From Fridge to Feelings: Helping a Grocery Brand Navigate Dietary Styles

“As each special lifestyle shopper placed so much value on their regular grocery shop, uncovering their specific in-store difficulties helped our client to improve their customer’s brand experience by revising the placement of products consumed by each dietary group. The study indicated how the store could improve their specialty product labeling and in-store signage so healthy eating shoppers could more easily locate and identify new and regular products that are important to their lifestyle and to foster greater store loyalty by making it easier to shop.”

Rebecca Brooks
Founder, CEO – Alter Agents

The challenge

Consumers are becoming increasingly conscious and careful with their eating habits. Lifestyles, health, and personal desire leads to various eating styles and mindful choices. Whether Vegan, Vegetarian, Flexitarian, Keto, or Paleo – consumers are seeking specific foods to maintain their lifestyles.

With this knowledge consumer research agency Alter Agents were commissioned by a major supermarket chain to dig deeper into these specific lifestyles to discern how to provide better solutions to their healthy eating customers.

The objective of the study was to understand the attitudes, habits, current eating patterns, and motivations among these groups of people as well as to identify and understand any unmet needs around health and healthy eating, so they could create a better shopping experience and increased customer loyalty.

Their overall goal was to use these customer insights to learn about new product development opportunities, innovation opportunities, and the importance of packaging and messaging for each customer segment. In order to achieve this level of nuance and insight, Alter Agents knew that they would need more than a survey to fully investigate and understand the detail of consumers’ everyday healthy eating lives and the drivers of their lifestyle and shopping choices.

The solution

To achieve the depth required, Alter Agents undertook a 3-week qualitative community diary study via FocusVision Revelation using its social media styled mobile-friendly interface for participants to share their opinions, photos, videos, and challenges associated with their healthy living commitment. Revelation provided the project team with the ethnographic approach to see for themselves what’s inside people’s fridges and cupboards, and to share their grocery shopping challenges.

Participants were asked about their healthy eating lifestyle choices, motivations, challenges, likes and dislikes, difficulties sustaining the diet on special occasions or when traveling. They were able to share pictures of typical meals and snacks and in-store shopping challenges.

In the third week, the brand also shared new product ideas and solutions with the participants to gauge reactions and better understand how the grocery chain meets the needs of these identified challenges. To get setup quickly and to help moderate activities during the project, the agency included FocusVision Professional Services so they could concentrate on the insights and results.

The results

The brand discovered a lot of variance behind why people choose a certain healthy eating lifestyle. However, a common theme was the need to cook at home and plan ahead. Participant’s most common solution was to bring their own meals or snacks with them when out, which meant that snacks, meal items, and convenience items were particularly important while grocery shopping.

By focusing deeper on the unmet needs of their customers the brand was able to brainstorm and develop products that will fill specific gaps in their customer’s food solutions. They were looking to create a better shopping experience in-store to make it easier for shoppers to find what they are looking for to fit their lifestyle and hope to see an increase in customer loyalty and upsell growth through targeted cross-sell opportunities.

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