The client is a manufacturer of stocks, gravies and jus. The company has been established for almost 25 years and has a turnover of £2.2m. They are a supplier in to the foodservice sector and wanted robust statistics which they could use to market and promote their gravy to their customers.

The client wished to test three variants of gravy samples – Beef, Chicken and Savoury.  FIS was challenged with recruiting chefs from cost and profit sectors, with a relevant split of subsectors, within these categories.

FIS recruited 100 customers that ate in pub chains and regularly consumed dishes that included gravy. A blind taste test was conducted with the customers, looking at the clients’ gravy vs their closest competitors.

After this stage FIS recruited 100 chefs to take part in a testing panel, which involved a number of stages, in order to get clear and insightful information.

Stage one:

We asked our chef panel to make up and taste each of the gravy samples, scoring them on key attributes such as aroma, taste and appearance, as well as the ease and speed of process and ease of blending.

Stage two:

In order to gauge a preference between samples, whilst the chefs were cooking, we asked them to note down their favourite from each category. This helped us to give the client a clear figure as to how many chefs preferred their sample, or other samples.

Stage three:

To give clarity to the marketing team, we asked our chefs what is most important when buying gravy in their kitchen. We gave them a number of factors, for example, ‘made in the UK’, or ‘free from declarable allergens’, and asked them to rate them from extremely unimportant, to extremely important.

Stage four:

Finally, we asked the chefs to look at the packaging for the clients’ sample. They were asked to assess the suitability of the sample, when thinking about their kitchen, and how key attributes, for example, yield information or allergens, were displayed.

As a result of our research project, our client was able to show the statistics we had gathered to their customers relevant for the sector, to demonstrate how well their products performed compared to their main rivals. They were also able to make claims within their industry to say theirs is the gravy most preferred by consumers, due to the first stage of the project.