San Francisco’s Happy Goat Caramel has developed a dedicated following of “foodies who care” by making artisanal caramels with milk from responsibly raised goats. After three years of rave reviews by national media outlets including The Today Show, Good Morning America, and Food & Wine Magazine, the Happy Goat business was continuing to grow at a healthy pace and looking to reach a wider range of high-end candy consumers.
In order to better serve their expanding customer base, the Happy Goat team needed to gain a more thorough understanding of consumers’ premium candy purchasing decisions. Additionally, they wanted feedback on the Happy Goat product and pricing in order to form a better strategy to accomplish their growth aspirations. To hear from their target market — consumers with household incomes of more than $50,000 — Happy Goat turned to SurveyMonkey Audience.
Happy Goat learned exactly what customers value in premium candy. “Taste” and “quality” were ranked as top priorities, nearly twice as often as “value” and “convenience,” suggesting that consumers are willing to pay more for high-end products. This trend was even stronger for frequent buyers of premium candy.
Almost 77% of respondents reported that they buy premium candy at grocery stores. This is more than double the number who said they purchased premium candy from any other retail channel.
Happy Goat received detailed data about what consumers would expect to pay for each Happy Goat product. The survey’s results helped them make informed decisions about everything from pricing and packaging design, to how many caramels to put in a box.
Rather than price or packaging, respondents reacted most to the product’s main ingredient — the fact that caramels were made with goat milk.
36% of respondents volunteered feedback in an optional comment box at the end of the survey. These comments mentioned the “goatiness” of Happy Goat’s products more than any other topic. While the feedback ranged from praise by goat milk aficionados to those repelled by the use goat milk, it was undeniable that its use in caramel production caught consumers’ attention.
In their efforts to grow the business into a more widely available brand, the Happy Goat team plans to focus their efforts on perfecting product packaging, pricing, and marketing initiatives. Using the information gathered through SurveyMonkey Audience, they discovered which elements of their product are most relevant to consumers: the natural ingredients, the artisanal quality of the caramels, and, of course, the uniqueness of using goat milk.
Happy Goat also learned that consumers typically purchase premium candies at grocery stores instead of specialty stores or other types of gourmet food stores. Therefore, they plan to identify a price point that will make their products more attractive to larger retail chains, while still maintaining the high quality, hand-crafted nature of their products — all valuable information for a little company that’s looking to stand out on the shelf.