EIT Food Consumer Engagement Labs

Consumer Engagement Labs are pre-competitive co-creation sessions carried out by a relatively coherent group of consumers (selected based on specific segmentation criteria) in a joint, physical place and limited in time, focused on ideation/development of new product concepts. Unlike typical sensory panels and consumer surveys, they will not involve testing of sample products but creation of innovative, yet non-existing combinations of product features and benefits. (EIT Food KAVA#19153)

 

The development of Lab methodology is co-ordinated by University of Warsaw with the involvement of industrial and academic partners and subcontractors. Labs activities are pre-competitive in nature, i.e. multiple companies could be inspired by insights into consumer preferences. In 2019, the Labs will be piloted in Poland, Lithuania, Portugal and Spain (EIT RIS countries), engaging older consumers (aged 60+). The interactive methodology of Labs, developed in 2019, will be applicable in 2020 to other consumer segments and countries. It will use games/gamification to engage consumers, stimulate creativity and foster the acceptance of new products. It will allow non-experts to modify product features without the need to master specialist vocabulary or understand ingredients/manufacturing methods. This collective exercise will yield non-obvious, counter-intuitive combinations of product features and be attractive for consumers involved in the co-creation.

 

This preview website includes preliminary information about the activity. For more information, please contact the project leaderProf. Krzysztof Klincewicz, University of Warsaw, kklincewicz@wz.uw.edu.pl

 

Partners of RIS Consumer Engagement Labs activity of EIT Food, 2019: University of Warsaw, University of Aarhus, Maspex, PepsiCo, Sodexo, Fitorex, CLC North-East, CLC South

 

 

Key info about the activity:

  • By engaging with consumers and civil society in selected EIT RIS countries, the activity will promote trust-based product co-creation, with consumers as change agents and opinion leaders, to further enhance the understanding of consumer needs by industry and respond to the specific, identified requirements. Product concepts developed in the Lab will results from collective ideation, respect the value systems of target consumers (prosumers) and promote dialogue between consumers and industry. Consumer Engagement Labs will be piloted in 4 EIT RIS countries (Poland, Lithuania, Portugal, Spain), targeting older consumers (aged 60+). Each Lab will rely on co-creation activities, carried out collectively by a group of consumers in one physical location, in an interactive, engaging format, time-limited manner, leading to ideation/concept development (pre-competitive, exploring possible ideas and concepts rather than testing potential products, thus differing from typical sensory panels). Collective processes will be stimulated to generate frugal innovations that benefit consumers from the target countries, meeting functionality and budgetary requirements of consumers.
  • Consumer centricity and connectedness will be important values manifested by the activity, which aims to establish repetitive methods of consumer engagement, replicable in different geographies, consumer groups and product categories. Engaging consumers in the ideation of food products (in line with design thinking approach) will reshape the supply chain, as consumers become change agents (prosumers, contributing to the development and production of food they prefer).
  • Consumer co-creation is an important learning process, through which a combination of knowledge, lifetime experience, diverse personal value systems and preferences could be turned into innovative ideas and product designs. The activity will elaborate co-creation methodology that could be further used in other geographies, consumer segments and product categories, as well as inspire participants of various activities of EIT Food. The interactive methodology of Labs (replicable to multiple consumer markets, not only mature consumers) will use games/gamification to engage consumers, stimulate creativity and foster the acceptance of new products. The methodology will draw on the principles of design thinking, speculative design, morphological analysis and TRIZ. It will have the potential to be applied to other consumer segments or geographies. It will allow non-experts to modify product features without the need to master specialist vocabulary or understand ingredients/manufacturing methods. This collective exercise will yield non-obvious, counter-intuitive combinations of product features and be attractive for consumers involved in the co-creation.
  • The co-creation processes will take into consideration specific nutritional requirements of the aging population to respond to chemo-sensory decline (e.g. in olfactory, gustatory and chemesthetic perception), challenges posed by dental health, possible drug interactions, changed frequency and quantity of food intake, as well as pre-existing, personal value systems and eating habits to cope with neophobia, documented by research of older consumers in EIT RIS countries. Older consumers in EIT RIS countries are characterized by: lower purchasing power, price consciousness and frequent experiences of food insufficiency, have specific dietary preferences and eating behavior patterns, attach importance to nutritious needs for balanced diets. Many of them suffer from age-related chemosensory declines (e.g. specific olfactory, gustatory and chemesthetic perception patterns), dental health deficiencies, changed frequency and quantity of food intake, interactions with drugs or food-linked health conditions. Their value systems are difficult to influence (neophobia). Older consumers as a group present limited monetization potential for major food manufacturers in EIT RIS countries, but account for a growing share of population and thus,by understanding their needs, food and beverage manufactures could better address important societal challenges. Through direct involvement of consumers in co-creation processes in Consumer Engagement Labs, familiarity with product design practices and industrial food and beverage sector will be enticed, and consumer trust in the food system shall be strengthened. Consumers will co-create new product/service concepts that will subsequently be introduced to the market. Mature market is highly diversified, including small, heterogeneous consumer segments with many potentially attractive niches that are yet to be discovered by food and beverage manufacturers. Older consumers display reluctance in using some of the communication channels typical for food sector (such as e.g. social media), and require distinctive communication patterns. The methodology of Consumer Engagement Labs will establish and test a structured method of elicitating consumer requirements through a mutual communication and co-creation process.