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Optimizing Trends Analytics for a New Era

Today’s food trends based on real sales growth
The need for better performing innovation is growing. Learn why identifying trends via sales growth matters for your business and why traditional trend sources can allow misleading ideas into your innovational funnel, wasting valuable time and money on trends that may be fads in disguise. Data + nuance + rigor = Trend iD™


America's Supermarkets in Transition

The next ten years promise a major re-structuring of the supermarket sector, and elements of that future are already operating today. Trends suggest increasing consumer demand for America’s supermarkets to present themselves to the public much more like specialty food stores…just not priced they typically are.


The Premiumization of Private Label

Two years ago, we examined the long-term growth trends and structure of the private label food marketplace. At the time, we found distinct patterns based on permutations of market share and growth. In this issue, we will revisit those performance segments and see how they have been doing more recently, but we will also ask a more targeted set of questions related to the quiet hope that private label is now ready to premiumize: is private label actually experiencing the post-recession price premiumization that some foretold? If so, why are certain categories exhibiting this phenomenon while others aren’t and how much of this premiumization can be attributed to premiumization of product quality?

What we have found should be inspiring to retailers in general but very concerning to CPG companies, which should be very careful not to assume that, in historically brand-dominated categories, private label is still not a competitive issue.


Working the Product Life Cycle as Portfolio Strategy

For 2016’s first issue of Hartbeat Exec we sift through how the roles of brand and product interact with a brand’s position along the product life cycle. In this issue, a deep understanding of how consumers interpret brand compels a rethinking of portfolio management for long-term success. Additionally, this issue breaks down each segment in the product lifecycle with an analysis of sales performance as well as details on relevant brand and product symbolism.


Strategizing Simple in the Food and Beverage Marketplace

Since 2003, we have counted roughly 62 line extensions of mainstream CPG brands that have
attempted a “simple,” “natural” or otherwise less processed positioning.1 In 2015 alone, we
have seen an uptick in launches from major brands as well as several corporate announcements
regarding systematic, enterprise-wide plans to deprocess their branded food to varying degrees. The latter
tactic is too new for us to analyze its effect on specific brands. But many marketers continue to wonder if
the former tactic, the simple/natural line extension, actually produces a meaningful consumer response.


The Power of Marketing to Restaurant Occasions

This summer's issue of HartBeat Exec reveals the power of occasion-based marketing for the food service industry. To accomplish this, the article a) unveils the Hartman Restaurant Occasion Wheel, which segments restaurant-going behavior into distinct occasions, b) delves into the patterns of four of these occasions and c) explores the implications on QSR and FSR marketing.


HB Exec Q2 2015: Market Dynamics of the New Premium

In this issue of HB Exec, we will focus on furthering a deeper understanding of the burgeoning premium landscape through purposive sampling of categories with very different premium market performance and very different positionings in modern food culture.


Hartbeat EXEC Q1 2015: U.S. Packaged Food at a Crossroads

To start off 2015, this issue of Hartbeat Exec constructs a product-focused lens to view food and beverage markets. The analysis presented: a) elaborates the crucial nature of product within a marketing mix, b) lays out a consumer-view driven competitive landscape, and c) explores how marketers and portfolio managers can rethink their brands’ cultural placement for sustainable natural growth.


Hartbeat Exec Q4 2014: Trend or Fad?

In this issue of HB Exec, we systematically deconstruct the question that forms the title of this issue to arrive at a new perspective on how to study trends and how to activate against trends information inside CPG organizations. We will explore: a) a literal answer to the question of how today’s marketers can distinguish between fads and trends in modern food culture, b) the ultimate business issues behind this perennial question, and c) how marketers can begin to let go of forecasting/ predicting and think more like venture capitalists.


The New Premium Marketplace in American Food Culture

In this quarter’s issue of Hartbeat EXEC, we: a) describe the new premium marketplace that is upending the competitive structure of more and more categories, b) uncover the key cultural factors that predispose specific categories to developing new premium growth segments, and c) point to some underdeveloped categories poised to undergo this radical transition from a mere commodity to highly profitable, business opportunities.


The Future of E-Commerce in Modern Food Culture

Hartbeat Exec Q2 2014 report: The Future of E-Commerce in Modern Food Culture


The Future of Private Label Food

This issue of Hartbeat Exec explores the category-specific dynamics of private label. It also dives into how culture explains these dynamics, as well as uncertainties that have the power to change the relationship between private label and brand.


The Curious Role of Brand in the Food Product Life Cycle

Hartbeat EXEC Volume 3, Issue 4 The Curious Role of Brand in the Food Product Life Cycle "What are some important, emerging brands affecting my category?" This is a question that clients occasionally ask us in initial conversations...


Reimagining the American Supermarket for a New Era in Food Culture

“Reimagining the American Supermarket for a New Era in Food Culture”


Riding the Killer Curves of Food Innovation

A look into how America's most successful packaged food launches have fared over the long term. Have they sustained their initial Y1 scale over time? While the majority of top food launches from 2003-2007 are for sale, only 1/3 are larger than in Y1, none are both larger and growing, and the majority are in decline.


Post-Modern Strategies for Growth in the U.S. Market

Post-modern strategies for growth in the U.S. market


A Cultural Approach to Food Quality for a New Era

The demand-side risks food R&D faces today are ultimately cultural forces, not forces of misinformation easily countered with opposing information.


Beyond Ethnic Marketing

Clearly, it is not just Hispanics who are embracing new kinds of packaged foods (i.e., buying legacy American brands in response to Hispanic target marketing). Americans of all backgrounds are de-linking themselves from the exclusivity of their inherited food traditions and incorporating a broader array of flavors and food experiences than ever before. The young and highly educated are leading the way, wandering ever farther from culinary home.


Cracking the BRIC: Divergent Food Cultures in Emerging Markets

In this issue of Hartbeat Exec, we explore the power of traditional food cultures to create different historical trajectories for packaged food categories by focusing on the epitome of industrial packaged food: the convenience meal.2 Whether it is the ramen noodle bowl for one or the multi-component frozen tray meals eaten for dinner by American baby boomers, the idea of replacing all meal preparation with a cheap, industrial solution has captivated industry leaders and marketers for decades. It has also created billions of dollars of revenue for modern food companies.


The Third Grocery Sector

Discover how the emerging refrigerated packaged food sector is re–defining quality by blending the best of center store convenience with restaurant quality.