Animal Health: New Product Development and Optimization


A leading international medical product company was interested in expanding their product offerings to include ingestible, functional pet product(s) and wanted to ensure the product extension would be a good fit for both consumers and veterinarians (vets).

Strategic Issues

The pet health product category has grown and is expected to continue growing quickly in the coming year – with similar increases in the number of competitors in the space. Therefore, developing a product that will be preferred and differentiated in the market is key to new product success. Further, during product development, many variations of the potential product(s) were uncovered to be scientifically possible, so further testing was needed to narrow down the options and find the most appealing product(s).

Research Objectives

This research was conducted in two phases. The overall objective was to develop a product line that would be appealing to pet parents/consumers and to vets who may recommend or carry the products. Specific objectives included:

Claims development (in research phase 1)

  • Evaluating the initial 50 product claims to determine the ~20 most appealing claims.
  • Determining the overall level of interest in the new product.

Product optimization by audience and channel (in research phase 2)

  • Determining consumer and vet knowledge and acceptance of this type of functional product for dogs.
  • Gauging consumer and vet reactions to the new product concept.
  • Profiling those more likely to be interested in the product versus those who were less likely to be interested.
  • Assessing how tradeoffs in product variables (such as indications/functions, ingredients, flavors, formats, dosing frequency, channel availability, and claims) influence purchase decisions among consumers and recommendations or direct selling among vets.
  • Finding the optimal combination of product features for consumers and (if different) the optimal combination of product features for vets.
  • Building an optimal multi-product line for each channel/audience.
Research Design and Methods

For the phase 1 claims development, a 10-minute Internet survey was conducted among a representative sample of 300 U.S. dog owners. Claims were randomized to prevent order bias.

For the phase 2 product optimization by audience and channel, a 25-minute Internet survey was conducted among more than 800 U.S. dog owners. During the survey, respondents open to the new functional dog product completed a choice task exercise in which they compared various options of unpriced dog products. Each respondent reviewed 10 different screens, and each screen displayed 4 products described by ingredients, actions, flavor, form, packaging, dosage frequency, availability, and claims. Consumers were asked to indicate which product they preferred most and how likely they would be to purchase the preferred product; vets were asked to allocate their next 100 recommendations across the products shown (including “some other product”).


The choice-task data were modeled to find the optimal combination of attributes that would maximize preference of products in the marketplace, from both the consumer and vet perspective. Given that preferences differed by audience, a channel strategy was developed so that products are differentiated by channel based on what each audience wanted. The attributes for this optimal line of products then became the final goal for development of the new line. More specifically, the top claims that drive preference and purchase of the products are being pursued in clinical and market tests (as primary endpoints or goals of those efforts).

Marketing Research Services

If you would like more information, please contact Monisha Hatfield, Senior Vice President of Medical Research, (, or Bonnie Janzen, Executive Vice President (, or call 1-800-ANALYSIS (262-5974) or 1-817-640-6166.