Students analysed the demand for K Group’s wellbeing services in three international markets
In fall 2023, K Group launched a wellbeing service to their mobile application (K-Ruoka) which provides customers data to support healthy eating and provide recipe and product recommendations based on past purchases. Master’s students Oona Sahlman and Sonja Tervonen from the School of Business carried out an extensive study for K Group, with academic support provided by Associate Professor Sanna-Katriina Asikainen and Postdoctoral Researcher Juho-Petteri Huhtala, both from the Department of Marketing.
Primary research topics were to investigate a customer demand for a similar wellbeing service in three European market areas: The Netherlands, Germany, and Sweden. ‘It was fascinating to observe the unique characteristics and variances of these three international markets, especially in contrast to the Finnish market,’ Sonja Tervonen remarks.
The customized student business project, lasting an intensive 15 weeks, delved deep into analyzing consumer behavior and demand. The research was conducted with a strong methodological foundation, merging in-depth analysis of extensive secondary data with the detailed insights obtained from primary data interviews. ‘The interviews not only enriched our understanding but also corroborated the trends and patterns identified in the secondary data. During various stages of the project, I found it gratifying to discover the wide range of valuable skills we learned. These skills will undoubtedly prove beneficial in the future’, Oona Sahlman says.
The academic supervisor Sanna-Katriina Asikainen also states that the students’ remarkable proactivity, self-control, and passion for detail were evident throughout the project. ‘These business projects the School of Business provides are probably the best real-world work experiences one can get through university course studies,’ Sonja Tervonen says.
Notable distinctions in the three market areas
After completing their research, the students analysed notable distinctions in the three market areas and identified varying consumer behaviors within them. The research found the significance of cultural aspects in shaping themes such as eating habits, health behavior, and digitalization. Consequently, the students recommended that K Group should consider adapting their concept to align with these cultural nuances when entering these markets. Moreover, the students’ commitment to high-quality business communication further strengthened the overall impact of their work.
The results were presented to Hayde Furubacka, Director of Business Development, K group Grocery Trade. ‘My wish was to find self-directed students to carry out the research, who are able to position themselves as an expert in the company during the research. I was really pleased with the students' contribution. Sonja and Oona carefully familiarized themselves with the assignment, showed an unyielding attitude and set the bar high for doing it themselves. I hope that as a result the students saw what kind of issues are solved in development organizations and how the researched entity is presented to the management to support decision-making.’
The project's academic supervisors also expressed their satisfaction with both the smooth progress of the project and the impressive outcomes achieved. ‘The team achieved the ambitious goals and expectations set for the project, paying special attention to the practical utilization of the results and their effective communication. The outcomes of the project significantly strengthen the research and development work of the project focused on the platform economy,’ Juho-Petteri Huhtala says.
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