Will a new food brand work in the UK market?


Sainsbury’s is the second largest chain of supermarkets in the United Kingdom, with an approximate 16.9% share of the UK supermarket sector and considerable market share in the pasta market.

We were asked by Avilton Foods, an Italian food import specialist, to prepare and implement a research project to inform on Sainsbury’s consumers’ attitudes towards the Agnesi brand, its original Italian packaging and also explore their current buying behaviour.


The client wanted to use the research findings to support its commercial case for new pasta listings by providing the Sainsbury’s buying and product management team with direct feedback from their customers on the proposed range. The research also needed to provide information to help develop the positioning for the Agnesi pasta range and create an appropriate communications strategy.


A series of focus groups were conducted in key Sainsbury’s stores across the country, with current pasta consumers, to determine their reaction to the introduction of the Agnesi pasta brand and the use of its original Italian packaging. The discussions also included a comparison with competitive brands.

We looked at regional Mintel data on pasta consumption and planned the research locations to link with Sainsbury’s stores in these locations. By linking these two aspects we were able to provide a clear view on the areas which would be most suitable for any potential product trial in the future.


The research confirmed the acceptance of the brand and highlighted the importance of the brand’s Italian “authenticity” to consumers, which was used in the successful product launch in Sainsbury’s stores in the key south east market. The product range has since been rolled out across the UK.

The results of the focus groups also highlighted the need to establish a clear discriminator for Agnesi dried pasta and hone in on the brand’s essence. The groups also provided direction in terms of the competitive environment, the target audience, consumer insights and key brand values and personality


  • Retail


  • Product and service research
  • Brand Awareness and advertising research
  • Behavioural and attitudinal research

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