Convenience Is Key: CPG Companies Embrace On-the-Go Eating

convenience foods trends

Are your products being packaged with convenience and serving size needs in mind? Market research can help you find out.
Image source Flickr user Jen SFO-BCN

The term convenience foods evokes specific images: Some people may think of quick stop stores and gas station shelves lined with bags of chips, candy, and trail mix. Others associate the term convenience food with drive thru restaurants serving up French fries and hamburgers. But in recent years, the concept has begun to evolve, and CPG companies are changing the way that consumers view convenience food. Consumers are looking for a wide range of foods and healthier options in forms that are easier to eat on the run or that help manage calorie or carb intake. Here’s how the concept of packaging for convenience is changing and some important takeaways for businesses in the packaged foods industry.

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Mobile Ethnography: A Primer

mobile ethnography

How can mobile devices help you better understand your customers?
Image source Flickr user adactio

In a previous post, we explored how ethnography influences market research. Techniques from anthropology from visual data collection to the ongoing influence of participatory observation have given market researchers a deeper set of tools to pull from when crafting their research studies. But the proliferation of smartphones and tablets has opened up the playing field even further, to provide researchers with more in-depth information and data in multiple formats. Here’s a closer look at mobile ethnography and what role it plays in the market research process.

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Gaining Participation: Tips for Writing Effective Survey Introductions


Is your survey introduction enticing respondents to participate in your market research?
Image source: Flickr user Porsche Brosseau

When your market research team develops its next initiative, chances are that it’s focused heavily on defining your target respondents, writing effective questions, and determining how to translate each of these elements into actionable insights. But another important part of the survey process is writing an effective survey introduction. A commonly overlooked and under appreciated tool, focusing on your survey introduction can help focus your study, inspire responses, and build a better relationship with your customers. Here’s a closer look at how to craft compelling survey introductions and why they matter.

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2014 Seasonal Holiday Food Trends Roundup

cranberry dessert

Cranberry desserts are leading the pack as one of the season’s hottest food trends.
Image source Flickr user Benson Kua

Sometimes a combination of effective marketing and good timing help turn a simple flavor into a sweeping food trend. Many would argue that 2014 was the year of pumpkin spice products. While this particular flavor was immensely popular this year, there are also a number of other food trends and flavors that are heating up as we head towards the end of 2014. Unique twists on old favorites, as well as some completely innovative products making their way from the shelves to our tables this holiday season. Here’s a roundup of some of the emerging holiday food trends, and here’s what’s driving their popularity.

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The 5 Most Unique Thanksgiving Food Concepts

Thanksgiving flavors

Today’s multi-billion dollar Thanksgiving market creates numerous opportunities for creative food and beverage manufacturers.
Image source Flickr user Martin Carthrae

Sources estimate that 48 million turkeys are eaten each year at Thanksgiving, to the collective tune of sales in the $2.4 billion dollar range spent on food for the one holiday. For consumer packaged goods companies, the holidays mean big business. Each year, new holiday-themed products are introduced to the market in an attempt to grab the attention of consumers, capture new dollars, or edge out the competition for market share. Some products, like canned cranberry sauce, peppermint bark, and pumpkin flavored cake mixes, end up being immensely popular and even transitioning to the coveted status of “holiday classic.” Other holiday-themed products are so unique that they miss the mark with consumers, or their popularity is simply a flash in the (turkey) pan. Here are five of the most unique Thanksgiving food concepts created in recent years. Continue reading

Because Bacon: Bacon Candy – Beyond the Typical Chocolate Varieties

bacon candy

Bacon candy extends even to seasonal favorites like candy canes.
Image source: Flickr user anokarina

In recent years, bacon-infused products have become incredibly popular. Creative chefs have been pushing the flavor envelope with bacon recipes, including candied concoctions that add a unique savory, smoky flavor to desserts and snacks. In our fifth installment of our monthly “Because Bacon” series, we’ll be taking a look at bacon candy on and what’s driving its popularity. Recently, we explored the chocolate-covered bacon trend and the impact that it has on the sweets world. But in the creative world of bacon cooking, it’s possible to find pork-based candy of every variety from caramels to lollipops. Here’s the story behind the trend, and some important lessons every entrepreneurial food enthusiast with a bacon-inspired idea can take from the case study.

Continue reading September Shelf Score – Grocery Edition Shelf-Score

The fall flavor craze is here in full force, and this autumn’s star is shining bright to the tune of approximately $300 million in profits annually. Pumpkin spice is appearing in everything from oatmeal and breakfast rolls to the more adventurous sparkling beverage concoctions. The cooler weather brings on the desire for comfort foods, and those palates can be seen in the salted caramel brownies and harvest grain salads that are hitting shelves right now. In this month’s Shelf Score, we’re taking a look at how different brands fare trying to roll out new products with autumn’s signature flavor.

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Function and Attraction: Should Your 2015 Research Plans Include Revisiting Product Packaging?


From high-beauty to high-function, packaging helps move products off the shelf.
Image source: Flickr user VFS Digital Design

The old adage says not to judge a book by its cover. Yet the reality of today’s competitive retail environment is that products are judged by their packaging every day. Packaging speaks volumes about your brand, product positioning, a product’s implied promise, and quality. It also performs critical informational functions relating ingredients, directions, and more. In one study, one-third of online buyers cited packaging as essential to online packaging for everything from assuring the legitimacy of the product to knowing it would be safe in transit. When is the last time that you evaluated your packaging? Or, if you’re planning a new product, what factors should you be considering as part of your concept testing?

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Eggnog: Not Just a Beverage Any More, This Flavor Brings the Cheer to Consumers and CPG Firms


Eggnog is a flavor that’s captivating consumers, with sales quadrupling over the last 50 years.
Image source: Flickr user

Eggnog is a flavor that’s iconic and associated with the winter holiday season. In fact, sales have quadrupled in the last fifty years. Most commonly a beverage (often spiked for good measure), it’s traditionally served in a large punchbowl and topped with ground nutmeg. Eggnog has been around for centuries, but in recent years the unique seasonal beverage has made its way out of the punchbowl and into countless products lining grocery store shelves. Eggnog is one of the key seasonal flavors, and consumer packaged goods companies (CPGs) offer everything from yogurts to cookies inspired by the creamy beverage. Here’s a closer look at recent trends in the CPG space to develop eggnog products, and what we can learn from the case study.

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The Art of Cultivating a Data-Friendly Culture

data culture

Does your company culture embrace data throughout? If not, here’s how to cultivate it.
Image source: Flickr user opensourceway

If your company has invested in market research initiatives or you’re contemplating adding them to your core business processes, you’ve likely thought about the varied ways in which data can help you better achieve your goals. In fact, once you go down the road of being open to market research and seeing its impact on how you develop products, serve customers, and total up the bottom line, you’re likely to make it a regular component of how you do business. But how do researchers or the business leaders spearheading these initiatives evangelize their value within the company? Let’s take a look at common objections and misconceptions and some strategies you can use to get skeptics on board with a market research initiative. Continue reading