Using a mobile diary study to understand usage of Butter and spreads.


Our client, a Qualitative Research Consultancy acting on behalf of a dairy brand needed to gain a better insight into consumers everyday usage of butters and spreads. They were frequently commissioned by Food & Beverage brands to deep dive into consumers path-to-purchase, consumption behaviours, attitudes and habits.

FMCG products often present challenges to researchers because the nature of the products mean that they are selected, purchased, prepared and consumed in very short time-frames. Using traditional methodologies such as in-store intercepts or in-home visits wasn’t giving our client the depth, richness or longitudinal data they needed to truly get under the skin of the consumer.

By leveraging a week in the life Mobile Diary Study, our client was able to better understand consumption patterns, product usage and point-of-purchase triggers and barriers.


The Challenge


Spreads are one of the most commonly used staples in most homes. Our client was briefed with understanding the use of spreads in home, as well as the purchasing preferences of different demographics of women. They understood one thing; the vast selection of butters and spreads in stores made it difficult for consumers to choose.

But that also meant that understanding the consumers’ selection and purchase rationale in-context and in-the-moment was previously difficult to achieve.

Going beyond the store, the end client had more questions than answers. Because all households were different in many ways, they struggled to truly understand usage across multiple personas. Who was using butter? When were they using it? What made any particular brand the preferred choice in the kitchen and why?


The Goals


Our client needed answers and they needed them quick. Their objectives were to :

  • Get a deeper understanding of the usage of butters and spreads in several types of homes.

  • Understand the path-to-purchase of spreads of families (particularly focusing on female personas)

  • Gain an authentic insight into thoughts, attitudes and experiences with regards to spreadable butter.


The Solution


When our client came to upon this challenge, we worked with them to see how a Mobile Diary Study could supplement this qualitative FMCG project.

Our client had already committed to undertaking focus-groups and a series of in-depth interviews with respondents. This was the core of their approach to the project.

However, we proposed that they use a Mobile Diary Study to compliment these in-person methodologies and scale their reach across multiple markets in the country without the need for costly and time consuming travel.

The Mobile Diary Study would also give our client a richer understanding of their respondents’ in-home and in-store behaviours.

Mobile Screen Recording was also used to capture online shopping behaviours of one Target Group of younger respondents.

We created 4 different target groups of respondents and each cohort was given 3 tasks to complete using Indeemo. This included an intro selfie video, a repetitive diary task that recorded in-home consumption and a shopping task (in-store or online via mobile) where the respondents recorded their purchase of spreadable butters.

Indeemo’s ability to record both in-store and online shopping meant that respondents’ deliberations, selections and purchase triggers were captured in the moment.


Even more insightful, were the in-context motivations and behaviours that were being captured in these key moments. Using real-time push notification probes as respondents stood in front of the butter section in stores, our client was even able to converse and interact with respondents and better understand what influenced their buying decisions.

As the diary-study moved to the home, our client started seeing a wide-range of uses. The target groups spanned all women of all ages with young and old families of varying size, as well as those without families. The range of actors and factors influencing the choice of butter in households was unprecedented.

Contact us

If you’d like to know more about how Mobile Diary Studies can help you understand consumer motivations surrounding food and beverages (or indeed any category of product), please contact us.

Our strategists will explain the benefit of various Mobile Ethnography approaches and will help you select a strategy that will best suit your client’s unique requirements.

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