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June 27, 2012

A Look at How Shopper Insights Are Invigorating New Product Launches & Trends

Lately, we have spotted some converging retail trends and brand innovation that are shaping and shifting shopping for consumers today.

Ketchup Wars

Taking a cue from consumers who were already using Ranch dressing as their go-to condiment, both Hidden Valley and Kraft Foods have reintroduced their Ranch products as “the new Ketchup” or “Anything Dressing,” and are giving it a digital marketing push with social campaigns aimed at a new demographic.  One of the executives at hidden valley gained this insight right in his very own home, while watching his college-aged daughter at the dinner table, pouring the dressing over her salmon.

Global Palates

And speaking of Ketchup, I was introduced to a  recent Heinz tomato ketchup flavor innovation at a friend’s home. A friend came back from her honeymoon in Dubai and brought a bottle of Heinz Tomato Ketchup Fiery Chilli, in an inverted plastic squeeze bottle that I don’t belive is available here in the States. It got me thinking about how companies can create new markets simply by expanding the territory in which a product is available.

Then I was glued to the TV, during Fast Foods Gone Global  on the Travel Channel, which depicted how the West’s fast food giants cater to regional local tastes and values in Asia, Europe and the Pacific Rim. Meanwhile, Campbells harnessed insights about their consumer base, and  is offering Go! Soups, packaged in pouches, in a broad palate of six distinctive flavors, including Coconut Curry, Moroccan Chicken, and Gouda Cheese and Red Pepper to capture the adventurous palattes of Generation Y and Millenials.

I also came upon one blogger’s discovery of the 80 different kinds of Kit Kats sold in Japan (Wow!)

Tweet! We Deliver

The innovation isn’t just on the shelf either, recently P&G and Walmart have debutted “food truck”-style mobile hubs in Chicago and Manhattan that bring products directly to consumers. Food trucks have taken the gourmand world by storm and many are only promoted via Twitter.  Busy consumers seem to love  the convenience of being able to pick up great food on the go. This is trend is expanding into other arenas as well, here’s Twitter-activated vending machine offers iced tea for tweets in South Africa, and an U.K. Pizza vending machine will soon produce and sell “healthy and genuine pizzas using entirely fresh ingredients” here too.

Uptake: Healthy Snacking

Kellogg is setting a course this summer to make Pringles a viable healthy snack abroad. While Nasbico has toned down the “fig” aspect in Newtons to make them trendier. Setting a new course toward upscale, gourmet food, Taco Bell introduced its Cantina Bell menu offering premium quality Mexican gourmet selections.

Man vs. Food

In what seems like an attempt to sway the male shopper, a few brands have stepped to the plate from the other direction: Burger King is selling a Bacon Sundae this summer, Taco Bell scored big with their Doritos Todos Locos tacos, and Yankee Candle debutted a new collection of men’s candles available in four new fragrances: Man Town, First Down, Riding Mower, and 2 X 4. While some of you might ask if the internet is leaking, it just seems to me that the world is becoming a smaller place and more succeptible to a faster, quicker change of pace via megatrends.

For instance, a recent trip to the London Candy Company here in New York City, heralded my discovery of Walkers Steak and Onion crisps and their Cheddar Cheese and Bacon crisps, which delighted me with their hearty strangeness since I’ve never been to the UK. But perhaps, a trip isn’t warranted just yet. It seems like new flavors are popping up everywhere. 

Those of you joining us next month in Chicago at the 12th annual Shopper Insights in Action to explore, debate and respond to the changing shopping ecosystem will sample 7-Eleven’s new 7-Select line of  Big Bite Hot Dog Flavored Potato Chips. Hope to see you there!

About the Author

Valerie M. Russo is a Senior Social Media Strategist at IIR USA with a technology, anthropology, marketing and publishing business acumen.  She will be attending Shopper Insights in Action taking place July 18-20, 2012, in Chicago and posting daily recaps here. She is a published poet and also maintains a literary blog. She may be reached at vrusso@iirusa.com. Follow her @Literanista.  

 
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