Costa Coffee

The Set Up

Costa Coffee is a National chain of coffee bars in UK. Their main competitor is Starbucks. Costa Coffee sought to have a motivating difference based on Taste – hence their approach to maintaining rigorous QC on Barista training and the roast of their coffee. They wanted to know if they could use Taste as a platform for further growth – and if so, how?

The Marketing Clinic Insight

We profiled the Regional Palates in UK for their target consumer cohort. We then correlated that total consumer palate to the Costa offer – showing how they should speak about their product range differently, change the ranking of products on the menu, the seasonal offers and the in store counter layouts to trigger different and more positive emotional connections.

The Outcome

This in effect became a virtually costless campaign to Costa. National press coverage and a PR campaign around the discovery and defining of Regional Taste Palates reinforced Costa’s ‘Taste’ credentials and minor redesigns of in store signage etc. led to a significant up tick in revenue and margin as companion sales and overall customer take rose driven by these changes.


Daily Mail Article 19 June 2009

The taste map of Britain: How your favourite foods are dictated by where you’re born

By Daily Mail Reporter
We know that pasties are particularly popular in Cornwall and jellied eels are a firm favourite in the East End. But, it seems, some areas of Britain have far less predictable preferences.
For instance, despite living in the coldest part of the country, Scots are apparently big fans of ice-cream. In fact, every part of Britain has a specific ‘taste dialect’ forged by its local culture, geography and environment, a study has revealed.
And it’s apparently no wonder that those in the Midlands became so enamoured of the curries introduced a few decades ago by Asian immigrants.

Curry lovers: Each area of Britain has a ‘taste dialect’, and people from the Midlands favour soft foods, with a sweet flavour
The research found that the region’s taste dialect is for soft foods that impact the front of the tongue, have a slightly sweet dimension and can be eaten with the hands – such as naan.
Professor Andy Taylor of Nottingham University, who carried out the research, said: ‘Taste is determined by our genetic make-up and influenced by our upbringing and experience with flavours.
‘Just as with spoken dialects, where accent is placed on different syllables and vowel formations, people from different regions have developed enhanced sensitivities to certain taste sensations and seek foods that trigger these.’

Ice-cream fans: Scots love rich foods that linger on the palate
The survey of 13,000 people carried out on behalf of Costa Coffee discovered that those in the South-West are unusually receptive to sweet flavours – such as the apples which are often used as a secret ingredient in Cornish pasties.
Scots like rich, creamy foods that are comforting and linger on the palate.
Wales has an industrial past and strong-tasting foods that have cut through the dirt and grime for those working in the mines have always proved popular – such as onions, leeks and
Those in the North-West are particularly partial to moist comfort food, but across the Pennines crunchy snacks find the most favour.
Food psychologist Greg Tucker said: ‘If you go to a chip shop in the North East you will get something called chips and bits which is all the burnt, crispy batter left over from the frying.
‘But 100 miles down the M62 you will be in the North West where the same shops will be offering chips and wet, which is the pure green liquid from mushy peas.
‘What is going on here is a combination of evolution, genetics and the local environment, which have all contributed to individual taste dialects.’
Taste dialects of Britain…
South West: A real sweet tooth. Apples are a favourite and are often used as a secret ingredient in Cornish pasties.
The Midlands: Soft foods with a sweet dimension appeal to the Midland taste dialect. It’s no worries curries are such a hit.
Wales: Influenced by its industrial past, strong flavours that cut through the dirt and grime from the mines have stayed popular.
Scotland: Rich, creamy foods that are comforting and linger on the palate. Scots are fans of deep-fried Mars bars, and apparently ice cream.
North West: Here, there’s a particular weakness for moist comfort foods, although crunchy snacks are preferred across the Pennines.
North East: Particularly partial to quick hits. Chip shops serve up ‘chips and bits’ with all the burnt, crispy batter left over from frying.
South East: Bold in their tastes but have apparently few characteristic favourites, perhaps due to the large cultural mix.

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