To achieve their aim of becoming a one-stop provider, this baking giant needed to expand into the savoury bake-off market. They invited three innovation consultancies – two food specialists and Futurelab – to develop ideas for 40 new savoury SKUs. Futurelab’s proposal respectfully suggested a more strategic starting point. Instead of “What new products will you offer?” we began with “How will you position yourself in the market?” We knew that new SKUs were only part of the answer to this question. The strategy VP agreed with this approach and chose Futurelab to take the project forward on this basis.
We spot blind spots
During a six-week immersion phase we took a look at the industry with the fresh perspective we bring to all Futurelab work. We visited factories and food development centres; we talked to consumers and channel partners. As non-food specialists, free from fixed preconceptions, we identified some major industry blind spots. There were three channels that all bake-off suppliers had decided were too challenging to work with; the competition had entirely dismissed them. We used our experience in partnership development programmes to work out how our client could successfully approach and serve these channels.
We find customer ‘pain points’
In order to develop a savouries positioning for our client, we knew our customer research phase would need to go beyond the taste-test. We set up a pan-European online consumer panel to gather feedback on baked goods. Over six weeks we asked consumers what they like, love, hate, where they buy, how they choose, where they eat. For example, we learned why parents weren’t buying pastries at gas stations; with this single piece of insight our client was able to transform sales through what had so far been an unprofitable channel.
Turning ideas into reality
The value of what we do lies in our ability to help translate our ideas into reality. Many consultants consider implementation as a process of dilution, a series of obstacles. We see it as a process of reinforcement, a series of helpful filters: the board, country managers, product development team, channel partners and consumers. Taking what we had learned from customers and channel partners, we went through our creative ideation phase and presented:
- New positioning as a one-stop supplier
- Strategy for approaching existing customers and new channels
- Concepts for a new range of savoury SKUs
Result: Delayed but real
Inspired by our vision, the executive board approved our recommendations and planned to introduce a new range of savouries. However, a large-scale reorganisation forced everyone to put these plans on hold. After an 18-month delay, the company was ready to recommence country-by-country implementation. Futurelab is helping them to get going again.