Most Memorable New Food Product Launches Part 1
What are the New Foods Consumers Remember The Most
The Most Memorable New Product Launch Survey
I just attend a live webinar for The Most Memorable New Product Launch 2011 Survey today with Julie Hall and Aaaron Reid. The Most Memorable New Product Launches of 2011 emphazies how Social Media is becoming a significant influence new product launches and consumer adoption.
This is one of the most sought after surveys of retail consumer products based their unique insights on how products are launched and why they are so successful.
One of the great things about Social Media is the people you meet virtually. I don't recall whether it was through Facebook or Twitter, but once we connected we both remembered each other from a webinar she presented last year.
We agreed that a monthly feature on product launches, both large brands and small startup brands, would greatly benefit the readers of the Food and Beverage site. Look for regular articles on the newest food product launches.
Schneider Associates created the annual Most Memorable New Product Launches survey in association withSentient Decision Science, LLC and The SymphonyIRI Group. This is one of the retail industry's most followed survey due to the unique insights on how products are launched and why they are so successful.
Julie and I spoke at length about the survey and most importantly, the insights related to Consumer Packaged Goods foods sold at retail. The survey is quite extensive and goes beyond food products, for example the Apple iPad was the number one most memorable new product launch. Since this site is about Food and Beverage, we focused on, what else; food!
Julie and her associates were gracious enough to provide me with literally a "ton" of information, more than can be covered in one article. So I will focus on highlights related to food and insights that you can learn from whether you are in the food business, starting a specialty food business or just curious.
Julie said "Every year the Most Memorable New Product Launch survey teaches us about where our culture is headed. I think the results reveal that more consumers are seeking new technology to assist with our busy lives, plus quick and cost effective food indulgences give us all a chance to treat ourselves without breaking the bank."
So what is different about this research? We all know the plethora of new products introduced each year; even if you don't have access to research we all shop and see new products on the grocery shelves frequently. Most Memorable New Product Launches is not quoting dry statistics of new products in the market. What it does is tests for how memorable a new brand is to the consumer. What it tests for is does the consumer remember a new product and that is critical whether it is a major national brand or a local/regional product. If the consumer does not remember, how will they buy it?
I really like this because it shows all of you food entrepreneurs that creating a great tasting product won't matter if your efforts to get on the consumer's plate fail to stick in the consumers mind.
Top Line Most Memorable New Product Launches Data
Almost half (45% percent) of consumers could not recall a single new product launch from 2010. While recall is still low, it was a dramatic improvement over 2008 (69%) and 2009 (51%). The graph illustrates this erosion clearly.
Paid media (advertising) did not show up in the top 10 most influential sources of information when consumers look to purchase a new product.
Free samples (86%), receiving a coupon (82%), recommendations from friends and family (82%) and an array of public relations tactics topped the list.
Trial, Discounts & Recommendations spur consumer purchase. Free samples (86%), receiving a coupon (82%) and recommendations from friends and family (82%) are the most influential sources of information among respondents who used them.
Couponing Makes a Comeback: Coupons spurred consumer purchasing in 2010. The influence of receiving a coupon increased by 10 points over 2009,
going from 72% to 82%. However go beyond paper coupons, there is a whole world out their related to Internee Coupon sites and Social Media Couponing. Ahhh, a subject for another article.
Health Consciousness Continues. C onsumers rated health attributes as the most influential with respect to food purchases. The top five food related attributes were: does not contain trans fats (53.8%), contains natural ingredients (48.9%), contains whole grains (48.9%), made locally (47%), and reduced fat/low fat (45.7%).
Julie's book, The New Launch Plan had a sad statistic: about half of new products launched in any year fail after two years in the market.
Let's take closer look at 2 of the 4 the food products that made the top 10 list. We will cover the remaining two in the next Most Memorable New Product Launches article.
Launched : April 2010
Overview : A crunchy pretzel inside milk chocolate inside a colorful candy shell. They are the latest addition to the M&M's line.
How did they do it?
One of the biggest product launches for M&M in a decade and M&M's Pretzel Candies are part of their new lineup capitalizing on the trend of products having attributes of "sweet and savory".
Social Media was a big factor in getting out the buzz.
They created a website that features a pretzel doing stand-up comedy.
They launched a YouTube Video for Pretzel M&Ms coupled with the American Idol 49 city tour and filmed it inside of a giant M&M in Herald Square, New York city.
They created an interactive map on Facebook so fans could see where they can buy Pretzel M&Ms. That not only helped get the product on the shelf but also helped get it into the consumer's hands. They used Twitter to interact with fans and solicit feedback and even now there is still a large presence regarding pretzel M&Ms on Twitter. Their Facebook page hit almost 1.5 million fans! On day one they had a plethora of interesting Twitter posts:
- Finally got my hands on some pretzel M&M's. They are sold out everywhere. My expectations have never been higher
- The new m&m's with the pretzel is sooooo GOOD!
- I'm addicted to pretzel m&m's
- I wish these Pretzel M&M's came in King Size...They are so good :-P'''''
- there is a severe lack of pretzel M&M's in this office
- I'm off to #BJs. For many things, but mostly for a giant box of pretzel M&M's. Gotta get this candy monkey off my back .
Launched: July, 2010
Overview: McDonald's wanted to redefine how the consumer thought of fruit and what better way than to turn fruit into a fun Real Fruit Smoothies. Offered in Wild Berry and Strawberry Banana flavors, these new McCafe blends are creamy and cool, creating an entirely new fruit experience. The introduction of the sweet new smoothies and their partner, the Frappe, resulted in a jump in sales for the fast food giant, while solidifying the smoothie's place in the restaurant world.
How did they do it?
They created a Real Fruit Smoothie website with delicious photos of smoothies and a 'create your own smoothie" application they called McDonalds Spin Art, allowing consumers to vary flavor, colors, and other attributes. Don't' think for a moment that McDonalds is not using this as a way to troll for new smoothie products in the future. What better way to develop new product than to ask your customers!
McDonald's really understands value and affordable indulgence. So they communicated their pitch on value, highlighting a $2.29 price for 12-ounce smoothies. Not bad when you consider a Starbucks alternative is twice that amount and most Starbucks don't have a drive through.
Free samples in weeks leading up to the official launch were so successful that they had to stop giving out samples because they were running out of supply and opted to cancel the in-restaurant tasting event that was set to be held from July 22-24.
Social Media surprisingly was not a formal part of the plan, although I suspect that will change. For example they had no Twitter or Facebook presence specifically for the smoothies, but did get significant buzz on Twitter and still have the buzz on smoothies. Fans were so crazy about the product that individuals created their own Facebook pages to talk about the smoothies.
That is the height of buzz as far as I am concerned.
TV Commercials were part of the new product launch. McDonalds has big advertising dollars and created TV commercials one titled McCafe- Real Fruit Smoothies "Simply" that depicts blending and pouring of the frozen fruit drinks. Another more edgy ad wasMcCafe Smoothies "Disfruta- English" , both of which were posted on YouTube to spread virally, particular to the Millennial Generation that spends more time on the internet vs. television.
So what were the results? Sales boosted 5.7% (same-store increase) in US in July just after smoothie launch, the highest sales gain in a year. Global same-store sales increase of 7 percent in July. Same-store sales increased 5.3 percent in Europe and a 10.1 percent same-store sales increase in the Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa division. I would say that was phenomenal!
So now that we can have scrumptious indulgent Pretzel M&Ms along with a healthy McDonalds Real Fruit Smoothies, I asked Julie Hall what insights can food entrepreneurs and those either starting a specialty food business gain from these two consumer foods in the Most Memorable New Product Launches?
" Although technology products dominate the Most Memorable New Product Launch list..Americans remember "quick-cost breaks," selecting small indulgences like Starbucks VIA (I cover Via in our next article), McDonald's Smoothies and Pretzel M&Ms.
" according to Julie.
I see this Affordable Indulgence trend insidiously creeping into consumer behavior and have addressed this numerous times here on the Food and Beverage site. One reason I learned from reading Julies book: if people are actively pursuing reducing expenditures in many parts of their lives, they need to indulge a bit to balance the "deprivation" they may be feeling.
"Sampling is SOOOOOOO important for foods ." The food industry has a term, "Get share of stomach" as opposed to market share. "You have to get people trying it. For example KFC gave away grilled chicken twice."
Julie was crystal clear that "Cheap sweet indulgences" are here for a while. "People want to treat themselves. McDonalds used a "Sweet Treat receipt" on a purchase earlier in the day to drive people back later in the day for a Real Fruit Smoothie"
So tips for food entrepreneurs and small specialty food businesses:
- Focus on Affordable Indulgence.
- Sample, sample, sample.
- Focus on memorable elements in your product launch so you can get the retail grocery buyer to get your product on the shelf and get the consumer to put it on their plate.
Most Memorable New Product Launches Part 2 features Starbucks Via Instant Coffee and KFC Kentucky Double Down Chicken Sandwiches.