Accelerating Discovery for Product Line Extension: Hard Seltzer

To hard seltzer, or not to hard seltzer. That has become the big question these days. The boom of the category in recent years has caught the attention and investment, of individuals across the gamut: from college students all the way to Wall Street investors. 

As demand for alcoholic beverages has risen, so has the number of competitors entering the market. While White Claw continues to maintain significant ownership of the category, multinational brands through artisan brewers are entering with new beverage ideas and adding to the mix different ingredients, preparation methods, and flavors. Because of this, frequent hard seltzer consumers (and, similarly, hard seltzer prospects) are confronted with a multitude of options before making their purchasing decision. 

To remain competitive and relevant amidst a growing and evolving marketplace, businesses are relying on agile research strategies to bring the voice of the consumer to the forefront of their decisions. Product, innovation, and marketing teams can go to market faster and with greater certainty. Feedback Loop customers across CPG brands are using the platform to deliver rapid consumer feedback on packaging and flavors against diverse consumer segments.

To get a taste of all this action, Feedback Loop conducted an iterative sequence of research studies to highlight the platform’s capability of accelerating user discovery probing to rapid prototype testing; an important and frequently leveraged use case of the platform for our customers. 


Test 1: User Discovery

Within the platform, we set off with our first learning objective to understand key considerations and motivators among hard seltzer brand loyalists. What makes them repeat customers? What specific beverage attributes or benefits add to and motivate that purchasing decision? 

Feedback Loop ran a user discovery test among 21+-year-olds who frequently (several times a month) consume hard seltzer and prefer either White Claw or High Noon. The test included a mix of closed- and open-ended questions, from binary single select to multiple select all that apply to open-ended free form text question types. 

Within 3 business days, Feedback Loop sampled 301 participants and published the data via our new live charts results experience. Based on the data, the insights surfaced from this testing include: 

  • Out of a list of several different beverage attributes, the variety of flavors for both White Claw and High Noon tested as the most important factor for consumers when making a purchasing decision. 
  • Attributes around the can design and packaging and interestingly, calorie count, were respectively less important to frequent consumers. 
  • When asked to convince a friend to drink White Claw or High Noon, participants frequently mentioned, again, variety of flavors and specifics around taste


Test 2: Prototype Testing

With data in hand and having a clearer understanding of the motivators driving category consumers to make frequent purchasing decisions, the Research team at Feedback Loop sought to test those learnings in a subsequent test exposing a new product idea among category prospects (those who haven’t had hard seltzer before but are interested in trying it).

We leveraged our Design Network, a network of skilled graphic designers to quickly and efficiently mock-up test ideas and concepts while trimming timelines (and saving budget) during the testing process for our customers, to build a new hard seltzer product touting different beverage elements: calorie count, alcohol base, and variety of flavors.

hard seltzer ab test

Within another 3 business days, Feedback Loop sampled 323 participants and surfaced that a variety of flavors, more so than calorie count or alcohol base, is the largest driver of consideration among category prospects. When both new product concepts were exposed and evaluated head to head, prospects overwhelmingly preferred Concept B with 9 flavors versus Concept A with only 3 flavors. 

Some representative open ends from our participants include:

  • “I think the wider variety of flavors sold Concept B to me. If Concept A had more flavors than just the three, I would be convinced that it was better. But since B had nine, B does it more. I don't mind if it has more calories.”
  • “It is available in more flavors, even though there are more calories. And it's straight liquor instead of malt liquor.
  • “More flavors, better chance of having one I would like.”
  • “I care more about the flavor options than calorie content.”

The Takeaway

By further incorporating consumer feedback within product roadmaps, initiatives, go-to-market strategies, and communication frameworks, product managers, marketers, and researchers who oversee products (as in this case, hard seltzer) are now equipped with critical data points to make more informed decisions throughout the development process, not after the fact.  

Feedback Loop’s agile research platform helped to facilitate accelerated user discovery that led right into rapid prototype testing, all within a matter of two weeks. What could have taken months elsewhere, the platform’s included input process, customer support, research expertise, design network, and live charts results condensed these learning objectives to be addressed within a matter of days. 

Want to learn how Feedback Loop helps CPG keep up with consumer preferences in dynamic and evolving categories? Book a demo today!

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