Box 74 Watties gets saucy

Business category manager, Rose France, says the market was ready for the new range with cheeky perceptions.

The time was right for a product and presentation with an identity of its own . . . We wanted to produce something that was fresh, innovative and a little bit of fun to appeal to a new generation of Wattie's consumers -the 18 to 35 year olds and families with older children . . . Product development required enormous patience - it's a trial and error process that involves endless cooking and tasting before testing and Bit on the Side tested very well within its target group . . . Handling the glass bottles and neck seal was a first for the company and the results really come down to a great team effort . . . We wanted something that was truly unique and differentiated our product - but while there might be slight innuendo about the name, it's really about reinforcing the way the sauces should be used and adding extra zest to the tastebuds.

Source: From a Heinz Wattie's house magazine.

attention. The implication was that the competing sauces were everyday. These new Heinz Wattie's products were for 'experiential' eating as illustrated in Box 7.4, which it was hoped would carry buying forward into repeats, and towards habits. There was also some limited TV advertising, featuring on brief cookery clips but at a very prime time spot. It was all well targeted. Sales of the new products rose rapidly, within three months, to brand leader, and the products have held a prime position on the New Zealand market since that time. Obviously a gap in the market was correctly identified, and filled, by satisfying products.

A subsequent development was the withdrawal of two of the sauces. These two were closest to the volume-market, and to Heinz Wattie's previously existing sauces which so many customers had found to be adequately satisfying. Perhaps there was not enough differentiation from these still very popular, and cheaper, products. To add to the offering and coverage however, more new flavours were added to the platform, giving the range indicated in Table 7.6.

After two years' success in New Zealand, 'Bit on the Side' sauce, with four products in the range, was introduced to the Australian market. After trials, the recipes had been modified and the flavours adapted to meet different consumer expectations. There was some both qualitative and quantitative consumer research. But the situation was rather different from that in New Zealand. There was a more advanced variety sauce market, better developed. There was TV promotion at the launch. But the market impact was substantially less than that in New Zealand. Analysis attributed this to the proliferation of sauces available in Australia and the segmentation of the market, to the campaign not building adequate initial awareness, and to the range offered being not large enough on the shelves there to

Case studies: product development in the food system 345 Table 7.6 Heinz Wattie's 'Bit on the Side' sauce range

New Zealand: Launched 1997 - Sweet Chilli, Java Satay, Oriental Plum, Spicy Tomato,

Gourmet BBQ (later deleted), Ketchup later deleted

Added, 1999 - Sweet Mustard, Spiced Apricot, Cracker Cranberry

Added 2000 - Cool Mint, Absolutely Apple, Salsa (four varieties)

Australia: Launched 2000 - Sweet Chilli, Oriental Plum, Java Satay, Gourmet BBQ

Added 2000 - Del Gourmet BBQ

impact sufficiently. Also it did not have the local momentum of the Wattie's brand that had helped carry it forward in New Zealand. The launch and subsequent history showed less impact and yielded smaller market share.

Overall the development has had success, both for itself and for indications of new avenues for further product lines. The impressively tight timetable, which was achieved by the product developers, is shown clearly in Table 7.5. Market share in New Zealand has been well retained, the line is established on the supermarket shelves, and occupies a new slot for Heinz Wattie's. There are intentions to carry the concepts and lines forward to the Japanese market.

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