During the course of this week’s inaugural Food Protein Vision conference in Amsterdam, Nick Kirby, Bridgethorne’s Director of eCommerce, Shopper and Analytics, hosted a roundtable event entitled “Turning the consumer need into a shopper demand”.

“The premise of the discussion was that shoppers are responsible for 100% of products purchased from retailers and are the gatekeeper to all consumers,” explains Kirby. “So, whilst consumer awareness of the benefits of protein is experiencing rapid growth, it’s important to understand how this can be translated into compelling reasons for shoppers to change their habitual household food purchasing behaviour where it matters, at the point of purchase.”

The discussion focused on:

  • Understanding the needs and mind-sets of shoppers, recognising that whether the shopper is the same or different to the consumer, shoppers focus on different parts of the purchase decision hierarchy.
  • The importance of building plans that target the right points with the right message on the shopper journey;
  • The barriers to effective in-store shopper engagement; especially limited time being spent at shelf, when new proteins are trying to communicate numerous messages – the guidance was keep it simple, focused and clear.
  • How to develop and implement the right strategic and tactical approaches to win the heart, mind and share of spend of the shopper.
  • Challenging protein innovators to think about understanding the key triggers to purchase.

During the course of the conference, Kirby also participated in a panel discussion on which routes to market are proving successful for protein. From eCommerce to emerging export markets and expanding category reach, the panel discussed the best routes to grow a business, whether it’s for animal or plant protein, novel or traditional.

The key points raised by Nick Kirby were:

  • Make it easy for shoppers and consumers to switch their purchasing and consumption by focusing on key consumption occasions, tapping into the key needs that are being fulfilled during these occasions and clearly communicating this to consumers and shoppers.
  • Rather than think channel first, think target consumer, who is buying for the consumer and where they are living their lives and shopping for groceries. This should determine the initial decision about route to market.
  • Think about eCommerce as not just a retail space, but consider what role it can play in reducing the steps between people seeking information and new knowledge about new protein forms and adding to basket.
  • Be clear on your target shopper and consumer and think about how new innovation can reflect their values, not just the communication of functional benefits.
  • Consider a standard way across the industry to talk about protein to consumers and shoppers; otherwise there is risk of confusion and alienation amongst the consumer base if they don’t know what messages to trust.