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Natures Menu - Dog Brand Tracker

Large dog to illustrate Mackman Research's work with Natures Menu

The Research Project

Mackman Research was approached by Natures Menu, the premium natural pet food manufacturer, to evaluate the impacts and effectiveness of Natures Menu’s dog food brand evolution and marketing activities.


  • 500 participants took part in the quantitative panel
  • A detailed report included key findings and verbatim
  • Benchmarking ready for subsequent exercise

The Client

Natures Menu was established in 1981 in Norfolk, starting life as a small family business with a focus on natural pet food. They offer an extensive range of raw and natural pet foods for both cats and dogs, ensuring that their recipes are nutritionally balanced and locally sourced. Natures Menu has a wide range of employees, from a dedicated customer service team to registered veterinarians. Their welfare and quality standards comply with DEFRA approved micro-biological testing and raw material traceability so that pet owners can be sure that their cat or dog is eating only the best food available.

Brand Facts:

  • Based in Snetterton, Norfolk, Natures Menu is a well-established cat and dog food manufacturer founded in 1981.
  • Within the Natures Menu brand portfolio are Country Hunter and True Instinct, both of which contain a high proportion of quality meat.
  • Their refrigerated pet food delivery service is a particular selling point for those who feed their pets a raw diet, in addition to their focus on quality processes and ingredients.
  • Natures Menu products form part of a balanced, healthy diet for cats and dogs thanks to their in-house team of veterinarians and pet nutritionists.

Research Aims

  • Natures Menu wanted to implement a brand tracking programme to evaluate the impacts and effectiveness of marketing activities undertaken.
  • Brand tracking would also need include an evaluation of the effectiveness of specific marketing campaigns.
  • Findings needed to provide clear market positioning and set a bench mark for future tracking.

The Research Challenge

Early fielding criteria meant that fewer panel members qualified to take part in the survey. Because of this data collection took a little longer than anticipated. The respondent ‘type’ required had to fulfil a specific buying behaviour and this proved to narrow the field somewhat. To overcome the reduction in respondent ‘type’ we slightly loosened some of the remaining and less crucial quotas. This allowed the last few surveys to be completed whilst maintaining the pre-requisites. 

The Research Design & Methodology

Working with Natures Menu, Mackman Research designed a research method which would use a panel survey to target dog owners who were purchase decision makers. The survey needed to include a wide range of different audience segments from a variety of demographics including gender, age, and occupation. These participants would be asked to provide their opinion on how they approached feeding their dog, and their awareness of Natures Menu in comparison with other well-known dog food brands. Over a time period of two weeks, 500 panel participants would complete the survey through Kantar, the data, insights, and consulting company. This survey was designed to comprise a range of question types from quantitative to qualitative, inviting participants to choose both from specific options and to elaborate on their answers in their own words.

Research Outcomes

We analysed the panel data which consisted of 500 individual replies. Each completed survey contained mostly closed question responses with a few open questions to allow for unprompted feedback. We produced a detailed report to illustrate the findings in a visual format, along with verbatim answers from participants which were organised according to theme and frequency.

As well as providing brand positioning and brand awareness, the panel survey also detailed other crucial consumer behaviours. From the results, a clear picture of common buying patterns and attitudes towards dog feeding could be discerned. The data revealed a variety of nuances that effect both purchasing and feeding choices. In addition, pain points were identified that may act as either motivations or barriers to purchasing this particular brand of pet food.

Our research also measured the effectiveness of specific marketing campaigns. Here the findings indicated thoughts and feelings surrounding campaign messages. By including particular marketing activities in the panel survey Natures Menu would be able to assess the impact of future campaigns upon their brand reputation.

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