Category Exploration (U&A)

In a category exploration study we deep dive into the essence of the product category and try to understand what it means to the consumer.

Want to more about our views on category exploration? Check out our long read here.

What is category exploration

A category exploration, also known as ‘Usage & attitude study (U&A), provides the building blocks for a strategic sustainability plan for a product, brand or product category. We provide the following building blocks:

  • Overview of ways in which a specific brand/product/product category has impact (positive and negative)
  • A ranking of impact from a consumer perspective:
    • Knowledge (does the consumer know the impact is there).
    • Relevance (how important does the consumer think it is to contribute to reducing the impact (or increasing the positive))
  • Relevant trends and developments
  • Best practices of sustainability of in the category


A strategic sustainability plan is the basis for successfully improving the sustainability of a brand, product or product category. A strategy that minimizes real impact while optimizing the perception of sustainability in the eyes of consumers so that they will make the sustainable choices.

Such a sustainability plan includes:

  • Priorities for sustainability: how are we going to reduce impact?
  • Directions for communication: what to communicate about and in what language?
  • Directions for innovation: how to improve products and what new products to develop?

Many brands are working hard to make their impact smaller or even net positive. For example, by developing products that are better for the world and consumers. But far from all of them succeed. Making products that are better for the world is not enough. To be successful in sustainable marketing, you need to pull out more.


A category exploration consists of a number of steps, through which we uncover all the pieces of the puzzle.

  • An impact assessment, in which we determine the ways in which a product makes an impact, throughout the chain, including its use. For this we work together with the experts of
  • A qualitative consumer study, about how consumers experience the product and which impact is relevant to them.
  • Trendwatching to determine which signals and trends from the external environment are important, because they are going to have a crucial impact on the future of the product category. We collaborate with the futurists of Future Station for this purpose.
  • Finding inspiring best practices of sustainability within the category or beyond, where relevant.

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What we do

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We believe that understanding consumers is key to making the food system more sustainable. Successful innovation and impactful communication require a solid foundation of consumer insight. 

We are the insights partner of choice for food companies and non-profits  that aim to have a positive impact on society and our planet. Together we empower consumers to make food choices that are good for them as well as for the planet.

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