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Trends emerge and evolve at lightning speed in today’s culture — and your product offerings must be nimble enough to follow suit. But how often do you actually have the time to search for insights that holistically inform your business questions?

Companies across the food and beverage industry know this challenge all too well. You find yourself (or worse yet, your boss) asking a question that may seem simple on paper but requires a multifaceted answer. You’re juggling limited resources and need to move quickly to stay ahead of the competition.

At The Hartman Group, we believe that a strategic consulting-caliber budget shouldn’t be a prerequisite for meaningful insights — which is exactly why we developed Knowledge Discoveries. These engagements offer an efficient and cost-effective way to synthesize all applicable information from our deep well of existing research on a given topical area, consumer segment, eating occasion or category landscape. Armed with our unique POV and broad implications, your team can use these insights as a launch pad for specific activations that meet your business objectives.

Case study: understanding Gen Z

Back in 2022, a large frozen foods processor was given a new strategic priority to expand their consumer base by reaching the Gen Z consumer. But first, they needed a better understanding of who this generation really is; what their attitudes, aspirations and behaviors are around a variety of topics that impact their food choices. Plus, the team needed these insights quickly — there was no time or budget for conducting intensive primary research.

A Hartman Group Knowledge Discovery was the logical solution. To better understand the enigma that is Gen Z, we drew upon multiple trended syndicated research studies as well as ten years’ worth of data from The Hartman Group Compass Eating Occasions Database.

We discerned Gen Z’s unique worldview: these consumers began entering adulthood during a global pandemic after being raised “digitally native” amid unprecedented technological advancement and global connection. This, combined with their status as the most racially and ethnically diverse generation in US history, gives Gen Z a unique take on identity that profoundly impacts how they engage with brands and consumer products.

We explored their food values, including the importance placed on fresh, less processed foods and beverages; better methods of production, including both environmentally and socially responsible practices; and a delicate balance between exploration and appreciating well-established favorites. We also examined their approaches to eating and food sourcing: how these consumers plan and cook; whether they lean towards meals or snacking; how they shop and where foodservice fits into their lives; plus a deep dive into category-specific eating occasions.

All of these rich insights helped us arrive at several key implications that the innovation team could confidently use as a foundation for developing specific product offerings and communication strategies that will resonate with Gen Z consumers.

A solid foundation for future discovery

Knowledge Discoveries offer a perfect introduction to The Hartman Group’s unique perspective on food and beverage culture. This is especially true if your organization is considering embarking on more intensive custom research that may require additional inputs (like key informant perspectives, consumer feedback and more). The foundational hypotheses uncovered during a Knowledge Discovery can be tested and confirmed by diving deeper and applying the findings through the specific lens of your business.

We also know there are times when questions come up so frequently that a per-project approach doesn’t make sense for your business. A Hartman Retainer Services engagement offers the flexibility to engage our team of consumer culture experts on a more consistent basis and can be customized to fit your budget.

So, what questions have you been chewing on?

Explore the slides below to learn more about Hartman Group Knowledge Discoveries, or connect with Shelley Balanko, SVP of Business Development, to discuss your specific project needs: shelley@hartman-group.com

Hartman Group Knowledge Discoveries