General Mills looks for insights beyond the numbers

Geoffrey Precourt

Data is expensive, Jeanine Bassett, vp/consumer insights at General Mills, allows. "But shouldn't we be leveraging it?" she asked the audience at The Market Research Event (TMRE) 2013 – a conference run by the Institute for International Research and held in Nashville, Tennessee.

"The challenge is: how do you make room for people? How do you make room for consumers in a numbers culture? How do you create some space for the consumer to have a very strong voice, other than quantitatively, in decision-making?"

For General Mills, that challenge is particularly important. Its Gold Medal brand is the top-selling flour in the US, and a variety of other offerings – ranging from Pillsbury refrigerated dough to Betty Crocker dessert mixes to Green Giant frozen vegetables and Cheerios cereal – all occupy first or second spot in their category in terms of market share.