CHICAGO: Tyson Foods, the food company, is generating invaluable insights about innovation by using a Tinder-like app that asks consumers to swipe left and right on potential products, rather than prospective romantic partners.

Janu Lakshmanan, Associate Director/Consumer Insights and Strategy at Tyson, discussed this subject at the TMRE in Focus event held by KNect365.

More specifically, she pointed towards an app, developed by research agency Dig Insights, that utilises a similar interface to Tinder to rapidly test new products against competing brands, and also optimise concepts and packaging.

As each product appears on-screen, users are asked to swipe right for “yes” or “like”, or left for “no” or “dislike” in a series of face-offs – an approach that has particular appeal for younger shoppers, and especially millennials.

“Consumers want to engage with it … It cuts time. The pictures say everything to them. We shouldn’t have consumers taking 45-minute surveys anymore,” said Lakshmanan. (For more details, read WARC’s exclusive report: How tech is spurring insights generation at Tyson Foods.)

This tool – which has been used by Tyson’s Hillshire Farm brand – also feeds in to the stark reality of grocery aisles, she further ventured, where new products often lack extensive marketing support in breaking through the clutter in an instant.

“A lot of our products go out there without a ton of support,” Kakshmaman – a marketing reality that makes the information from the Dig Insights app especially informative. “A product does well or it doesn’t,” Lakshmanan reported. “We get a very easy, immediate response.” 

One example of the insights this research platform provides has involved more tightly targeting existing products, as shown by a comparison between Hillshire’s Snacking Small plates and Grilled Chicken Bites.

The two concepts had both tested well initially, and running them through the app later revealed a previously undiscovered insight: That the two offerings had distinct audiences.

“Small Plates and Chicken Bites performed like two separate brands made for different people,” Lakshmanan said. “This methodology showed that they mapped separately, creating a divide we wouldn’t have known before. When you do monadic testing, you never get to see that.”

Data sourced from WARC