Market Research


For this task you must imagine that the plant-based meat company that you have started (see Group Task Marketing) has been up and running successfully for 5 years: you have reached a market share of about 20% (i.e. about 1 in 5 Belgian consumers buys your products at least once per year).

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Until now, your products have always been sold in plastic packaging. However, consumers, the government and the media are becoming more negative about the use of plastic because it is very polluting for the environment. Therefore, you are considering changing the packaging of your products from plastic packaging to eco-friendly, biodegradable packaging (based on paper).

Because the eco-friendly packaging is based on paper, it has an impact on the number of days you can keep the meat products after purchase and thus the expiration date: with the plastic packaging your products remained fresh for at least 10 days, whereas with the eco-friendly, biodegradable packaging, your products need to be consumed within 5 days following purchase.

Because of this impact on the expiration date, before deciding to change the type of packaging, you want to do a detailed market research to be sure that consumers will not stop buying your brand because of this change. In other words, you want to have an indication of the impact of this change in packaging (and expiration period) on your sales.

Work out the ideal research setup for this business question, based on the following concrete questions.

  1. Research Problem and Goals (300-500 words) – 15% of score

1.1. Formulate the business objective of this market research case in one sentence.

1.2. Formulate the main research objective of this market research in one sentence.

1.3. Make a list of at least 6 possible specific research questions that could be included in this market research to answer the research objective.

  1. General approach (300-500 words) – 15% of score

Would you choose to approach this market research question via quantitative or via qualitative market research? Give convincing arguments for your choice.

  1. Sample (300-500 words) – 15% of score

3.1. Who? Define the research population of your market research, i.e. the people that are of interest for your market research.

3.2. Number? How many people will you included in the research sample, i.e. how large will your sample size be? Give the reasoning behind your choice.

3.3. Using the standard sample size formula for estimating a percentage (you can use z=1.96, which is associated with a confidence level of 95%): imagine that you estimate that 10% of your population will stop buying your products because of the change in packaging and you can accept an error margin of only 1%, what is the sample size that you would need to reach in that case? And what is the sample size that you would need to reach if you can accept an error margin of 2%?

  1. Research method (300-400 words) – 10% of score

Which specific research method do you want to use? If you have chosen a quantitative approach in Question 2: are you going to use postal, telephone, personal or online interviews? Why? If you have chosen a qualitative approach in Question 2: are you going to use individual interviews or focus groups? Why?

  1. Neuroscientific research methods (300-400 words) – 10% of score

There are three reasons why companies sometimes prefer to use innovative neuroscientific research methods (brain imaging, physiological measures, etc.) rather than the traditional quantitative or qualitative methods (which always rely on asking questions to people). Are any of the reasons valid in this case? Explain why / why not.

  1. Analyses and reporting (1250-1750 words) – 35% of score

In questions 1-5 you have defined your ideal research approach. Now imagine, that someone in the company has recently done another research among a sample of n=1007 that is representative of the population of Belgian consumers (so both people who buy your product and people who do not buy your product). To help you out, this person has included a few questions related to your research question. Of course, this setup might not correspond with your ideal research setup (above), but at least it gives you some insights about your research goal and your business objective. On Canvas you can also find an excel file with the results of this research. For each of the questions (column A) and response options (column B) you get the results of the total sample (column D), but also for specific subgroups, defined by what answers they gave on the questions in the survey (column E – column AD). (Note: the sample sizes that are mentioned are the number of people who participated in the study, e.g. 531 men and 476 women. As in most market research studies, the percentages have been statistically weighted (corrected) to be an exact representation of the Belgian population, e.g. 50% men and 50% women. Please work with the weighted percentages and not with the actual sample sizes.)

6.1. Looking at all the results in the Excel tables and thinking about your business objective: What is the main message/conclusion coming out of this research? Summarize the main message in one single sentence.

6.2. Looking at all the results in the Excel tables, what are the main points supporting this main message?

6.3. Make a to-the-point mini report consisting of minimum 3 and maximum 6 graphs, illustrating the main message and the main points of the research. Make sure each graph contains all necessary information to interpret the graph. Use all the tips that were given to make the graph as easy as possible to interpret.

6.4. Finally, what is your recommendation? Should your company change eco-friendly, biodegradable packaging or should it keep the plastic packaging? Explain why you give this advice.


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