Boost the Performance of Your Investments: Listen to Consumers Early and Continually
Understanding consumer demand is key to shifting consumer behavior. Here's how a Feed the Future program sought consumer input to support nutrition goals in Rwanda.
This blog was originally featured on Marketlinks.
An important element of effective markets is strong consumer demand that is recognized in the consumer behavior of purchasing and using products. To utilize latent demand and improve demand that produces significant shifts in consumer behavior will require that market activities continuously cater to evolving consumer needs and values. Failure to do so results in missed opportunities to maximize latent demand, activities, and products that fall short of expected goals because of low consumer acceptance. Understanding consumer demand means hearing the voices of those people who could either use more of the product or are currently outside of the product’s customer base. It means going beyond consumers’ reactions tied directly to a product to an understanding of their lives, influences, preferences, and values and how they change. Centering design and implementation around an understanding of consumer preferences — and how to cater to them — provides a new perspective to inform technical and operational decisions; and it heightens the chance of increased sales, consumption, and — ultimately, in the case of foods — a modified dietary pattern among the population.
The Feed the Future Orora Wihaze Activity sought consumer input in Rwanda upfront to avoid the pitfall of poor consumer engagement. The activity’s twin goals of a) developing a profitable market for animal-source foods (ASF) and b) improving the consumption of ASF by families in small towns and rural areas, meant that it was critical to understand the behaviors and perspectives of potential ASF consumers in the project districts.
Orora Wihaze supported a qualitative study of the influences on consumers’ demand for and consumption of ASF across the Activity’s districts of influence. This in-depth study illuminated what families are eating, how they procure ASF, family dynamics around food and ASFs, perceptions of different ASFs, and, importantly, family members’ reactions to being asked about shifts in their practices to include various ASFs in their diet. It also highlighted many reasons why Rwandans are among the lowest consumers of ASF globally — beyond the usual response of “it is not our custom.” These insights guided the activity’s next steps... View the full blog on MarketLinks.