KISSIMEE, FL: New products often have less than two months to prove themselves in stores, putting pressure on brands to gather data showing their impact on categories and consumers at speed, a leading executive has argued.
Henry Giddens Jr., director/consumer strategy and insights at Müller Quaker Dairy's – a joint venture between PepsiCo and the Theo Müller Group – outlined the challenge at the IRI Summit 2014.
Müller Quaker rolled out its Müller Corner, Greek Corner and FrütUp lines across America during the first seven months of last year, and was all too aware of the extremely intense competition for shelf space.
"Retailers are starting to make calls six weeks after launch in terms of how you're doing and whether or not you're going to be around in six months," said Giddens. (For more, including how Müller Quaker built its strategy for the US market, read Warc's exclusive report: How Müller adapted to the American market.)
"So we really needed to come back to them and say, 'Hey: here's the story that we promised you pre-launch; now here's what's happening in-market, and we're making good on that.'"
That objective was complicated by the fact both the Theo Müller Group – one of Europe's premier dairy firms – and PepsiCo were entering new territory, and were thus effectively building a new data pipeline.
"We were really starting from scratch in a lot of ways," is the way Giddens described the situation to the conference audience.
Only six weeks after the national launch, Müller Quaker thus leveraged an IRI research platform that integrated sales figures with detailed insights about how shoppers viewed the sector, and drilled down into the attributes they valued about each brand.
Moreover, the system provided forecasts of the incremental sales that could be generated for retailers, and from where Müller could steal share – thus giving the company powerful ammunition to make its case to retailers.
With an estimated $95.8 million in annual sales for 2013 as a whole, Müller Yoghurt was also named among the top ten launches in the food and beverage category for last year.