A large American food company is feeling the pinch in the morning foods category. What was once a highly profitable, high volume category has now turned into a nightmare with low margins and excessive competition. They are trying to figure out how they can regain momentum in morning foods and launch innovations that address the changing palates of consumers.
Our team examines over 8000 American consumers through Digital Ethnography to understand the underlying beliefs that shape the role they assign breakfast to play in their lives. We identify a group of consumers that have significantly changed their morning food rituals over the last 24 months. They make up 18% of the American population and look at breakfast as a performance enhancer. To them, breakfast serves a critical need - making them feel prepared to tackle the challenges of the day. This consumer knows that they lose control the moment they step out of the comfort of their home each morning, and breakfast serves as the last opportunity to exert a sense of control.
Interestingly enough, this cohort of consumers have systematically increased their caloric intake in the morning over the last 12 months in particular. And in doing so, they've created a new morning ritual that makes them feel a lot less anxious and a lot more prepared to deal with whatever uncertainties life throws at them. This cohort is not the loudest voice when it comes to breakfast. In fact, they only make up half the share of voice of the loudest cohort. But, they're the most influential - they drive the adoption of new products and rituals when it comes to morning foods (to learn more, read this article on how trends are born). If they care about sugar, eventually, so does the mainstream. If they consume more calories, over time, so do others. And if they associate a higher caloric count meal paired with coffee as the ultimate anxiety killer each morning, so does an increasingly larger mainstream population.
Our client realizes that they need to deliver more calories (but still healthy) to the consumer each morning, and in a series of offerings that either pair really well with coffee, or that are offered in conjunction with coffee through partnerships. This allows them to reimagine the role their existing and future products play in the lives of consumers each morning and create a set of solutions that are launched in a timely manner (before these trends hit full mainstream adoption).