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Which American snack would be most successful in a Chinese market?

Jason Cohen
Published on
September 18, 2020

Crunchy Cheesy dairy flavored snacks are a common and popular household snack found in homes all over the United States. Consumers want to satisfy their savory cravings after a long day of work or while they watch a show. Do other countries have the same mentality when it comes to cheesy snacks? We gathered some of our favorite dairy snack products from the US and asked Gastrograph AI how they would perform in China.

With the data collected from our worldwide tasting panels and analyzed by our Artificial Intelligence Platform, we predicted which popular US dairy flavored snacks could be successful in the Chinese market. Through our tasting panels, we capture consumer perception and preferences in the Gastrograph Review App (App Store or Play Store) which the AI then uses to make predictions. The AI analyzed over 21 products and assigned each a predicted Perceived Quality (PQ) score, which is a preference score based on a 7 point hedonic scale. Products that receive a score of 4 and above are generally considered competitive.

According to Gastrograph AI’s predictions, Cheetos Puffs by Frito-Lay held the highest probability for success with Chinese consumers. Other top-scoring cheesy snacks include Flamin Hot Cheetos and Smartfood’s White Cheddar Cheese Popcorn.

Preference Archetypes

One of the capabilities of Gastrograph AI is clustering consumers by flavor preferences. We call these Preference Archetypes. This allows for customer segmentation analysis built entirely on flavor preferences.

Using Preference Archetypes F&B companies can identify segments of the population that are predisposed to like or dislike a product.

Are there segments of the consumer market who would prefer your product despite it performing poorly with the average consumer? Gastrograph AI can tell you using preference archetypes.

As an example of preference archetypes in action, on the right hand chart below you can see that the AI has called out three segments of the population and predicted how they would perceive Cheetos Puffs.

Figure 1: Cheetos Puffs Flavor Profile

Cheetos Puffs held a PQ score of 4.55 out of 7 with predicted preferable notes of ‘mineral’ ‘retronasal’ and ‘dry’. This “bold, cheesy flavor with a light and airy texture” product performed the highest in comparison to the other cheese-flavored products analyzed. AI predicted consumers would not enjoy the ‘mouth feel’, ‘sugars’, and ‘gamey’ notes. To increase the driving preference, a rise in mineral signatures such as calcium or iron would raise the PQ score. Also, a decrease in sugar signatures such as honey would also contribute to a significant increase in the score.

Figure 2: Smartfood’s White Cheddar Cheese Popcorn

Another high ranking cheesy snack was Smartfood’s White Cheddar Cheese Popcorn which held a PQ score of 4.21 out of 7. Gastrograph AI predicted consumers would potentially favor the strong ‘roasted’ flavor signature offered while disliking the ‘mineral’ and ‘retronasal’ notes. Driving preference for this product would increase if less cheddar was added and more cream was included.

Figure 3: Flamin Hot Cheetos Flavor Profile

With Cheetos Flamin’ Hot the AI recognized strong spice notes as the profile generated pleasant ‘spices’ ‘roasted’ and ‘mouth feel’ notes. Based on the data, it is expected that Chinese consumers wouldn’t enjoy the ‘dry’ ‘smoked’ or ‘herbaceous’ notes. This product could potentially be more favored if it were to increase its wheat flavor and lower the garlic or onion flavors.

A product that did not perform as well as the others was the Cheetos Flamin’ Hot Limon.

Figure 4: Cheetos Flamin’ Hot Limon Flavor Profile

This product held a relatively low PQ score of 2.95 out of 7. Gastrograph found that consumers would find the ‘astringent’ and ‘sour and acidity’ taste unfavorable. Similar to the original Cheetos Flamin’ Hot, it is predicted consumers would not enjoy the ‘dry’ taste.

If you are looking to create a quality product that is ideal for the cheesy snack lover, Gastograph AI has you covered.

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