When Kenco launched their instant coffee in a pouch format (a first for the category), they got much less of a response than they hoped. Something was up, so they drafted us in to help them out with the puzzle.

We started by investigating what the pouch format itself meant to consumers to see if there was some fundamental incongruity with coffee – but consumers loved the format, so that wasn’t the problem. So we then looked at how the pouch format fitted into the instant coffee category – and struck insight gold.

Within a habitual purchase category, the pouch, combined with a premium foil substrate and unclear graphics, was signaling ‘ground’ rather than ‘instant’ coffee – so was being bypassed. This miscommunication was compounded by merchandising: the pouches were often positioned away from jars, hindering any cognitive links between the two formats.

Our insights and recommendations enabled Kenco to remedy its pack communications, disrupting the habitual purchasing in the category and winning the attention that its innovation deserved.