Market Analysis for Agricultural Products

Haskap Berries in the North American Market

The Challenge

The haskap berry has begun to gain recognition in the North American market due to its appealing taste and nutritional benefits. The Agricultural Advisory Group (AAG) on behalf of North 49 Fruit contracted Insightrix Research to conduct a market research analysis of the North American haskap market. North 49 Fruit is in the final stages of finalizing their business plan and would like to understand the North American haskap marketplace better and examine the geographical areas to market their products, which include haskap jellies, dried fruit and wines.

The primary purpose of this research was to conduct an overview of the haskap industry, as well as to analyze competition within the North American haskap market. This will assist North 49 Fruit in targeting “low-hanging fruit markets” to make better investment decisions and market their products better to consumer markets in both Canada and the United States.

The objectives of the study were as follows:

  • Determine total acreage of haskap production among the different varieties of haskap plants and where they are grown in North America.
  • Estimate the number of producers and companies that sell/market haskap products in Canada and the United States.
  • Understand who the key competitors are and where they operate from to determine geographical areas with more and less competition.
  • Explore venues where haskap products are typically sold (i.e., farmers markets, gourmet food shops, local co-operatives, grocery stores, etc.) and talk to these to understand where haskap-derived products are typically available and the demand for these products.
  • Examine industry regulations in regard to getting haskap products to market in the United States.

The Approach

Insightrix worked with AAG and North 49 Fruit to develop a three-phase project that fully addressed the research objectives.

In Phase 1 of the project, Insightrix conducted secondary research from multiple sources, such as Agro-Food Canada, provincial agriculture ministries, agricultural and industry publications, retail establishments and markets that mention haskaps in their product listings, vendor websites and social media. The goal of this phase was to understand what the existing haskap market is like, what geographical areas they operate in and the products and prices that are offered in those markets.

In Phase 2, 15 in-depth interviews with identified producers/vendors/farmers and local market associations were conducted. The goal of this phase of the research was to understand the types of haskap products that are commonly sold and the consumer demand for these products.

An online survey was conducted in Phase 3 with 600 western Canadian consumers. The goal of this research phase was to better understand western Canadians’ awareness of haskap berries and their benefits, as well as to determine the incidence of those who have purchased or tried haskap products in the past, and how much they would be willing to pay for certain haskap products.

In developing the questionnaire used for the online survey, Insightrix research professionals worked closely with AAG representatives to ensure it led to the desired results for analysis. Questions centered around the following:

  • Consumer awareness (prompted/unaided) and top-of-mind impressions of haskaps (i.e., different varieties, nutritional benefits, antioxidant properties, products like wine and jellies)
  • Motivations and considerations when making decisions to purchase different types of products derived from berries (i.e., locally sourced, country of origin, environmental impact, taste, nutritional value, antioxidant properties, organic, etc.)
  • Price point/willingness to pay for these products, how often they would purchase, how much they would be willing to pay for haskap wine and jellies, etc.

The Outcome

Various advanced analytics were carried out to meet the objectives of the study, including the following:

  • Segmentation using the latent class analysis (LCA) approach – segmentation analysis helped to determine the unique segments of respondents. This will assist the client in designing a marketing mix that precisely matches customers’ expectation in the targeted segment.
  • Perceptual map analysis – a perceptual map is a visual representation of the perceptions and preferences of customers about specific attributes of a product. In this study, a perceptual map analysis was carried out to visually represent the relative importance of various factors (such as antioxidant properties, nutritional benefits, cost, origin) in influencing the purchase decision of respondents.
  • Price sensitivity meter analysis – a price sensitivity meter is used to determine consumer price preferences based on the concept of what price most people regard as being reasonable. Based on the result of the analysis, the client was able to determine the acceptable price range customers would be willing to pay for haskap berries by the pound.

The secondary research revealed the three main haskap varieties widely planted in Canada, the health and nutritional benefits of haskaps, the major producers of haskap berries in Canada and Western Canada, the major competitors in Western Canada, the venues where haskaps are commonly sold, the price range of haskap berries and their different value-added products and the potential market size for haskaps in Western Canada.

The results from the in-depth interviews revealed how easy it is to grow and care for haskaps, the unique shape, size, colour and taste of haskaps, the challenges faced by haskap growers (including regulations that restrict the sale of berries across provinces) and the challenges of expanding to foreign markets.

The online survey revealed how aware people are of haskaps, the price consumers are willing to pay for haskaps and the various value-added products, the factors that are considered when purchasing haskaps and the most popular value-added products.

The Future

Provided with market research intelligence about the haskap berry market in North America, the client was able to develop a better understanding of where haskap berry products should be sold, what their client base may look like and what price points they should be exploring.

Market Analysis Case Study Insightrix

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