Snacking brand uses data to innovate


Our client operates in a highly competitive global marketplace, continually tackling key challenges such as increases in raw material prices, rising pressure to improve sustainability, as well as striving to improve their Corporate Social Responsibility. As well as improving their environmentally friendly methods and credentials, COVID-19 has forced a dynamic shift to supply chain management and added yet another layer of complexity.

The pandemic has caused a significant shift in consumer snacking habits and it is anticipated that consumer behaviour will not return to pre-pandemic buying patterns. The impact is that our client needs to be more nimble in its response to ongoing changes in their sector.

With so much complexity to consider, our client was looking for a solution that enabled them to build a competitive advantage. Their goal was to innovate and continue to grow, while still satisfying the changing needs and desires of consumers.

The Challenge

Snacking data can be cut and analysed in countless ways – flavour, format, occasion, size… the list goes on. Our client wanted to explore an interesting hypothesis – that customers’ preferences, are in part at least, led by the way snacks feel in the mouth. But how do we even begin to measure or quantify this?

Wessex identified 14 unique mouthfeel classifications; the tricky part was then segmenting sell-out data across 18 markets into these 14 classifications – approximately 35,000 product lines!

Wessex overcame the below challenges for the client – something an off-the-shelf solution cannot achieve:

  • Poor or limited product descriptions making it difficult to segment the data
  • Lack of product description consistency across markets – we needed to ensure that the same products across markets had the same classification
  • Local market product knowledge – desk research was necessary to ensure the classifications were accurate, this was a labour-intensive task
  • Working closely with the client’s local teams in each market to ensure consistency of approach

The Solution

Wessex devised a tailored, bespoke in-house solution to segment the data that is founded on our key principles to data management:

  • Ingest: the data from 18 markets was ingested into a database – common attributes were retained across markets, while uncommon attributes were reviewed and retained if this added value when segmenting the data
  • Enrich: an in-house solution, using a series of smart formulations, was created to identify the mouthfeel segmentation. Key data attributes were standardised to ensure consistency across markets
  • Check: due to the challenges explained above, a project of this nature required significant due diligence and Quality Checking (QC). The solution created by Wessex included automated desk research to provide accurate classifications
  • Visualise: Wessex delivered a clean, standardised, easy to use database now segmented by mouthfeel. Key insights were also presented in a PowerPoint presentation to drive innovation.

The Result

The results were fascinating – cutting the data in this way empowered the client to answer some very powerful and thought-provoking questions which has ultimately influenced the client’s market strategy:

  • Which mouthfeel segment(s) presents the largest opportunity to our client?
  • Who is the market leader in these mouthfeel segments, and who has the fastest growth in these segments?
  • While certain mouthfeel segments may be relatively small, are they growing rapidly indicating a shift in customer preferences?
  • How do preferences for mouthfeel segment look across markets?
  • If the client is not operating in a mouthfeel segment that they should be, does the client have existing products available in their portfolio that could be repackaged or resized to play in this segment, or is a new product required to fill this space?

Ready to talk?