Melanie has worked at Procter and Gamble in London and New York, Remington in London and Mars Wrigley across Western Europe which gives her an insiders perspective on how some of the world’s best FMCG companies operate and become so successful. It’s not just FMCG, Melanie also worked for global pharmaceutical giant Hospira where she was able to combine market research and her background in science within the field of oncology to bring about improvements to patient treatment. After Melanie returned to Australia, she jumped the fence and started working supplier side, firstly at Colmar Brunton and then at GfK before starting pod research & strategy five years ago. These positions allowed Melanie to gain a broader perspective across multiple categories and businesses of all sizes as well as a broad range of research objectives. Melanie has worked on projects big and small using a range of qualitative and quantitative methodologies but if you had to ask her what she enjoys doing most, the answer would most definitely be “research”! Having authored a number of independent white papers, her most recent, The Taste of Expectation dives into how Erickson’s Law of Expectation impacts a consumers’ perception of taste.
There is no shortage of claims being made across all categories of food and drinks within our supermarkets in a never ending race to win over the consumer and ultimately be chosen. From claims such as low fat, diet, and salt or sugar reduced, to claims such as organic, socially responsible or now with added protein, we couldn’t help but wonder how these claims are impacting the taste experienced by the consumer. On the face of it, many of these claims are associated with negative taste perceptions. Just think about what you expect a diet ice cream to taste like or a reduced salt tomato soup and I can almost guarantee that you don’t hold out high hopes for liking the taste of them. Whilst some of this expectation is based upon prior experiences of products with these claims failing to impress you, there is a deeper issue at play. In a number of independent sensory research projects designed to explore the role of Erickson’s Law of Expectation, we explored how different claims impact on the taste of a wide range of food and drinks and how some claims being made about products is either helping or hindering them.