Parmigiano Reggiano are not waiting for consumers to decided what drives liking.
Following my webinar for the AIFST looking at ways to Identify the Drivers of Liking in Food Products, I have kept my eyes peeled for producers who know what consumers expect of their product and aim to deliver it.
I didn't think of this approach, and it is a classic approach, used by people who make cheese, wine, salami and other 'artisan' products.
Parmigiano Reggiano are not waiting for consumers to decided what drives liking. They are not looking at data or consumer complaints. No, instead they are getting ahead of the pack and identifying for the consumers the characteristics of the product they should look for.
In the short film below, Parmigiano Reggiano walks us through the key visual and textural attributes to look for in a cheese. This approach allows Parmigiano Reggiano to tell the story their way.
Everything from how to best prepare the cheese (taking it out of the fridge 30 minutes before consuming) and the proper way to cut the cheese (using an almond shaped chunking tool) is included to ensure the consumer takes the right steps.
They talk about appearance attributes: colour and springiness, and textural attributes: hardness and in-mouth crumble.
What I like most is when they discuss the formation of Tyrosine Crystals.
To an unknowing, uneducated consumer, these crystals would seem to be indicative of a low quality product. Although with some simple guidance, a brief explanation and a reason fro being, consumers can now see, and consumer the cheese containing the crystals, safe in the knowledge that this is a sign of the correct aging process. This product isn't flawed, it is exactly as intended by the craftsmen and craftswomen who create it in Italy.
Drivers of Liking don't always have to be defined by consumers, you can always jump on the front foot and set the tone of the conversation.
Take a look, it's worth the 2 minutes and 47 seconds while you wait for your cup of tea to cool down.