Caryn Gillan, Director of Category & Insights at Bridgethorne

Research published in the summer of 2016 reported the number of new grocery products being launched by manufacturers into retail multiples in the UK falling significantly. Retailers removing slower selling items had resulted in a 6% drop in the number of products on shelves and 13% fewer new branded items launched in 2015 compared to two years previously.

With the multiples looking to downsize their ranges, especially in the context of cost price negotiations prompted by recent currency fluctuations, it has become even harder for manufacturers to have new products listed.

The reality, of course, though is that the market needs product innovation. Shoppers demand it for variety, retailers need it for category growth and opportunities remain for those who approach the dialogue correctly. One thing’s for sure, though, with larger organisations like Unilever introducing a dedicated NPD team to specifically facilitate the faster launch of new products from concept to final product, all other suppliers need to do what they can to keep pace. The Grocer recently reported that a Unilever team in the Netherlands created the concept for a peanut butter Cornetto within 24 hours and had the finished product on shelf within 12 weeks.

But not every supplier is a Unilever, which is why all FMCG manufacturers now need to become master storytellers in their own right if they are to remain competitive. That means creating compelling selling stories that demonstrate the category opportunity for your product based on consumer and shopper insights.

The stories we help create are not only being used for new product development and new listings, though, but also as a defence against delists or distribution losses, selling initiatives and new concepts. Having a great selling story is vital if you are going to persuade retailers; you need to win both hearts and minds with a proposition that is grounded in genuine insight and delivers a positive change for the retailer, category, shopper or consumer – preferably all of them!

We can help you do that by showing why your product is relevant to the retailer and its shoppers, and knowing what category challenges it addresses.

Critically, it’s about having the consumer and shopper insights that make the product or idea a compelling proposition and being able to demonstrate the category opportunity that will drive a call to action.

Insight is the real currency when it comes to building great selling stories, In the products in your portfolio, you will already have the plot and the characters. We have the insights and expertise to help turn them into a compelling selling story.