have done with clients. This time we share the story of Lianne Hanenberg, Marketing Director Benelux of Bonduelle, about the positioning of their new product: vegetable rice.
In addition to the local team, Bonduelle’s European Innovation and Development team is also involved in new concepts for the freezer section. Two years ago, an avid I&D colleague came up with the idea of using the stem of cauliflower and broccoli to make vegetable rice. This product was already in the refrigerated compartment but was not yet available in fresh-frozen. What people don’t know is that the stem of the vegetables is the most nutritious. By using the trunk in particular, the rice is also somewhat firmer than comparable products from the refrigerator compartment. The frozen product also has the convenience of being easy to keep in stock and easy to portion. And the food waste is prevented both at Bonduelle in the factory by using the trunk, but also at consumers’ homes because of the fresh-frozen solution. In short, we had a promising concept. But our team was faced with the question: how are we going to position this new product? Is it a vegetable feast on your plate, a substitute for rice and pasta, or something else?
We invited BL in an early stage and started working with them internally first. We spent a day working with BL’s 5W model to explore several directions. It is a very good model to work with and it produces useful results. We arrived at four promising concepts with a name and packaging design. Everything was still in sketch form. BL investigated these concepts in more detail with respondents to find out what consumers consider the most important characteristic of vegetable rice. Lots of greens on the plate or low in carbohydrates? The research showed that the combination of those two characteristics resulted in a winning formula. If we hadn’t done this research, we wouldn’t have been able to see this so clearly.
The product turned out to be a hit. Many consumers want fewer carbohydrates in their daily menu and this is easy to achieve with this product. Vegetable rice is a very relevant product because it really solves friction among consumers. With the key communication message “More vegetables & fewer carbohydrates” we entered the market with two variants; broccoli rice and cauliflower rice. But we were soon able to expand to four flavors. We now also have a zucchini and carrot variant.
Part of the success really comes down to timing. In the Netherlands, the theme of fewer carbohydrates was very important, in France, for example, not at all. There, the same product is positioned in a completely different way.
Retail is also happy with this product because it was an innovation in the category. It attracts a new target group to the freezer section. We were proud when our new product was voted Product of the Year! We also won the FoodAward.