Consumer Insights

Research aims

A deep understanding of consumers can be the difference between a product that disappears without trace and one that achieves hundreds of millions of dollars in sales. By truly understanding the priorities of Asian consumers, we will both help focus our health and nutrition research investments on consumer-relevant biomarkers as well as empower New Zealand food and beverage providers to address real market needs.

To ensure this outcome, the Consumer Insights team will collate and analyse knowledge from a range of sources including NZ Trade & Enterprise, the Ministry for Primary Industry, the private sector and Asian academic organisations. In addition, targeted research projects will explore the beliefs, attitudes and behaviours that affect Asian consumers’ choices of food and beverage products in relation to their health and wellbeing.


Key research elements

The Consumer Insights team will seek out existing knowledge from the literature as well as pre-competitive knowledge available from New Zealand food and beverage companies, NZ Trade & Enterprise, Callaghan Institute, Ministry for Primary Industry and Asian academic organisations with a focus on food and health. This will involve collation of publically available information and interviews with relevant industry and government agencies. A series of meetings will be held between the Consumer Insights team and each of the Health Programmes both to convey the information determined and to refine searches in future.

Following this initial “stocktaking” phase, a detailed research plan will be developed to ensure business relevance and scientific integrity. This will cover everything from generating culturally relevant data, to understanding how Asian consumers make food and beverage purchase decisions to address their health and wellbeing motivations.


Expected outputs

The Consumer Insights team will produce an in-depth report gathering consumer insights and providing strategic guidance to all stakeholders based on existing information. This will be followed by a research plan that supports the High-Value Nutrition programme’s objectives and generates consumer insights to guide both the health research programmes and new product development and marketing.


Programme details

An initial $300,000 has been allocated to Plant & Food Research to establish a collective programme on consumer insights in relation to food-for-health in key markets. The principal investigator is Dr Roger Harker with collaborators from the University of Auckland, the University of Otago and Price Waterhouse Cooper. This will lead into the design of a wider $1.5 million study to identify the key drivers of consumer behaviour in relation to food purchases and health.

Key Scientists include Dr Jaeger, Dr Conroy, Dr Kaye-Blake and Professor Bremer.



Dr Roger Harker, Plant & Food Research, Auckland, New Zealand

Dr Roger Harker is a Principal Scientist at Plant & Food Research based in Auckland where he is Science Group Leader for the Human Responses Group. He is also part of the High-Value Nutrition Science Leadership Team in charge of Consumer Insight, with a focus on Asia. Dr Harker is renowned for his expertise in predictors of consumers perceptions, preferences and purchasing preferences. Specifically his research focuses on understanding the ways in which plant physiological processes influence sensory properties of foods and beverages. He focuses on measurements that relate to human perception of texture taste and odour, and consumer beliefs attitudes and perceptions that influence food choices. His research over the past decade has supported major changes in part of the food industry in New Zealand.





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