What Will Be a Hit with Customers? Considering How Companies Target Their Flavor Profiles


concept testing

Which flavor will be popular with your customers this season? Concept testing can help you find out.
Image source: Flickr user marfis75

One of the great mysteries of the consumer packaged goods (CPG) world is how companies decide on their latest flavors. In some cases, the flavors are just so good and on target you’re left wondering how you didn’t think of it for your own product line. In other situations, you’re left blinking at a new food concept (here’s looking at you, Cappuccino Potato Chips) and wondering how this idea made it past product development teams, executives, taste testers, and maybe even the legal department. The process that companies use to develop the latest flavors and decide how to target their overall flavor profiles is an interesting one. Here’s a look at some of the key elements and steps that brand managers can take to ensure their next flavor is a winner. Continue reading

How CPG Companies Are More Effectively Researching Millennials


Is your marketing strategy helping you reach Millennial consumers?
Image source Flickr user TheErin

Millennials and Baby Boomers are the two hottest segments in today’s market. Millennials, in particular, are a major focus for marketers and advertisers as the group ages. Consequently, their incomes and household sizes are expected to rise, making them even more valuable consumers. In fact, there are an estimated more than 80 million Millennials in the U.S. today with distinct food and marketing preferences. How are consumer packaged goods companies and other retailers reaching them?

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Market Research that Matters: Getting Consumer Input on Your CSR Agenda

market research

How can market research improve your company’s corporate social responsibility initiatives?
Image source Flickr user Howard Lake


Big brands are increasingly using market research to help inform their corporate social responsibility agendas. In fact, recently a number of discussions flared up online about a survey that furniture giant IKEA launched asking consumers what causes they were aware of the brand supporting, as well as their thoughts on specific charitable initiatives. One of the streams of inquiry focused on how the company could improve its communications around this topic. As the end of the year approaches, businesses want to make sure they’re on target with their social mission, as well as their bottom line. Here’s a closer look at how market research can help frame your company’s philanthropic and corporate social responsibility efforts. Continue reading

Where Do You Fall? Why Brand Positioning Research Is a Great Investment

Disney's Brand Positioning

Disney’s brand is crystal clear in all they do, from the smallest frames of a movie to the complete composition of a theme park.
Image source: Flickr user Tedeytan


The Walt Disney Company is a fantastic example of a company that understands its positioning and then builds on that to offer a world-class customer experience. Consider what comes to mind when you think of Disney: worlds created to delight children, light-hearted fun, and innovation in park ride design. From their films to their theme parks, Disney has a crystal clear core positioning and uses that for its product development and service execution. But what if your company’s mission and positioning isn’t so straightforward? A market research initiative can help you quickly determine your positioning, and articulate those points in a way that resonates with your core audience.

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Jarritos Mexican Soda: What’s Behind Its Soaring Popularity in the US?

Jarritos soda

Jarritos soda is leading the pack of natural carbonated beverage producers. Image credit Flickr user fauxto_digit

When you’re discussing the hottest beverage trends in the market today, it’s impossible to miss Mexican sodas. These sugary colas and unusual flavors are turning up everywhere from convenience stores to Michelin starred restaurants. One brand, Jarritos soda, is not your run of the mill beverage. With an array of exotic flavors like hibiscus, tamarind, and mandarin, you might be quick to assume that the market for these drinks would be small. But over the past few years, the beverages have been spiking in popularity across the US. Why is a brand that has been distributed in the country for twenty-five years suddenly becoming so popular? Here’s the story behind the Jarritos soda success, and some important lessons that every business owner can take away from this case study.

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5 Products That Were Too Far Off Brand

brand extension failures

Sometimes products are so strange and off-brand that consumers don’t know what to do with them.
Image source: Flickr user Editor B

When Colgate launched its line of frozen dinners in the early 1980s, consumers were left scratching their heads. Ultimately, the frozen entrees ended up being a brand extension failure of epic proportions. For businesses launching new products, there’s something to be said for sticking to what they’re good at. While brand extensions aren’t necessarily a bad idea – some are quite successful – there are some inherent risks that come along with creating a product that falls outside of your core competencies. Brand trust and awareness is based on a consistent experience of quality and a kind of inherent focus in your product development experience that helps customers make sense of what you’re offering. Here are five examples of products that were too far off brand to catch on with customers, and a closer look at what they can teach us about successful brand extension strategies.

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Why Brand Awareness Isn’t Enough: Other Factors to Measure

brand awareness

When companies can’t afford big moves to raise brand awareness, research can help them be strategic in their marketing.
Image source: Flickr user Creative809 

One of the most common discussion points for market researchers when they’re discussing brands is awareness. Do customers know that your products exist? How do they fit in vis-à-vis the broader competitive landscape? Whose name comes to mind first, yours or a competitor’s? Answering these questions can give you important insights into whether you need to be investing more heavily in general brand promotion activities and what other brands you need to watch in the marketplace. But your brand research shouldn’t end with brand awareness questions. If you’re developing a market research study geared at gauging your brand’s health, here’s a closer look at several of the factors you should pay attention to. Continue reading

Could Umami Be the Next Hot Food Concept?


What food concepts will we see in the year ahead, inspired by the umami trend?
Image source Flickr user Berlin.IckLiebeDir

Sometimes product trends begin, not with a product idea itself as in the case of popular bacon-based product concepts, but with a flavor profile. Consider the recent flush of products to hit the market with a salted caramel spin. In early 2014, Forbes named umami as one of the food trends of the year and the data suggests that it’s currently catching on. Big brands and boutique companies are jumping on board to create compelling concepts that drive sales. Here’s the story behind umami, and here’s why it might be catching on as the next hot food concept. Continue reading

Because Bacon: Has Beef Jerky Finally Met Its Match?

bacon jerky

Bacon jerky is today’s top “Paleo” snack.
Image source Flickr user kveton

Beef jerky: the leathery, dehydrated meat product has been around for centuries in one form or another. Today, it’s one of the most popular meat snacks in the United States. However, recent news in the consumer packaged goods industry suggests that beef jerky may have met its match. A fairly new product, bacon jerky, has begun to take the market by storm. In the third installment of our monthly “Because Bacon” series, we’ll be taking a deeper look at bacon jerky’s rise to popularity and where the trend might go in the months ahead. Here’s the story behind the new product, and here are some important lessons every business can take away from this case study. Continue reading

Instant.ly Shelf Score – August 2014 – Grocery Edition

Shelf Score August Grocery Edition

There is a hint of autumn in the air, if August’s eclectic Shelf Score results are any indication. We’re seeing the introduction of snacks with fall-friendly flavors like banana maple and candy apple. People are starting to crave carb comfort foods, as their minds turn from beaches and bikinis to spending cooler afternoons cuddled up indoors.

Everything on the low-carb forbidden list, including breads, pizza, waffles, and candy, is making an appearance on this month’s list. There’s also an uptick in the food kits trend, blending the ongoing need for convenience that we’ve seen in previous months (everything assembled in one place!) with a desire for the bigger meals that cooler weather and back-to-school schedules require. Whether you’re looking for information on whether the ban on carbs is lifting or trying to find creative ways to take your product flavors into the seasons ahead, this month’s lineup has insights for you.

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