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Katie Maslanka

10 Iconic Brands Who Successfully Evolved Their Products

10 Iconic Brands Who Successfully Evolved Their Products 150 150 Katie Maslanka

We’ve all experienced it. Maybe a fast-food menu item that’s been our Friday-after-work treat for years tastes spicier, or perhaps we’ve noticed the air-to-chip ratio of our favorite chip brand has shifted since we last remember. When we detect even the slightest change in our favorite products, it’s easy to feel annoyance or frustration. The quote “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it” might come to mind, or, depending on how much we love this brand, we can even feel a bit betrayed. What we might not realize in the moment is that evolving product offerings are important for measuring up to health standards and even improving the quality of your experience! When companies alter their product recipes carefully and consider what is loved the most about them when making small recipe changes, the newer version can actually be better for both the company and customers. How is this possible, you ask? All thanks to the help of consumer testers who give their much needed opinion when it comes to taste, texture, and flavor while the recipe is being tested. When impactful consumer insights join forces with product assessment, the new recipe can provide more nutritional value and fewer ingredients you can’t pronounce while staying just as delicious as the original version. Check out this list of 10 iconic brands who managed to do just that!

“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.”

 -Winston Churchill

 

iconic brands who have evolved their recipes oreo illustration

1. Oreo changed their recipe so everyone can enjoy their cookies.

Making changes to the beloved Oreo recipe sounds like the kind of move that might spark a riot, but in 1997, Oreo proved that change could make products more inclusive. In 1997, Nabisco adjusted all its brand recipes to remove non-Kosher ingredients such as pig fat so more chocolate and cream lovers from around the world can enjoy its delicious cookies and snacks! Oreo’s transition took around three years to fully complete and was a very costly switch by all accounts! Based on Oreo’s unwaning popularity nearly 25 years after the recipe, the Kosher conversion proved highly successful. In fact, it’s the world’s most popular cookie! Not too surprising when you consider that unmatched dunking game.

On another note, did you know that women are more likely to pull Oreos apart before eating them?

 

2. Dominos acknowledged a need for change, improved their recipe, and moved on.

If you’re a pizza lover, you’ve probably noticed Domino’s has stepped up their pizza game in the last decade. The pizza giant used self-deprecating humor to announce their recipe revamp and publicly acknowledged how they’d been missing the mark while highlighting a newfound intention to develop higher quality products. .Dominos released a campaign that capitalized on how bad their recipes have been (comically referring to their pizzas as cardboard) and making fun of how long it took for them to correct their missteps (“only 50 years too late”). This attention-grabbing act of taking responsibility for their lackluster pies communicated that the recipe changes on the horizon were so bold, they wanted their consumers to notice the difference. Dominos then introduced a more evolved, higher-quality product that changed the trajectory of their brand and skyrocketed customer acceptance.

Did you know there are 35 million different ways to create one Domino’s pizza? Now that’s a pie with possibility.

 

10 iconic brands that evolved their recipes kraft macaroni n' cheese illustration

3. Kraft sneakily made their Kraft Macaroni and Cheese healthier

In one of the largest blind taste tests of all time, Kraft switched out the artificial food dye with paprika, annatto, and turmeric  to naturally recreate their signature bright orange-yellow color. They made the shift from the artificial food dyes Yellow No. 5 and No. 6 to natural ingredients in late 2015, and consumers who’d been snacking on Kraft Mac and Cheese for their entire lives never noticed the difference. When CNN reported that Kraft had made a significant recipe change several months earlier, the brand had already sold over 50 million boxes without so much as an arched eyebrow from consumers. Like a mother who hides vegetables in her children’s pizzas, Kraft sneakily proved just because a food is healthy doesn’t mean it can’t be delicious.

Kraft Macaroni and Cheese was hit right off the bat! When it first launched in 1937, Kraft sold over 9 million boxes of cheesy goodness.

 

iconic brands that evolved their recipes mcdonalds soft serve illustration

4. McDonald’s nixed artificial ingredients in their desserts.

If you’ve ever had a McDonald’s soft serve cone, you’ve probably noticed the smooth, creamy, and icy mixture is a far cry from ice cream. What you probably didn’t notice if you’ve had one recently, however, is a recipe revamp that cut out all preservatives, artificial colors, and flavors. Taking a page from Kraft’s playbook, the fast-food giant also switched up its traditional recipes without announcing it to consumers. After months of no customer complaints, Mcdonald’s came clean about the wide-sweeping ingredient upgrade that changed 60% of their dessert menu. Turns out, iconic brands really can make their products healthier while not telling their consumers about the switch.

Did you know over 68 million people eat at McDonald’s every day? That’s the entire population of the UK!

 

5. Coca-Cola quietly slashed sugar levels for the European market.

Yet another iconic brand who covertly evolved their product recipe to see if consumers could taste the difference, Coca-Cola removed a large percentage of sugar from two of their products, Fanta and Sprite, in Europe and Australian markets. In a test that secretly shaved 30 percent of the calories off of these traditionally insanely sugary drinks, consumers never noticed that the recipe had changed. The test was only revealed in a 2017 interview with CEO James Quincey when he spoke about reaching a new generation of soda consumers who weren’t as keen on sugar. Coke’s sly sugar re-evaluation proved consumers don’t need a full serving of sugar to enjoy the full Coke flavor!

Here’s a refreshing fun fact: In World War 2, Dwight Eisenhower handed a Coca Cola to a Russian General who resisted German forces. He enjoyed it so much; he requested a clear version to secretly enjoy Coca-Cola without facing the scrutiny of a Stalin-era Russia.

 

iconic brands that evolved their recipes boston market mac n' cheese illustration

6. Boston Market minimizes mac + cheese sodium without sacrificing flavor.

 Boston Market spent an entire year running consumer tests and identifying the perfect way to cut sodium without affecting their macaroni and cheese taste. After 15 iterations, the restaurant finally figured out that with an 18% sodium decrease, consumers wouldn’t be able to notice the difference and they’d also be able to honor their commitment to decreasing salt levels in their food. Though consumers say they want healthier options, they also refuse to budge when it comes to taste. Industry-leading insights companies such as Curion empowers brands to make positive changes to their recipes without angering loyal customers. You can play a pivotal role in helping restaurants do just this by signing up as a consumer tester! Interested? Find out more here.

Contrary to (understandable) popular belief, Boston Market started in the small Massachusetts town of Newton — not Boston!

 

iconic brands that evolved their recipes nutella illustration

7. Nutella made a few recipe swaps, but consumers didn’t love the secrecy.

It truly takes a lot for someone not to love Nutella — a spoonful of the creamy, smooth, hazelnut chocolate spread provides the perfect indulgence for so many. When Nutella upped the levels of skim milk and sugar for the European market, most people didn’t taste a difference. They made another small recipe adjustment for the US market that included swapping out skim milk for whey protein, which also went unnoticed. Consumers weren’t upset by the taste of the new recipe, but many voiced frustrations that the brand didn’t announce the change to their recipes. Unlike the fast-food restaurants that launched blind test tastes with consumers, Nutella faced scrutiny on both sides of the Atlantic for lack of communication.

Here’s a sweet fun fact: Ferrero, the makers of Nutella, buy about a quarter of the world’s hazelnut supply every year. That’s more than 100,000 tons of hazelnuts.

 

iconic brands evolved their recipes wendys chicken nuggets illustration

8. Wendy’s stepped up their chicken nugget game.

After years of being criticized for the texture of their chicken nuggets, Wendy’s decided to start using meat from smaller birds, which have juicier and more tender meat. Consumer testing highlighted just what was missing from Wendy’s chicken nuggets and paved the way for a higher quality chicken experience. Using larger birds increases the dryness of meat, as well as rubbery taste and white strips. This is because modern-day chickens are usually around twice the size of their ancestors. Wendy’s $30 million effort to source smaller birds will reportedly shrink the average chicken size by 20%. Gail Vendrick, senior director for protein procurement, stated, “It’s all about the texture and how juicy it is,” in an interview with Business Insider about the changes. Wendy’s rolled out the new and improved chicken filets at the beginning of 2017 and hasn’t looked back.

Did you know Wendy’s frosty has been around since the first restaurant opened its doors in 1969? Then, they cost approximately 35 cents.

 

10 iconic brands that evolved recipes campbells chicken noodle soup illustration

9. Campbell’s Soup shifted its recipe towards more natural ingredients.

In 2015, Campbell’s Soup took inventory of the ingredients that made up their classic soups and slashed chemicals such as potassium chloride, monosodium glutamate, and maltodextrin. While the original Campbell’s chicken soup contained about 30 ingredients, the revamped recipe only has 20 ingredients, most of which you could find in a person’s kitchen cabinet. Around the time the new soup recipe was launched in 2015, soup sales were declining steadily. Other soup companies, such as General Mills (who makes Progresso soups), saw a similar slump in revenue. However, when the pandemic hit, Campbell’s soup (with new and more natural ingredients) spiked in sales by 12%, then 17% the next quarter. As of Q2 2021, soup sales have continued to increase (reportedly by 10% as compared to Q1). Though Campbell’s expects soup sales to decline again over the next decade, the ingredient audit of 2015 was inarguably a smart move.

Campbell’s Soup originally started as a jelly company. Joseph Campbell was a fruit vendor who teamed up with Abraham Anderson, who was in the canning business in 1869 to form Campbells. The pair originally sold canned vegetables, fruit preserves, and jars of butter.

 

10 iconic brands evolved recipes taco bell taco illustration

10. Taco Bell adjusts cheese recipe, losing the artificial food dye.

 When it comes to late night snacking, Taco Bell is hard to beat. The Mexican-American fast-food hybrid is inarguably a brand consumers don’t eat to be healthy. When Taco Bell replaced the artificial ingredients in their nacho cheese with higher-quality components, they risked facing backlash from consumers who missed the original recipe — artificial flavors and all. With the help of consumer testing, Taco Bell created a new nacho cheese recipe that consumers loved just as much. Their decision to go out on a limb and make a healthy change to their products proved largely beneficial — the fast-food chain announced in a recent press release that they plan on opening around 9,000 new stores across the US in the next five years.

The chihuahua who starred in Legally Blonde also played Taco Bell’s mascot in the late 90s. Though the little dog spouting the words “Yo quiero Taco Bell” became a bit of a cultural icon (What? Like it’s hard?), the ads never translated into increased sales.

 

 Though making significant recipe changes can pose a risk of rejection and failure, consumer testers help mitigate that risk and fuel success like the food brands above experienced. Every time consumer testers participate in a paid research study or taste test, they help pave the way for iconic brands to optimize their offerings while retaining their loyal customers.

 

Want to become a consumer tester and help brands reach their full potential?

You’re in luck! We could always use an extra set of discerning taste buds around here. Head to our registration page to sign up now.

We can’t wait to continue to inspire brand-name products to move into the future with you by our side.

 

Why some companies want everyone back in the office

Why some companies want everyone back in the office 150 150 Katie Maslanka

“I am super passionate to get everyone back,” said Sean Bisceglia, CEO of Curion. “What we are really missing is that creativity, and that spontaneity and the ingenuity and talking to your teammates face-to-face. The whole creativity has kind of been gutted without people being together. I’ve seen a big cultural effect of connecting to your co-workers.”

Check out Curion’s CEO Sean Bisceglia featured in CNN Business.

 

 

Women Of The C-Suite: Keren Novack of Curion On The Five Things You Need To Succeed As A Senior Executive

Women Of The C-Suite: Keren Novack of Curion On The Five Things You Need To Succeed As A Senior Executive 150 150 Katie Maslanka

Curion’s President, Keren Novack, spoke with Candice Georgiadis, from Authority Magazine on the five things you need to succeed as a senior executive.

“Go after what it is that creates meaning in your life and trust yourself to handle the stress that follows”

Learn what 5 things are needed to succeed as a senior executive from Keren’s point of view!

Read More HERE

Out with the new, in with the old

Out with the new, in with the old 150 150 Katie Maslanka

Consumers seek nostalgia and familiarity through established brands

Where do people turn after dealing with the uncertainty of a global pandemic, a tumultuous election season, and an economic crisis? Comfort and familiarity. For decades, nostalgia has provided warmth and predictability in times of chaos. Throughout World War 2, the financial turmoil of the 70s, 9/11, and the Great Recession, consumers grasped for familiar textures, scents, and colors intertwined with feelings of safety and predictability. In 2020, consumers reached for products that transport them to simpler times when pandemics were left to history books and sci-fi films.

Our current push towards nostalgia and comfort is a lifeline to many CPG brands that lost a bit of relevance before the pandemic hit. As the level of products’ “safety” and “familiarity” drive decision-making, consumers gravitate towards the brands they grew up with rather than their more sophisticated counterparts.

Our Consumer Pulse Survey (circulating to our database of consumers nationwide until March 2020) detected the same pattern. Purchases of frozen treats, desserts, and snacks increased 45% compared to pre-COVID times. Purchases of desserts and sweet treats continue to uptick as Americans attempt to offset emotional strain with foods that bring happiness.

As consumers’ priorities shift to comfort, the same brands struggling to stay afloat a year ago now find themselves riding the wave of nostalgia. Large companies such as the Campbell’s Soup Company, where sales have been declining over the past few years, are increasing their production, hiring new employees, and raising wages for hourly employees to keep up with the demand.

Of course, the definition of “nostalgic” varies by household demographics and generation. COVID-19’s stay-at-home mandate allowed older family members to expose their children and grandchildren to the brands they knew and trusted decades ago. The result? A generation removed from Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and calming Campbell’s chicken noodle soup was suddenly exposed to both.

The gravitational pull of nostalgia affects millennials in an equally intriguing way. Brands that millennials loved as children such as Fruit Roll-Ups and Ramen Noodles have long been replaced by meticulously branded, health-focused, more mature newcomers sold by the likes of Whole Foods and Trader Joes. Yet when the pandemic introduced a desire for comfort and familiarity, millennials ran back towards the artificial flavors, high-fructose corn syrup, and red food dye they’d sworn off as adults. As millennials reach for products they’d typically pass without a second thought (i.e., I, as a 26-year-old woman, purchased a Baby Bottle Pop for myself the other day), nostalgia is resuscitating brands and products that lost steam in the health-conscious 2010s.

The demand for these lost comfort foods directly translated into sales – Campbell’s soup sales soared 59% compared to a year ago, Prego pasta sauce increased 52% YOY, and Pepperidge Farm Goldfish crackers’ sales also climbed nearly 23%. The push for nostalgia benefits well-known brands over lesser-established players.

“There is potential for increased preference for established, reputable, dependable brands that solve newly framed problems better than other alternatives,” Jon R. Moeller, Procter & Gamble’s CFO, said when announcing strong-third quarter earnings. Well-known P&G brands such as Tide Detergent and Charmin toilet paper have increased in sales by 20%.

Consumers’ sweet tooth for nostalgia doesn’t just open the door for struggling brands to win back customers, it also allows less established brands to connect with consumers in new ways. Successful marketing involves engaging and emotionally affecting the consumer – making nostalgia-driven campaigns lean, mean, conversion machines. Cereal companies such as General Mills are relaunching classic cereal formulations and their original 1980s themed boxes. However, packaging and formula reboots aren’t the only way we’re seeing CPG brands spearheading nostalgia-based research initiatives. Companies are also relaunching product lines from yesteryear and remastering jingles from the past.

When it comes to leveraging nostalgia to appeal to consumers’ sense of familiarity, established brands hold a clear advantage. The crunch of a Lay’s potato chip brings memories of summer camp picnics and Fourth of July celebrations in a way a baked quinoa crisp cannot. Similarly, a dairy-free whipped air concoction is incapable of conjuring the memory of catching the ice-cream truck for a decadent creamy treat. The real question is: how long will this advantage last? Can comfort brands find a way to harness this newly found momentum and turn it into a sustainable strategy forward?

For the companies that missed out on the 2015-2019 developmental surge, forfeiting shelf space to emerging brands with nimble marketing strategies, the post-pandemic nostalgia surge presents a unique opportunity to reclaim lost territory. For those CPG companies seizing the moment, they embody the saying ‘fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me’. Determined not to be fooled twice, these brands are accelerating innovation and pouring resources into R&D and consumer insights to re-establish themselves as industry leaders.

Katie Fellows Named Vice President of Client Services for the Midwest at Curion

Katie Fellows Named Vice President of Client Services for the Midwest at Curion 150 150 Katie Maslanka

Katie Fellows has been promoted from her position as Director of Client Services for the West to the Vice President of Client Services for the Midwest at Chicago based, Curion, the world class consumer insights and sensory company that accelerates client businesses by providing powerful, actionable consumer data for Fortune 500 and other blue-chip companies in the food and beverage, personal care, fine fragrance and home and fabric care industries.

In her new role as VP of Client Services, Katie will be leading strategic consultation for Curion’s Midwest client base in product and marketplace performance. She will also be guiding Curion’s account management and sales teams to meet their revenue targets in the Midwest. Katie’s promotion comes after only eight months with the company, where she worked to design and manage research projects for several of Curion’s largest clients.

Katie has been a sensory & consumer science expert for several leading food & beverage companies for over 15 years. She started her sensory career with Pepsi-Co where she brought her expertise to Tropicana and Gatorade brands. She also worked with KraftHeinz where she managed an internal sensory & consumer science center, helping to conduct strategic market research programs for consumer segmentation, brand health tracking, and product innovation.

Curion CEO, Sean Bisceglia, adds, “Katie’s previous experience at Pepsi and KraftHeinz give her unique insight into the needs of our clients that has helped her successfully grow relationships in the west. It only makes sense to bring her talents to lead our Midwest Team, where she will have the chance to continue meeting and building our clients’ objectives.”

“I believe strongly in Curion’s mission to be disruptors in the industry and drive real value for the clients we support,” says Fellows. “The portfolio of clients in the Midwest is truly impressive,” continues Fellows. “My passion is designing research to have the greatest possible impact on the business. I could not be any more excited to see first-hand how Curion can help each of these clients drive their businesses even further.”

About Curion:
Curion provides world-class quantitative and qualitative product insights. Applying proven industry-leading, innovative methods to service over 65% of Global 100 companies, Curion works with its clients to determine not only what products consumers like, but why they are liked and how. As a result, Curion clients mitigate risk of marketplace failure by ensuring that only products of quality and character will be introduced to the market, providing repeatable delight to their consumers. Curion accomplishes this with its disruptive methods and approaches, sensory processes, facilities and world-class data insights. In 2019 alone, Curion tested 127,000 consumers across its San Francisco, Chicago, Dallas and New York metropolitan-area facilities. The result of a merger between Q Research Solutions and Tragon Corp., Curion brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the consumer science industries.

CONTACT INFORMATION
Lisa Spathis, Lisa Spathis Public Relations, Inc.,
lisaspathis@gmail.com
847. 831.1367

Keren Novack Named President at Curion

Keren Novack Named President at Curion 150 150 Katie Maslanka

We are ecstatic to announce that Keren Novack has been promoted from Vice President of Client Services for the Midwest to President at Chicago based, Curion, the world class consumer insights and sensory company that accelerates client businesses by providing powerful, actionable consumer data for Fortune 500 and other blue-chip companies in the food and beverage, personal care, fine fragrance and home and fabric care industries.

In her new role as President, Novack will be responsible for providing strategic direction for existing client business, as well as Curion’s own operations. She will be leading the company’s regional VP’s to drive revenue, staffing, and client satisfaction.

Keren’s long career at Curion began 11 years ago as a Sensory and Consumer Insights Manager, where she designed and managed research projects for top CPG clients. In her role as VP of Client Services for the Midwest, Keren spearheaded Curion’s account management team to drive and expand innovations in research for the company’s entire Midwest client base. An inspiring, true subject matter expert in the industry, Keren has a strong history of building QDA panels and speaking at events that include Quirks NYC, Quirks Chicago, and Insights NEXT, just to name a few. Her breadth of knowledge spans industries and her portfolio is second to none. Through her immense expertise and established leadership, the team has been able to expand their client portfolio and far surpass revenue targets for the region. We are extremely excited to see how she uses her expertise to innovate and bring clients the solutions they need to meet the ever-changing needs of the industry.

Sean Bisceglia, CEO of Curion, states, “Keren has been bringing agility and innovation to research throughout her 11-year tenure with Curion. She has supported some of the largest CPG brands, bringing robust ideas and methods to the forefront while training team members and growing talent. As we continue our growth into 2021, Keren’s experience will be invaluable in leading the company forward.”

“I have been passionate about this company since the day I started in September 2009,” says Novack. “On that day I saw something special, it lit a spark in me that that is stronger today than it ever was. I have a deep appreciation for our industry, our clients and this organization,” she continues. “In the past two years under Sean’s leadership we have experienced a period of tremendous growth and I’m thrilled to be able to grow my career as President of Curion.”

About Curion:
Curion provides world-class quantitative and qualitative product insights. Applying proven industry-leading, innovative methods to service over 65% of Global 100 companies, Curion works with its clients to determine not only what products consumers like, but why they are liked and how. As a result, Curion clients mitigate risk of marketplace failure by ensuring that only products of quality and character will be introduced to the market, providing repeatable delight to their consumers. Curion accomplishes this with its disruptive methods and approaches, sensory processes, facilities and world-class data insights. In 2019 alone, Curion tested 127,000 consumers across its San Francisco, Chicago, Dallas and New York metropolitan-area facilities. The result of a merger between Q Research Solutions and Tragon Corp., Curion brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the consumer science industries.

CONTACT INFORMATION
Lisa Spathis, Lisa Spathis Public Relations, Inc.,
lisaspathis@gmail.com
847. 831.1367

Curion Acquires PVR Research

Curion Acquires PVR Research 150 150 Katie Maslanka

Curion Acquires PVR Research, expanding to the Southern US

DEERFIELD, Illinois – Curion acquires PVR Research to extend its world class product insights capabilities to expand Curion’s presence into the South. With the support of Monroe Capital, Curion, the leading product insights company announced a new M&A strategy in April of 2020 to focus on expanding its influence and client base. Driven by seasoned CEO, Sean Bisceglia, Curion’s growth approach is off to a strong, strategically-sound start.

Not only does PVR Research offer the geographical diversity to catalyze more robust and comprehensive insights, but the company’s state-of-the-art research facilities and expansive labs provide the perfect launchpad in Atlanta, Georgia. PVR Research leads in world class consumer testing, along with world class professionals uncovering those consumer insights that make the difference between product success or failure.

The integration between the two companies, expands Curion’s consumer insights capabilities beyond sensory science, provides expansive research facilities, commercial kitchen customized for QSR clients, established processes, and a client list to equip Curion with the bandwidth necessary to grow and innovate.

Curion will enter 2021 armed with a new channel to gain clients, more facilities and labs, and a comprehensive national presence. With these tools, Curion can offer even more dynamic and pivotal support to CPG companies navigating the mercurial post-pandemic market.

As the post-pandemic market continues to shift and CPG companies scramble to pivot and innovate, the need to join forces and collaborate with other insight companies will crack open the door for additional acquisition opportunities. Curion’s M&A strategy is just getting started, according to CEO Sean Bisceglia.

“PVR Research is the perfect fit culturally, geographically and quality. With Curion’s long history of expertise in the Food & Beverage category, expansion into QSR is a natural next step. We are looking forward to the doors that this will open as we continue our strategic growth.” – Sean Bisceglia

Bisceglia is no stranger to the world of mergers and acquisitions. As a four-time CEO, he has successfully founded, sold, and acquired companies’ countless times throughout his almost 30-year long career. In addition to Bisceglia’s pioneering spirit, Curion’s drive to grow and expand reflects the ambition of the company’s primary investor, Monroe Capital, a private credit asset management firm known for its proactive acquisition strategy.

“We are excited to be joining a company with such a strong legacy in product research. As world renowned leaders in the industry, they bring expertise to the table that we are excited to leverage. Our specialization in QSR will bring new opportunities to Curion that will set us up for a successful 2021 and beyond.” – Val Cansler

With the PVR acquisition on the horizon and Sean Bisceglia’s steadfast determination to continue Curion’s growth, the future looks bright for this consumer insights company.

About Curion:
Curion provides world-class quantitative and qualitative product insights. Applying proven industry-leading, innovative methods to service over 65% of Global 100 companies, Curion works with its clients to determine not only what products consumers like but why they are liked and how. As a result, Curion clients mitigate the risk of marketplace failure by ensuring that only products of quality and character will be introduced to the market, providing repeatable delight to their consumers. Curion accomplishes this with its disruptive methods and approaches, sensory processes, facilities, and world-class data insights. In 2019 alone, Curion tested 127,000 consumers across its San Francisco, Chicago, Dallas, New York, and Atlanta metropolitan-area facilities.

 

 

CONTACT INFORMATION
Lisa Spathis, Lisa Spathis Public Relations, Inc.,
lisaspathis@gmail.com
847. 831.1367

CFBN Presents Insiders’ View: Acquiring and Being Acquired

CFBN Presents Insiders’ View: Acquiring and Being Acquired 150 150 Katie Maslanka

Last week Curion’s CEO, Sean Bisceglia, along with industry experts from RXBAR, S2G Ventures, C.A. Fortune and Mondelez, explored growth capital, the current acquisition space, and the role that the big brand – small brand relationship development plays.

When it comes to adapting to ever-changing consumer preferences, food and beverage companies often exercise one of these options:

1) Change their ingredients in current products to make them healthier, more innovative, or fitting of a new trend or offering

2) Internally develop new products – with all the R&D, marketing, and innovation budgets and time to do so Or,

3) Acquire or merge with a younger company with their finger already on the new product or channel.

The role of acquisitions in the growth of a big brand and a small brand can often be crucial to their long-term success. But, the relationship between those players – and how they wield that capital and their new relationship over time can be even more important.

Join us for a conversation exploring growth capital, the current acquisition space, and the role that the big brand – small brand relationship development plays during our final Founders Series conversation for 2020.!

The New Worldwide Revolution: Innovation

The New Worldwide Revolution: Innovation 150 150 Katie Maslanka

As consumer needs are evolving at a record pace, CPG companies must be able to follow suit

2020 is year that will go down in history as the start to a new revolution, the Innovation Revolution. COVID-19 has forced every sector of life to pivot and adapt in order to survive. Large scale abstract thinking and creativity are carving out new ways of solving problems. Old processes are being replaced sooner in the development cycle as R&D optimizes to increase companies’ bottom lines. Because consumer priorities have never been more mercurial, organizations must be able and ready to pivot on a moment’s notice.

Industrial Revolutions are a staple in our history. There have been 4 in the last 250 years. The late 1780s brought the ground-breaking hydroelectric and steam-powered mechanical production. World War 1 catalyzed mass assembly of goods using electricity, and the 1960s introduced the first automated production of electronic and IT production. In the last 25 years, the Platform Revolution normalized technology between human and machine. Businesses like Amazon, Uber and Facebook were platforms built with two-sided markets. These types of platforms have revolutionized the way we live, work and play.

CPG companies have to stay ahead of the curve and keep a finger on the consumer’s constantly evolving perspective to survive. Yet the shift of “in-context” from the office, gym, and airport to the home has caused consumer insights to be more difficult than ever to gather, but more vital than ever. Antiquated forms of gathering remote consumer insight can lack authenticity and nuances that reflect the comprehensive data story needed for innovation. While useful, surveys are dependent on the consumer’s honesty and transparency. To provide unfiltered, genuine in-context insights to our clients, we must transform our research techniques to mold seamlessly into the lives of the Innovation Revolution consumer — by innovating ourselves.

To pivot at such a rapid pace, our clients need almost play-by-play insights. To accommodate this, we’ve developed a more robust and authentic strategy for extracting in-context consumer insights through a hybrid model of 70% in-person and 30% digital research. By partnering with a monthly subscription company, we circulated products to consumers to create an in-person experience and recorded reactions digitally. Recent technological advancements also provide opportunities to glean genuine insights from consumers at their homes. Partnering with tools like voice command companies such as Alexa and Siri to ask consumers questions could create more spur-of-the-moment, organic interactions. Zoom and other video-chat apps also hold the potential to generate more unscripted product insights. We’re even entertaining the idea of software that sprays scents in consumers’ homes and records their immediate reactions. Technology is a bridge to consumers the same way remote workers stay connected to their teams — a means to an end that we will capitalize on as much as possible.

Another interesting piece to the innovation revolution is both the opportunity and the threat it poses to companies. As 72% of consumers are open to trying new brands, 54% of consumers are on the hunt for more nutritious alternatives to their go-to products, and 28% of consumers report their snacking habits are changing daily, brands have a chance to gain new customers by aligning themselves with current needs. Companies also can’t rely on customers for brand loyalty and will need to up their game to retain consumers. The strong will survive, the strongest will use this revolution as an opportunity to become trends, and those who withstand the test of time will become legacies.

As terrifying and uncertain as this time is, the innovation revolution presents a way for companies to re-imagine and re-create themselves to better serve the most-pandemic consumer. Change is an inevitable byproduct of revolutions. Companies have two options: to ignore the call to innovate and become obsolete, or embrace it and experience growth. As a consumer insights company, we cannot wait to continue innovating alongside our clients to provide the consumer transparency vital to emerging from this revolution stronger than ever.

Sean Bisceglia of Curion: Five Things You Need To Know To Succeed In The Modern Beauty Industry

Sean Bisceglia of Curion: Five Things You Need To Know To Succeed In The Modern Beauty Industry 150 150 Katie Maslanka

Curion’s CEO, Sean Bisceglia, spoke with Jilea H. from Authority Magazine on purchasing trends, predictions on innovation, and much more within the modern beauty industry. “These days, consumers are switching to a more minimal approach and are making investments in brands they really care about. Brands who want to succeed in the modern beauty industry have to first recognize that and then act accordingly.”

Read More HERE