Identifying Beverage Trends Before They Become Mainstream

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The Challenge: Spot shifts in consumer behavior that are here to stay BEFORE they become mainstream.

When a Consumer Packaged Goods company (Company X) wanted to beat the curve and serve emerging flavors consumers were craving, they turned to LikeFolio.

Company X manages multiple food/beverage brands and retailers. It is critical they know what dietary preferences, flavor profiles, and specific “tastes” are driving consumer purchase intent so they can be a leader in product development. While focus groups and surveys have traditionally provided this type of information for research and development teams, Company X was concerned with: speed, sample size, and the “unknown”….i.e. What were they missing that they didn’t KNOW they were missing? What taste preferences were lurking that they didn’t even know to ask about? What information would they miss out on while waiting months for results?managers explained.

The Solution: On-Demand Research Report from LikeFolio

Company X commissioned an on-demand research report to paint a holistic picture of the drivers of beverage purchases, so they could develop drinks that satisfy consumer tastes AND dietary requirements.

LikeFolio dove into the beverage landscape to present: factors influencing beverage selection decisions, why certain flavors and flavor profiles were experiencing growth, flavor profiles ripe for development, and headwinds brewing.

These reports include:

  • Consumer Macro Topics – What macro-level topics are impacting consumer behavior? Is this pattern here to stay or is the increase (or decrease) in chatter a flash in the pan? In the case of Company X, a deep understanding of dietary preferences and generic flavor profiles helped to answer questions like “why is this ingredient so popular?”.
  • Trend Spotting When a serious shift in consumer preference occurs, the sooner you know the better. For Company X pursuing product development, mentions of drink flavors were analyzed to determine what flavors should be pursued to most effectively meet budding consumer demand.
  • Competitive Analysis How do the topics examined stack up against one another? Viewing related topics and behaviors alongside one another provides for a dynamic way to float flavor winners and losers to the surface.
  • Hypothesis Testing Most R&D teams have an idea of trends or competition that may or threaten their business but want to act on sound data versus a gut instinct. Company X had a theory regarding beverages and natural ingredients they wanted to test. LikeFolio included topic level breakouts for multiple natural ingredients and related wellness trends to allow the R&D team to make decisions and move forward with confidence.\
  • Opportunities – With hundreds of data points and potential takeaways, it can be daunting to extract the most effective action items and opportunities moving forward. LikeFolio analysts study ALL data presented to develop concise recommendations and ideas for further research.

The success story – LikeFolio delivers flavor development opportunities and identifies underlying drivers of beverage purchase intent

LikeFolio analyzed beverage flavor profiles, dietary preferences, and specific ingredients to understand what factors influence consumer purchasing decisions (explicitly targeting flavors applicable to Company X product development).

The report showcased:

  • 6 beverage flavor profiles driving shifts in consumer taste preferences
  • 8 dietary preferences impacting beverage purchase intent
  • 40+ beverage flavors/ingredients gaining traction in consumer enthusiasm
  • 3 areas of opportunity ripe for immediate action

In fact, one “emerging flavor” presented in the report was picked up in the mainstream media…many months later. The ingredient in question? Celery.

LikeFolio completed a word analysis of tweets where users were discussing trying a new drink, making a new drink, or spotting a new drink on a menu. With access to more than a million tweets per day, the sample size was MUCH larger than any brunch focus group. In addition, the nature of the word analysis allowed the LikeFolio research team to LISTEN to what consumers were unbiasedly sharing and thus allow flavors and ingredients to reveal themselves. You can see below, “celery” was undeniable (we were shocked too).

Why Celery?

Analysis revealed consumers tastes are shifting, placing increasing value on texture and bitter flavor profiles (celery typically has a bitter taste profile, fitting this bill).

In addition, Ketogenic and plant-based focused consumers are seeking diet-friendly beverages. As wellness increases in priority for consumers, brands should act accordingly.

Months after report delivery, mainstream media and researchers finally caught on: How celery became the unlikely star of the produce aisle.

The key factors here: LikeFolio was able to provide a research report containing actionable recommendations for product development AND spot unbiased consumer trends with speed, accuracy, and a bountiful sample size. Most importantly, LikeFolio reports answer “WHY?”, the key to incredible insights.

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