Are you a cruncher? Or a smoosher? Food companies want to know. More than ever food manufacturers are paying closer attention to consumer's texture preferences as they consider attributes that drive success in new product launches. According to an article in today's Wall Street Journal, texture "is just as important as taste or flavor, in many cases," says Jack Fortum, president of the North American business at Ingredion, Inc., a food ingredient processor that holds hundreds of taste tests each year. The article goes on to highlight how there were 20,790 new food packages world-wide making a texture claim in 2012 which is roughly double the number from 2008.
I had to laugh when PepsiCo's Frito-Lay says it launched a bigger, thicker chip for its Doritos' Jacked line last year to build on the "tooth-rattling" crunch profile that 20-something males prefer. Yogurt maker Chobani, who's shopper marketing efforts our agency team at Theory House has supported, launched Chobani Flips earlier this year to pair combinations of toasted almonds, graham cracker pieces and praline pecans with the smooth yogurt texture.
Who knew, but consumers generally fall into one of four major texture preference profiles and "mouth behaviors". The lion's share are "Chewers" with 43% share. These folks enjoy the prolonged chewing of a soft cookie. Coming in at 33% are "Crunchers" who favor the crunch of a granola bar. "Smooshers" at 16% are into the smooth and creamy feeling of mashed potatoes and sweet deserts. And rounding out the field at 8% are "Suckers" who prefer long-lasting hard candies. Suckers.
Check out the article for more insights and you'll read why the explosion of Greek yogurts has introduced a myriad of texture to the diary aisle.