By Ben Turner
Over the past couple of years the Bibendum Market Insights team have been putting together a huge piece of research on flavour profiling. Put simply this is attempting to measure how we percieve food or liquid in the mouth. Everyone has their own personal taste sensitivity but in broad terms we all fit into one of four flavour profiles – Luscious/Sweet, Crisp, Smooth or Intense. By calculating a person’s sensitivity we developed the Taste Test which can match people to wines that are more suited to their own flavour profile.
Flavour Profiling -
Key here is the fact that we are individuals. How boring would it be if we all had the same taste preferences?
We all have a different number of taste buds (anywhere between 500 – 15,000), the number of which dictates how much of a certain flavour we can tolerate. If you have a large number of taste buds you will be able to extract even the most subtle flavours from a food or drink; if you have fewer taste receptors you need to taste a stronger flavour to register a similar reaction. We are all unique and as such, we don’t all enjoy the same flavours.
This is why someone else’s wine choices, whilst they might be perfect for them, will not always be to your taste. There is absolutely nothing wrong with either person’s decision making – we are just different! These differences in tastes can be found in locations all around the UK, often showing patterns and trends in different towns and cities. But how can we put this into a practical format, really helping to drive our customers business by providing them with wines that fit the correct flavour profiles of their drinkers.
Along came our friends at Picturehouses who have cinemas based all over the UK, all with slight nuances when it comes to their drinks offering. Some have cafes, others bars, whilst others have restaurants too. A one size fits all approach to wine was not going to cover the different needs of their business.
Building the Wine List -
Firstly we blended the Taste Test flavour survey data with our extensive demographic data from our unique in-house insight tool Prospect. This created a basis of information to develop a core range of wines that would make up the backbone of every list, which we devised alongside Simon Woplin, Food & Beverage Director at Picturehouses.
Next up we looked into the specific detail of the postcodes of each individual cinema and their catchment areas, to create an information pack crammed full of customer demographics, trends and flavours tailored to each site.
Finally we invited all the General Managers and Bar Managers from each cinema to Bibendum HQ to explain the information we’d collated and to taste through our range, enabling the team to sample the wines in question and letting them pick their own wine lists, list that would best suit their specific customers.
The real aim of the day was for the cinemas to each create a wine list that Picturehouses and their staff were proud to sell, would best suit their business and drive sales through greater staff confidence. Rather than just being told to sell wines from a ready-made static list.
After a full day with the team, it was good to hear Simon’s thoughts at the end of the tasting. “I was concerned the project could be a tricky one, but all the attending sites seemed to engage very well with the task of creating the list, and the background profiling work and hints on writing a balanced list were perfect to assist in the process and also quite illuminating and unique.”
Picturehouses Food and Beverage Manager, Simon Woplin, talks to us about the day creating new wine lists at Bibendum HQ -
To find out more about the unique wine lists tailored to your area, visit your local Picturehouses cinema from April, when the new lists should be on-site.