Groceryshop Recap: “Evolve or Get Left Behind”

At Groceryshop, Nina Barton, President of Global Growth at Kraft Heinz, walked the audience through the typical journey of putting food on the table: a consumer discovers new ideas for meals, looks for inspiration from friends or family, plans the meals, shops for ingredients, then cooks and eats it. Over the last seventy years, this journey has remained fundamentally the same. However, the CPG industry has taken measures to evolve each of these steps in the journey to meet the needs of the consumers.

Years ago, you would need to ask a friend, family member, or search a cookbook to find a recipe. Now, all you need to do is type “mac and cheese” and thousands of recipes with images are ready at your fingertips. Eighty percent of shoppers use the internet for grocery research, and 24 percent of those shoppers research on a smartphone or tablet. Of that group, 83 percent use an app to grocery shop.

While consumers have more options, choices, and information readily available, they are often overwhelmed. They are craving a personalized, streamlined path to navigate recipes and find ingredients—all while adapting to their ever-changing schedules and lifestyles. Barton says consumers are shouting, “Help me! Don’t make me do all the heavy lifting. Give me integrated solutions that help me save time and energy.”

Connectivity helps consumers tell us what they need, and it’s up to the brands to fulfill that need. In fact, three-quarters of consumers now expect companies to understand their needs and expectations before they know what they want. “We need to be mind readers,” says Barton. For Kraft Heinz, this hasn’t been an easy feat. In today’s digital world, you “evolve or get left behind.” The company started by building strong relationships with retail and strategic partners and leveraging data to make better decisions. To digitally transform the company, Barton created four mantras.

Four Mantras to Live By to Digitally Transform

Create a culture that celebrates failure

“Perfection is so yesterday,” states Barton. She often tells her team “fail fast, fail cheap, and fail often and you will get a better consumer outcome.” At Kraft Heinz, they reward employees for taking risks.

Data is only as good as the insights it uncovers

Barton notes that for every point you uncover, there will always be another point that will counteract it. However, data needs to serve to understand and engage the customer as well as discover the root causes of their pain points.

By using this method, Barton’s team found three major pain points in the customer’s journey:

  1. Finding inspiration: 52 percent of shoppers say figuring out what to make is the hardest part of making a meal. On average, consumers spend 40 minutes a week planning meals and finding recipes. This is time CPG brands could give back to their shoppers.
  2. Finding nutritional food: Most consumers can pick up a box of cereal and look at the nutritional facts, but Kraft Heinz determined that consumers want to understand how the nutritional content in that box of cereal fits into their nutritional plan for the week.
  3. Convenience: More than 30 percent of consumers find it challenging to gather the family for dinner. Kraft Heinz aims to find new ways to make it easier and simpler for families to come together throughout the entire meal prepping and making process.

Download the Complete Customer Experience Report to learn how to create an unforgettable experience that will engage shoppers and improve revenue.

Create a process around innovation and growth

Kraft Heinz created a business group that acts as a startup and can quickly generate ideas, learn, and adapt. This group produced two macro solutions to the three pain points described above: Hyper-personalization and creating a seamless consumer experience by tying the entire journey together.

Barton was unable to say exactly what type of tools Kraft Heinz is working on to achieve their two macro solutions. But, she described them as tools that will learn about your family’s diets, keep you on budget, and create a nutritional guideline. The tools will evolve with your changing needs. For example, if you change to a paleo diet, the tools will learn this and adjust your nutritional guide as needed.

Barton says that the next big opportunity for any CPG is ecommerce. She adds, “With the landscape shifting so quickly, this needs to be a top priority.” Only two years ago, just 50 percent of Americans had the ability to buy groceries online. That figure is now over 80 percent. Online grocery sales remain relatively low, around two to three percent of the total share of grocery sales, but this number could reach as high a 25 percent by 2025. Kraft Heinz estimates its ecommerce business will reach $1bil by 2020.

Don’t just build a team, build a movement

Barton created a team with people who come from unexpected backgrounds and married them with entrepreneurial types. This created a team with a sincere desire to drive growth and better serve their customers.

Barton ends the session with, “Brands and companies that embrace change will continue to grow and win if they focus on the one thing that truly matters: the consumer. To be clear though, we are on the first step of a thousand step journey.” In the last two years, CPG companies saw more change than in the last twenty years combined.

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