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Hard Sezlter CLT

Helping to find the right recipe for the UK palate

Our client was working to perfect the recipe on what would turn out to be the hottest new drink trend of Summer 2020 - The Hard Seltzer.

This type of drink was already well established in the US, but yet to take off in the UK. But how would the UK palette react to the flavours? In order to identify the perfect flavours Zest were tasked with organising a central location comparison taste test  with 1,200 potential consumers. 

Read on to find out about the great success, but ultimate failure.

Challenge accepted!

Zest set up the perfect central location test (CLT) in London & Leeds, and planned to welcome 1,200 testers s to sample variations on a number of core flavours being proposed for the UK market. 

This required venues which could cater for our needs to host testers comfortably in a relaxed setting, store sufficient product and ensure the product was stored at the perfect temperature

We decided to utilise our St Albans facility, The White Rooms, for some smaller trial sessions before kicking off the main trial in London and Leeds to ensure processes were perfected. 

Specialist roles, special results

Preparing and serving drinks to 1,200 people is no easy feat, especially whilst also administering interviews and organising the flow of 1,200 consumers flowing through the doors. During set up we quickly decided that this role would benefit from trained, experienced waiting staff and so instead of muddling through we hired specialists that ensured drinks were delivered, and retrieved with precision - and spillages kept to a minimum.

This also allowed the Zest team the freedom to focus on delivering high quality interviews, and managing the overall flow across locations.

Ran like a restaurant

With taste trials that involve often subtle recipe variations like this one, it was highly important that products were stored, prepared and served in a consistent manner,. To ensure consistency across the board, a senior project manager was placed in each key area. 

Firstly the kitchen manager, who essentially performed the role of a kitchen Expediter checked that fridges and product were at the specified temperature every hour, drinks were poured at the correct angle and to the specified line. Any discrepencies and the drink was sent back to be re-done. 

The front of house performed the Maitre d' role. Ensuring waiting staff were attentive and always looking out for testers who had finished their drink or needed the next product. This meant that drinks were served quickly and temperatures did no fluctuate and subsequently finished drinks were cleared promptly.

Lastly, the general manager oversaw the whole operation. Making sure respondents, interviewers waiting staff and kitchen staff were in sync and the process ran like clockwork. 

A Covid crisis

Unfortunately due to the outbreak of Covid 19, the study was cut short and all fieldwork had be stopped. Zest quickly communicated with all remaining respondents and halted the trial. 

Luckily the first few days of fieldwork in both locations had gone well and a good amount of data was collected. This meant the client had enough data to go ahead and the product was on shelves ready for summer ... although unfortunately not to be experienced at social gatherings for quite a while after.

If you have a product which would benefit from feedback direct from your consumers, then why not get in touch to see how Zest can help?

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