Instant.ly Shelf Score Goes Halloween: Candy Makers Try Out Trending Flavors

Image source Flickr user adwriter

Image source Flickr user adwriter

From haunted theme parks to elaborate costume bashes, it seems everyone is cashing in on the business of fear this year. This goes doubly for confectioners, who were perhaps the original stars of this holiday, and are now raising the bar with all kinds of Halloween-themed offerings. In this special Halloween edition of Instant.ly Shelf Score™, we decided to test and rank the newest and most innovative sweets to arrive in stores this year.
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Because Bacon: How Bacon Ice Cream Went from Unappetizing to Delectable

bacon ice cream

When did bacon ice cream become a big hit in the U.S. market?
Image source Flickr user joyosity

Gone are the days of run-of-the-mill ice cream flavors like chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry. In recent years, restaurants and artisan ice cream makers have been shaking things up with bacon-infused ice cream. The sweet and salty combination is a favorite of many dessert lovers. In our fourth installment of our monthly “Because Bacon” series, we’ll be taking a look at why bacon ice cream has caught on and where the trend might go in the coming months. Here’s the story behind the dessert, and some important lessons every entrepreneurial food enthusiast with a bacon-inspired idea can take from the case study.

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Using Market Research to Reposition a Product or Brand

market research

Is your brand in the right position to be seen? Maybe it’s time to refocus.
Image source: Flickr user Mateus Lunardi Dutra

When your brand is thriving, it’s a great feeling. Market research during those times tends to center on which of the many channels you’re using are producing the highest returns on investment. Your strategy begins to narrow in on high-yield brand building initiatives. Ultimately, it’s about continuing to build brand equity and shift brand sentiment in the right direction. But the role of market research in helping to reposition or pivot a product or brand that’s fading is completely different. Strategic market research can help you make important decisions about positioning products and services – and determining when a repositioning is appropriate.

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How Market Research Supports Your Company’s Thought Leadership Initiatives

thought leader

Is your company’s thought leadership blazing a new trail? If not, market research help.
Image source Flickr user Hamed Saber

More and more companies are focused on thought leadership. According to the Harvard Business Review, thought leadership is anchored around a specific question: “How do you produce an idea that changes the way people think and work?” Thought leadership pieces, often in the form of written op-eds or reports from a company’s leadership and experts, can have several benefits from increasing brand awareness to improving a company’s partnerships. But thought leadership requires more than just great writing. Market research can play a critical role in that process by helping companies identify trends, generate original data, and get a better handle on the broader marketplace.

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Why Micro-Surveys Might Be the Next Hot Market Research Trend

micro-survey

Micro-surveys are a great way to connect with Millennial audiences.
Image source Flickr user GarryKnight

Everything in today’s online world is trending toward the micro. The shorter and more focused the better. Who has time to watch a 5 minute video on YouTube, we reason? Instead, stories are being told in six second Vines. Images disappear in a flash thanks to the technology platforms like SnapChat. The proliferation of mobile devices has dramatically impacted how researchers conceptualize and execute surveys. Today, there’s been an increasing focus on in-the-moment research. Practically, this is translating to the micro-survey format.

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Going Green: How Healthy Juice Has Become a Dietary Staple in the U.S.

green juice

Green juice is a hot trend. Here’s a closer look at how CPG companies are leveraging its popularity.
Image source Flickr user Breville

It’s no secret that many Americans have modified their diets in recent years to include more fresh, raw, and organic products. At the forefront of the healthy eating trend is green juice. This nutrient-rich concoction of liquefied vegetables has taken the country by storm. Countless new brands and products have been created, and millions of consumers have jumped on the green juice bandwagon, purchasing high-end blenders and organic produce en masse. Many big brands have also seized the opportunity to create prepackaged and pressed convenience juices and smoothies for an on-the-go market. Here’s what’s driving U.S. consumers’ green juice obsession, and here are some important lessons for consumer packaged goods (CPG) businesses interested in capitalizing on the recent trend.

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Concept Testing: Why Real-Time Information Trumps Historical Data

product development and concept testing

Historic product trends don’t always accurately predict future success, so marketers rely on real-time concept testing.
Image source: Flickr user Orange County Archives

In the past, researchers often relied solely on historical data to test out new concepts with their target markets. If a specific product sold well with their market, they reasoned, so would later versions or spinoffs. As technology has advanced, concept testing has evolved into a research approach that has kept pace with the demand for instant consumer insights. Relying on historical data is no longer the best way to determine whether introducing a new product to market will lead to a profitable outcome. Researchers have shifted towards gathering real-time insights from consumers to make critical business decisions. Here is a closer look at the advantages of targeted concept testing over relying on historical trends.

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Targeted Marketing for Moms: Takeaways from CPG Companies

CPG moms

Moms are always on the run. We take a closer look at how CPG companies are capturing their attention.
Image source Flickr user Chris Smith/Out of Chicago

 

The purchasing power of moms is undeniable. A recent study indicates that modern day mothers in the United States spend an estimated $2.1 trillion on household goods annually, and they’re responsible for up to 85% of purchasing decisions. For CPG companies, marketing to this important customer segment is critical for business success. Mothers tend to be active purchasers of food, beauty and household products, making them an especially critical customer base. Here are some of the ways major brands are launching targeted marketing efforts to connect with moms and some of the most helpful takeaways for businesses.

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How Pumpkin Spice Has Become Fall’s Signature Flavor

pumpkin spice latte

The pumpkin spice latte was the first step in this major flavor craze.
Image source: Flickr user Joyosity

It’s that time of year: pumpkin spice flavored products are available everywhere. Whether you’re walking through the aisles of your local grocer or you’re grabbing a cup of coffee at the drive through, you’ve probably noticed the array of pumpkin-infused products available. Popular franchises like Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts have several pumpkin menu items including lattes and chai teas, and pumpkin spice pancakes, cookies, candies, bagels, and Greek yogurts dominate grocery store shelves. What has spurred our nation’s obsession with pumpkin? Here are some of the driving factors behind the pumpkin spice craze, and some important lessons for companies interested in capitalizing on the recent trend.

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Salted Caramel: How an Unusual Flavor Grew Into a Taste Sensation

salted caramel

Salted caramel is one of the decade’s hottest flavors.
Image source: Flickr user Chocolate Reviews

Some flavor crazes come and go, but others catch on and remain popular for years to come. In the past decade, we’ve seen the rise and fall of trendy foods like cupcakes and soy milk. But other food trends and flavor options have stuck around. Salted caramel is a perfect example of a food trend with staying power. This unique combination of sweet and savory caught the attention of foodies and mainstream U.S. consumers in 2008, and it has been growing in popularity since. Here’s the story behind the salted caramel trend, and some important lessons every business owner can take away from this case study.

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