How to Drive Product Innovation for Young Brands

How do you evolve from a young, “one and done” brand to a multi-dimensional brand with a diversified portfolio fueled up for growth? It’s the challenge so many face, and a challenge that leads to ‘the ultimate reward.

Recently, Engine was approached by a young, creative, healthy packaged-food brand who achieved great success with its debut product. It was time for them to now move beyond this product and into its next growth spurt. They wanted to target the healthy packaged beverage space. Not a bad idea, but it is a crowded space with a regular flow of new products and brands. The company had a strong brand reputation but was that enough to stand out and succeed? Unfortunately, no. They needed a way to find new innovation opportunities in the category that weren’t just unique, but also highly valued by health-conscious consumers.

Together we discovered a key consumer demographic, adults between the ages of 25 to 45, that are underserved in the market. These professionals and young parents wanted convenient but healthy beverages that could serve as a meal replacement, and no big brands were stepping in to fulfill the need. With these insights, the brand was able to seize the opportunity and launch into the product development phase. By identifying the category’s few existing players, low levels of innovation, and clear actionable consumer trends, there was substantial growth and innovation potential in the nutritious packaged beverage space. Introducing emerging physical and societal trends, a growing market and interviews with industry experts from Engine’s proprietary expert network confirmed that there is untapped opportunity in the space that a creative brand could capture.

In addition, Engine’s social media research expanded on our expert insight and gave a clear indication of consumers’ growing interest in nutritious drinks and convenient meal replacements, with consumers posting overwhelmingly positive things about the topic and only 8% showing negative sentiment. We also explored the time of year brands like this are the most well-received and additional brand and health desires to consider.

 

Market Growth and Product Innovation Trends

Engine Reveals the Protein Drinks Market is Growing and Innovators Are Using Inspiring Packaging and Product Formats

 

Market data analysis indicated that the meal replacement drinks market and the protein drinks market have both grown steadily and are forecast to continue to grow 5-10% annually, presenting a robust opportunity for a new entrant that can deliver differentiated value.

 

 

 

We identified a few innovation trends, or lack thereof, including a lack of powdered drink development outside of the protein nutrition space, a trend of on-the-go powder packets, and a few meal replacement products.

 

 

Driving Launch of New Products

 

Engine’s Insights and Recommendations Drove the Client’s Launch of a New Beverage Product in 2019

 

Engine’s integrated methodology of expert insights, social media analysis, and published data provided a clear understanding of the category. We informed the client that nutritious beverages are trending upwards, consumers are looking for convenient, meal-replacing, and protein-focused drinks, and the market opportunity is large and growing.

Based on these findings, Engine recommended to the client that the best opportunity for a successful product launch would be a high-protein, on-the-go, and powdered drink mix. This convenient product would target the underserved health-conscious consumers between the ages of 25 and 45. Engine also proposed that the marketing should focus on the product’s balanced nutritional profile and position it as an affordable, healthy meal replacement that can be consumed in any setting.

This research is now serving as a foundational piece of the client’s strategy for building out and launching their new beverage product, which hits the shelves in 2019.


About the Author

In his role as a Manager at Engine, Andrew is dedicated to solving clients’ business issues in a variety of industries including healthcare, retail, travel, and consumer packaged goods. Andrew’s clients rely on the Accelerated Intelligence team to provide insight and strategic guidance on understanding their customers, developing new products and services, and staying ahead of industry trends. Most recently, Andrew has enhanced and reinvigorated Engine’s Competitive Intelligence practice, leveraging his project management and In-Depth Interviewing skills to give clients the competitive edge they need to lead in their market. Andrew established his aptitude for rigorous research and analysis at New York University, where he received his master’s degree in International Relations & Business and his bachelor’s degree in International Relations. He began his career at a due diligence consultancy, using research to assess the risks of potential investments and partnerships for clients in financial services and retail.

If you’d like to talk to Andrew about how you can integrate research into your innovation strategy, please email him at andrew.trudeau@enginegroup.com.

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