10 Key Takeaways on Small Teams, Flavors, and the Hispanic Shopper

July 5, 2022
By Jackie Lewis, VP of Content for CMA | SIMA

Each quarter the CMA and SIMA host a number of private networking groups (PNGs) made up of suppliers and retailers to discuss industry pain points and best practices. Participation in these groups is by request only to account for competitive overlap. This quarter ARC launched 2 new groups: the first is for manufactures to discuss currently trending flavors, achieving the right mix of SKUs, and working with retail partners to achieve success with flavors. The second is composed of a variety of manufacturers across categories to share real time insights on the Hispanic shopper segment.

While the full notes remain available to participants only, we wanted to share some of the key takeaways from meetings held in 2Q (April-June). These are meant to both inform on real-time industry topics and make members and non-members aware of the networking opportunities available through ARC (The Association for Retail and Consumer Professionals).

Key Takeaways for Small Manufacturers/Brands

  1. Many small category management teams have moved beyond Excel for reporting to tools including PowerBI, Tableau, and Bedrock, which integrates directly with Nielsen/IRI. While some require incremental investment, it is typically less than another analyst or intern hire.
  2. Members are finding it extremely difficult to do price elasticity work right now given virtually all product categories are inflated, many are passing key historic price thresholds, and supply issues/out of stocks remain.
  3. Noticeable channel shifting in shopper behavior is starting to occur due to inflation; winners include discount grocery, dollar, club, and private label. The eCommerce channel could suffer given frequently higher item prices and incremental fees.

Key Takeaways on Flavors

  1. Maintaining the right mix of core and seasonal/experimental flavors is incredibly important across beverage/alcohol, yogurt, candy, and other categories.
  2. There is a fine line between adding new flavors to promote the category while not adding so many that it waters down the velocity of core items. A common ‘hero’ strategy to promote one new flavor around a key holiday to generate buzz and merchandise it with core items helps to avoid dilution.
  3. The more manufacturers can bring their retail partners along in the development and launch of new flavors, with support from shopper and market insights, the higher likelihood of success.

Key Takeaways on Hispanic Shopper Insights

  1. Determining where to shelve products that appeal to the Hispanic shopper segment varies widely based on retailer, region of the country, and how specific stores index with the Hispanic shopper.
  2. There are pros and cons to merchandising items in a specific ‘Latin’ or ‘Hispanic’ section vs. integrating items into the regular shelf set. Generally, if the item is perceived to be more ‘authentic’ a Latin section may be more appropriate for it than a more mainstream item.
  3. Launching Hispanic products can take a similar trajectory as in natural/organics, starting in the natural channel and once reaching broader appeal expanding into traditional grocery.
  4. Hispanic shoppers appear to be among the demographic groups most concerned with rising costs due to inflation.

Want to Get Involved?

Private Networking Groups are a great benefit for CMA and SIMA members. Connect with other peers in a non-competitive setting, share knowledge and see how other companies are dealing with the same issues you face every day.

Check out the entire list of current PNGs, and for more information or to participate, feel free to contact VP of Content and Member Engagement Jackie Lewis: [email protected].