This approach has made it possible to develop the first customer insights database, looking particularly at clean-label and better-for-you trends. We talked to Luke Orphanides, Client Services Manager at NAILBITER, ahead of his presentation at the Fi Conference.
How is NAILBITER performing its research? What is distinguishable about your method?
“Traditional market research has relied on recall-based survey metrics such as brand awareness and purchase intent for decades. However, these metrics do not tell the full story of a product, brand, or consumer experience. NAILBITER has discovered new metrics for FMCG brands based exclusively on Quantitative Video of shopper purchase decisions.”
“NAILBITER leverages a smartphone application that invites millions of shoppers across the world to record their shopping experience ‘in the moment’. Videos capture consumer behavior at shelf or online, using any smartphone, in any format. Those videos are then converted from observations to data and metrics.”
How do you convince people to take part in the research?
“It became immediately clear to us when we first started NAILBITER that this was the direction behavioral research needed to go. For the first time we have been able to amass huge samples from shoppers to record videos of real shopping trips. The benefit we realised wasn’t being talked about is how easy to use it is for the consumer. We want them to make video when they are in the store or online and planning to shop for products (this is not a mission where they are asked to do something they had not planned on doing). It is also important to limit the amount of questions that we ask shoppers. Keeping the instructions as light as possible greatly reduces the burden on consumers to make these videos. Our platform has proven to us that shoppers are much more likely to complete a short video in a store that they are already in rather than answer a 15-minute online survey about a past purchase.”
How do you work with companies? What kind of data do you gather for their internal use?
“We work with a wide variety of insights teams that have a diverse set of focuses: consumer, shopper, innovation, marketing, and e-commerce to name a few. We work closely with researchers and marketers to understand real consumer behavior on the moment of purchase, to diagnose performance and uncover hidden opportunities within the category.”
“Using video metrics, consumer insights teams have been able to develop a whole new level of storytelling based on these new metrics and KPIs to activate insights. Seeing shoppers at the moment-of-truth allows top manufacturers to translate insights into actionable business strategies that can change the fate of new products and major business decisions.”
How are consumers defining clean label?
“We see a consistent trend when it comes to how consumers talk about clean label. Shoppers are more likely to define clean labels as a reflection of a product’s ingredients, as opposed to claims on pack. We took a deeper dive into how ingredients play a larger role among shoppers who look for better-for-you foods. 53% of shoppers mention ingredients as a primary reason for purchase.”
“Within that, there are 4 pillars that make up consumer expectations:
- Simplicity - conveying minimal ingredients
- Clarity - clear separation from extra additives or artificial flavoring
- Familiar - ingredients that shoppers can pronounce
- Transparency - claims that are supported by the nutrition content”
Can you give an example of interesting insights you have found through your research?
“Video can certainly uncover “aha” moments for clients, but what we have found is that our most impactful insights actually come from the validation we have been building for the past 5 years. We have developed the first normative database for consumer insights built exclusively from video metrics. A number we consistently reference is the percentage of shoppers that notice a new product. As we all know, a majority of new products brought to market do not ultimately succeed. We have found that, on average, successful new products will garner a notice rate of 31% among category shoppers. Anything below 15% is at a high risk of ultimately failing. This insight acts as a very clear signpost as it serves to immediately address the first moment of truth when a consumer walks the aisle. Grabbing that notice is the most important thing a brand can do when they launch a new product.”
Can you give a few interesting quotes from consumers buying clean label products?
“So much of consumer behavior is demonstrated by more than just what they say. When we observe consumers shopping at their usual retailer for categories they were planning on purchasing and limit the amount of instructions we share with them, we see that there are key moments of interaction that reveals what they notice and why they buy. To understand clean label, we should look at what products they are physically interacting with on-shelf in addition to capturing those open-ended perceptions. Many shoppers specifically call-out that they don’t want artificial additives, that they want minimal ingredients, and that they want to be able to read and pronounce everything that’s on the packaging.”
What are your predictions for the future of the clean label trend?
“Just as staple products never go out of fashion, with clean label the pendulum will swing back and forth with new brands in each category. We know that more shoppers are becoming engaged with ‘Better-for-You’ options in the store. However, we shouldn’t expect a future where all products will be white boxes with no more than 5 ingredients listed on the front. There will continue to be first-to-market brands that push the clean label forward within each category. We will very much keep our eyes and videos open to see what drives consumers to make ingredient-led purchase decisions.”
What are your predictions for the F&B industry in the next 3-5 years
“The crystal ball of food and beverage trends is getting a lot easier to read in 5-year intervals. Health trends are still dramatically and permanently changing food and beverage and many smaller brands are getting their foot in the door early. A couple learnings:
- No more health aisles - you may have already begun to notice that ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ is starting to integrate within each category. They no longer have their own section as BFY becomes less niche.
- Doubling down on online grocery pickup. Mass retailers in the US will grow their grocery pickup capabilities to lighten the burden on shoppers who still prefer to go to their local store
- Innovations out of the aisle. As shoppers focus their attention on the perimeter of the store we will see more innovations outside of the centre of the store. Many food and beverage brands are launching products featured outside of their core aisle and we expect this to be a consistent trend in the next few years.”