a The Unblind Taste Test | Carmichael Lynch Relate

The Unblind Taste Test

Categories: Food & Nutrition Work

Arla Foods, the fifth-largest dairy company in the world, launched its fresh-tasting four-ingredient cream cheese in the U.S. market at a time when consumers were demanding healthier, less processed foods with no artificial ingredients. But cream cheese buyers remained nostalgic about the only brand they’d ever known or seen in the dairy aisle: Kraft’s Philadelphia.

Our challenge: Showcase Arla’s benefits, get consumers to taste it, and move product.


We discovered something striking in our product-testing research. When consumers tried Philly versus Arla, with the packages in front of them, they almost always chose Philly. When we eliminated the branding in blind tasting, they overwhelmingly picked Arla on flavor alone.

We set up an “unblind” taste test in a local grocery store, asking consumers to choose between two cream cheese samples. No packages or brand names were shown, only the ingredient lists. Hidden cameras captured their reactions, showing their horror at 12 unrecognizable ingredients versus four simple ones.

We then took our taste test bet even further by giving away free Arla Cream Cheese. Thanks to earned media and a ton of social chatter, Arla gave away nearly 2 million full-sized samples of product.


Unblind tasting helped people “see” Arla’s benefits and turned them into believers:
– We convinced nearly 7 million households to try Arla cream cheese, growing household penetration by 517% and catapulting the brand into the No. 2 spot in less than 12 months
– Our campaign delivered more than 1.1 billion impressions, increasing aided brand awareness from 17% to 27%
– Branded searches for “Arla cream cheese” increased by 3,000% vs. pre-campaign
– Current repeat rate growth is the highest in the category, totaling 40.5%, proving our consumers didn’t stop at just one tub of Arla