Recently, we conducted an original shopper behavior research study called “Aspirational Compass” that looked at the gap between what consumers desire (their aspirations) and the reality of what they actually end up purchasing. The “gap” between consumer aspirations and consumer action is where we’ve been focusing to discuss product innovation opportunities.
Aspirational Compass Webinar Series
Our latest webinar in the three-part series covering the Aspirational Compass study, “Reading the Aspirational Compass to Set Your Innovation Strategy,” dug into some identified areas where brands can innovate for greatest success. Previous webinars in the series included “Going Beyond Clean Label—Targeting Aspirational Gaps” where we looked at the consumer personas uncovered through our research, and “Aspirations Vs. Reality: How the Gap Sparks Innovation” where we covered the gap between shopper motivations and actual purchase habits.
Brand Innovation Opportunities
We present Five Key Landscapes for Brands to Navigate – spaces for companies to explore for innovation opportunities. The webinar used our defined personas from the study to look at how people are shopping and the whitespace to innovate for them. These areas include:
- Sustainable Aspirations: Forty-seven percent of primary shoppers are aspiring to buy or actually buying sustainable foods as a lifestyle choice. In the webinar, we look in more detail at how different buying personas are navigating the desire to shop sustainably.
- Inflation Barriers: Eighty-nine percent of primary shoppers say inflation is changing their shopping habits in terms of actions like buying brands on sale, or buying cheaper brands. There is a shopping gap appearing between those with discretionary income and those who cannot afford to meet their shopping aspirations when faced with the reality of increased food prices.
- Trust Bridges: In our study, we found 42% of shoppers trust the U.S. food system. In this segment of the webinar, we explore the personal coping strategies consumers use to feel safer when shopping. Brands need to understand who consumers trust, and who is responsible for communicating with consumers to build trust.
- Taste & Novelty Positioning: Only thirty percent of shoppers will trade off taste to fulfill aspirations, showing that taste is less an aspiration and more of a desire. Sixty-three percent of shoppers aspire to novelty, and may be seeking novelty through line extensions. However, for many of the shoppers in our study, decisions are made still based on price rather than the promise of taste or novelty.
- Convenience Pathways: People are seeking convenience aspects like shelf stability, availability at stores, easy to prepare foods, and other convenient features. A 45% “gap” was found between those aspiring to convenience, and what they actually purchase in-store.
Positioning to Target Products into Whitespace
For Sustainable Aspirations, brands need to understand this changing landscape of consumer demand, especially for clean label and plant-based products. How can your brand innovate in this space to position your company and your products as sustainable?
For Inflation Barriers, we are seeing across the board that this current economy has impacted shopping motivations, especially among shoppers with less discretionary income. Shoppers can’t “trade up” in the current financial situation, so if your brand wants to reach them, you need to be able to build product opportunities that can meet consumers where they are at right now.
For Trust Bridges, we all know brand trust is important. People need to feel safe, and food safety is driving change in how shoppers make decisions. Brands need to understand what messages consumers want regarding different safety aspects and other trust areas, and put those messages forth to bolster brand trust and in turn shopping choice.
For Taste & Novelty Positioning, are less of an “aspiration” for shoppers and more of an in-store decision driver. For those price sensitive consumers, these product differentiations can capture more sales. The right taste decisions can help, in the long-term, drive repeat customers. For novelty, this helps boost trial.
For Convenience Pathways, we found this to be a key motivator for some consumers. Understanding how to both create your products—and position them in the marketplace—to meet the demands for convenience can be uncovered through the right market research approaches.
Want to learn more about these key areas from our study, and where you can innovation for success? Reach out to us.