Usefulness of the discrete choice methodology for marketing decision-making in new product development: an example from the European functional foods market



Understanding consumer needs should be a high-priority strategic objective in new product development (NPD). Despite their importance, however, NPD processes do not take full advantage of the consumer survey methodologies available. The authors investigate+ parents” preferences for three new functional children's snacks marketed in Greece. Using a very simple discrete choice experimental design, the authors aim (a) to provide an example of consumer research implementation in food-related NPD and to assess its marketing value, and (b) to evaluate the quality of the acquired consumer-related information for marketing decision-making in food consumer-led NPD processes against a number of criteria set in the relevant literature. “Functionality” is found to be a statistically significant attribute for all three children's snacks of the research design compared to other attributes such as flavor and price. Parents seem to perceive the functional snack alternative as offering greater utility as compared to its conventional (i.e., nonfunctional) counterpart. Overall, the authors conclude that, despite some inherent weaknesses, the advantage of the discrete choice methodology in connection with consumer-led food NPD lies in its ability to describe current consumer needs and desires realistically and to contribute to the optimization of existing products. [EconLit Classification: M310, C920, C930, D100]. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.