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Puffin Produce - PEL Case Study



Puffin Produce Ltd is the largest supplier of Welsh produce in Wales. Since 1995 they have supplied Welsh produce to multiple major retailers and wholesalers. Alongside a large own label potato offering, Puffin Produce also supply a range of potatoes, seasonal vegetables and daffodils under their ‘Blas y Tir’ brand. ​

Puffin approached ZERO2FIVE for support with market research through Project HELIX when they were looking to redesign their Blas y Tir potato packaging. Having previously used Cardiff Metropolitan University’s Perceptual Experience Laboratory (PEL) in a pilot study, they were aware of its capabilities as a powerful research and marketing tool.

About the Perceptual Experience Laboratory

The Perceptual Experience Laboratory (PEL) is a collaborative project between ZERO2FIVE and Cardiff Met’s School of Art and Design. PEL is a synthetic reality laboratory, which uses high-resolution images on a large wrap-around screen, immersive sound, smell, air movement and temperature to create simulations of environments in a laboratory setting where close monitoring, control, repetition, recording and analysis is possible. This enables the creation of immersive environments (e.g. supermarkets) which are difficult and costly to access for consumer behaviour experiments. PEL participants behave more closely to real life situations than they do in desk-based questionnaires or focus groups.

The academics in the PEL team have developed unique integrated eye tracking technologies, which allow gaze analysis, enabling understanding of the respondents’ actual behaviour and validation of questionnaire responses.


Support from ZERO2FIVE

ZERO2FIVE met with Puffin to scope the requirements of the study. The company had a preferred new packaging design which they wanted testing against their existing packaging and a retailer’s own label.

Puffin Packaging 

The PEL team designed an appropriate experimental protocol, created visual stimuli to place into a virtual supermarket fresh produce aisle and recruited participants from Puffin’s target consumer demographic.

Experimental participants stood in the virtual supermarket, were given eye-tracking glasses to wear and asked a series of questions to obtain their views on which design was the most attention-grabbing, Welsh, fresh and premium, their preferred pack design and which they would be most likely to purchase. 

As the participants were asked these questions, the eye-tracking glasses recorded where they were looking and what they looked at longest. Following this activity, participants were asked a series of more in depth questions to explore the rationale behind the decisions they had made.

Perceptual Experience Laboratory

Benefits of the support

The experimental results showed that 35-50 year old female consumers preferred the new Blas-y-Tir packaging design over the existing and own label designs and that the new design had the potential to win over new customers that didn’t purchase the brand. The overall consensus was that the new packaging design was more tasteful and modern, had better imagery and a simpler layout.

These findings provided hard evidence to take to retailers to support Puffin’s aim of creating a more impactful and modern packaging design. The eye-tracking heat maps, showing where participants looked and for how long, provided especially compelling visual evidence.

ZERO2FIVE also provided Puffin with a range of clear and actionable insights to improve their new packaging design further. This included making the Welsh provenance of the product even more prominent.

Huw Thomas, Managing Director, Puffin Produce:

"Using the Perceptual Experience Laboratory allowed us to test our new packaging designs with consumers in a close to real life environment which otherwise wouldn’t have been possible. The valuable feedback provided evidence for us to take to retailers about the shelf standout of our new packaging."