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 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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Quantitative and Qualitative Insights from Concept Testing


concept testing

Which is better for your concept testing — open-ended or multiple choice questions?
Image source Flickr user Eleaf


Concept testing gives brand managers and product development professionals insight into how the market will receive their product. In order to be truly helpful, however, concept tests have to gather data from a wide range of sources. At the end of the day, companies make the go or no go decisions based on this information. A multifaceted view of prospective customers’ perspectives is important to understand everything from whether a purchase intent exists to whether a product has a reasonable degree of brand continuity with your existing portfolio. Well-developed concept tests use both quantitative and qualitative insights to build a picture of how a particular product will perform. Continue reading

5 Tips for Asking Insightful Open-Ended Survey Questions

survey questions

The best surveys often go deep with open-ended questions to get actionable insights.
Image source Flickr user boltron-

If you’ve ever tried to get deeper insights from the survey questions that you’ve asked and experienced frustration, you’re not alone. Crafting questions that get respondents to think deeply and respond openly, while giving you actionable insights is both an art and a science. But whether you’re seeking more meaningful insights into how your products are used or working to develop a clear understanding of word associations to better hone your marketing language, there are a number of ways to approach this problem. Here’s a closer look at several tips for asking open-ended survey questions that get the results you’re looking for. Continue reading

Caveman Concepts: Developing Product Ideas with Market Trends in Mind


What food concepts will thrive, with the Paleo trends in mind?
Image source Flickr user Lord Jim

In recent years, lifestyle and nutrition trends have helped launch unique products that were once just a blip on the radar into consumer packaged goods stardom. Consider the skyrocketing success of Greek yogurt with mainstream customers or the exploding popularity of bacon among Paleolithic dieters. If your business has an interesting idea for a new niche product, testing out the concept with a select customer segment ahead of a full launch can help you determine how your idea might fare with a broader audience. Here are a few tips for creating products with a specific niche in mind.

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Will My Product “Go Viral?”: What to Look for in Concept Tests

concept testing

Could these be the products that takes your sales viral? Concept testing helps you find out.
Image source Flickr user Thomas2047

As more and more companies do concept testing as a core element of their product development processes, success margins will increase overall. Companies competing in tight-margin industries, such as CPG firms, have the most to benefit from improvements in this cycle. Incorporating concept testing into your business model has several advantages, namely those related to mitigating risk. It helps you avoid spending limited resources, both human and financial, on developing products that fail. It also helps prevent the brand erosion that happens with a product launch failure. Yet concept testing can also be used to help you pinpoint the potential level of product success. How can companies analyze concept tests to determine which products or services have the potential to go viral? Continue reading

On Trends: 4 Strategies for Using Industry Data to Develop New Product Concepts

new concept development

Are you reading all the right publications to keep track of your industry and generate new concept ideas?//Image source: Flickr user greyloch


Earlier this week, we discussed two strategies that businesses use to develop new product concepts – mining consumer data and keeping track of their competitor’s activities. A third strategy that’s critically important is keeping your finger on the pulse of what’s happening in your industry. There are many ways to do this, including a dialogue with your customers and other companies in your space. But there are numerous other sources that companies can use to track the latest trends in their industry, which may inspire ideas for new concept development and concept testing. Continue reading

How Concept Testing Can Support Your Innovation Pipeline

innovation pipeline

What new product concepts does your innovation pipeline hold?
Image source Pipeline by Flickr user Randi-Shooters

Does your company use the phrase “innovation pipeline?” If the answer is no, maybe you should consider it. The term refers to an internal process that businesses use to generate new ideas constantly. It’s especially relevant in highly generative industries like consumer packaged goods and electronics, where new product development and deployment is critical to staying relevant. As management thought leader Peter Drucker has famously said, innovation is “hard, focused, purposeful” work. Here’s a closer look at how companies are building innovation pipelines and where concept testing fits in that overall picture. Continue reading

Scoping Out Opponents: How New Product Concepts May Take Shape Using Competitive Analysis

competitive analysis

Are your competitors swimming ahead of you?
Image source Flickr user Jayhem

Yesterday, we discussed the role of customer surveys in developing new product ideas. Another aspect of the picture that consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies can use for generating new product concepts is to develop a strategy that allows them to analyze the competitive market. By watching the trends that are picking up steam and strategically evaluating where your competitors are investing, what products they are releasing, and what messaging they’re testing with their audience. Each of these can point to clues about the broader consumer landscape and give you insights that serve as launch points for innovation in your own concept development process. Continue reading