5 ways to refresh your product portfolio

New horizons open up when we pool our knowledge and ideas

Would your products be more successful in a different package size? Are you targeting the right consumers? Is your communication in tune with their evolving values? With so much background information to navigate, the answers aren’t always obvious. But together we can figure it out. When you combine our global knowledge with your own understanding of a specific product category, consumer group or geographical market, the way forward becomes clearer. Maybe just a small tweak in your package size, communication or product recipe is all it takes to tap into the Zeitgeist!

Carton package with green juice

1. New recipes

The ways consumers think about food and beverage products is always changing. By continuously checking in with consumers around the world, and keeping a close eye on new product launches, we can help you identify the white spaces where a new product idea might fit.

Right now, for example, consumers are especially interested in immunity-boosting products. What kind of ingredients trigger them? Honey and citrus fruits? Or perhaps ginger...or cumin? Could you combine these ingredients with milk, for example, and give traditional dairy products a new immunity-boosting twist? If you’d like to explore new recipes, we can experiment together and mix small batches at our Accelerator lab. Once we hit on a winning formula, food technicians at our Product Development Centres can help set the correct processing parameters for successful commercial production.

2. New distribution channels

In a fast-moving retail landscape, our ideas about ‘how things are’ can rapidly become obsolete. For example, parts of Asia leap-frogged directly into the 21st century by embracing e-commerce and more recently, Social commerce. Moreover, China now has unmanned grocery stores which offer virtual payment systems based on facial scanning. It pays to keep track of what’s going on, to assess and reassess which distribution channels (or mix of them) might work best for your products right now. We can help you with this. And if you also decide to add e-tail to the mix, we can help you develop new ambient products in lightweight, square packages that are easy to transport and do not require a refrigerated chain.

3. New messaging

Equally interesting is the way brands communicate about their products. Our research covers this too. One especially fast-moving and sensitive area is health claims. How often are the words ‘added calcium’, ‘good for kids’ or ‘low fat’ being used? We monitor brand communications in order to understand the market’s direction.

Sometimes our research throws up interesting facts. For example, that seniors hate being stigmatized or portrayed as old (surprise, surprise!). So, when communicating about packages for people with e.g. reduced grip strength, you might want to call the package ‘easy to open’ and feature youthful, healthy people in your ads. Interestingly, the same is true but in reverse for younger consumers. Up to a certain age, kids are attracted to products that target slightly older kids since they associate being older with increased independence. A small tweak in your communication is sometimes all it takes to tap into a trend and appeal to a new consumer group.

4. New package size

When is it time to reconsider the size of your packaging? One answer could be when the research shows your product is being bought by busy parents. They often prefer to bulk buy at weekends and avoid multiple shopping trips during the week, so it could be time to increase your package volumes. Or perhaps you could try a new type of secondary packaging to offer multi-pack deals. Alternatively, if the research shows that the percentage of single person households is increasing, or that the population is aging, it might make sense to produce smaller volume packages.

One well-known example of package resizing comes from Japan, where researchers have long been aware of the country’s aging population. When a Japanese dairy producer reduced its packages from 1 litre to 750ml, they saw a marked increase in sales. Nobody likes to waste food, and smaller volumes solved the problem. Another typical trigger for resizing is when the price of ingredients increases. Producers might win market share by upsizing the package to get a better price per volume. Alternatively, they might prefer to downsize the package to make the product more affordable. Our experts can help you figure out which way to go!

5. New consumption occasions

It’s fascinating to see how world events cause ripple effects that eventually find their way into our fridges and larders. During the pandemic, for example, it wasn’t only the type of products that changed; it was also the time and place of consumption. Predictably, in-home consumption rose considerably during lockdown. Les predictably, snacking between meals increased. Our research showed that many found snacking a lifesaver! New mid-morning or mid-afternoon rituals involving small treats helped people get through long, monotonous days working from home. Didn’t that clash with the desire to remain healthy, you might wonder? Yes and no. It turns out that people wanted both healthy and indulgent snacks. One example of a popular category was single-serve flavoured milks, with e.g. coffee and caramel to appeal to adult consumers. Another was ice cream, which appeared in new flavours and formats. For example, lemon cheesecake flavoured ice cream - with extra protein to tick the ‘health’ box. A third product novelty was ‘cookies & cream’ ice cream in a drinkable format. The snacking trend continues today. With inflation rising, many consumers are feeling the pinch. Small indulgences are therefore just as important now as they were during the pandemic, just for different reasons.

How can we help you?

Our trend reports will get your imagination going, and perhaps lead to an innovation workshop, followed by a new product trial at one of our Product Development Centres, and eventually a successful new product on the shelf. As usual, we recommend you start by meeting your Key Account Manager and discussing which of our global product innovation and development services (or combination of them) would be the most helpful, based on the ideas you’d like to explore.

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Our Product Development Centres, PDC's, and Customer Innovation Centres, are great resources for developing and testing new products, recipes and categories

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Experience every step of the innovation journey in one place with experts from all corners of the world at your service in our Customer Innovation Centres

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