Tag Archives: product life cycle

New Products for Snacks and More

It seems as if there is a proliferation of new food products hitting the market this spring. In just one week recently we found a number of new food products from Pillsbury, Kind, and Target. What’s going on? Are consumers hungrier than usual, or are they just hungry for change?

Well, it’s a little of both. Yes, consumers are hungry, but we are now at the one-year point in the Covid-19 pandemic and consumers have also made changes to their eating, cooking, and shopping habits. We eat out less and snack more.

In Target’s case, it is launching a new grocery brand named “Favorite Day” with more than 700 snacks and treats that are focused on consumers who want to indulge. The new line includes cookies, trail mix, ice cream, snacks, beverage mixers, frozen desserts, and more. Target’s research indicates that customers want to treat themselves as they juggle hectic schedules and stress. (The new Favorite Day private-label store brand replaces Archer Farms and Simply Balanced which generated more than $2 billion in sales last year.)

Pillsbury is launching its first-ever ready-to-eat cookies, after years of successfully selling frozen cookie dough. Why the switch to pre-made? Pillsbury’s research shows that consumers are tired of constantly cooking and cleaning and are looking for convenience and shortcuts in the kitchen. Pre-pandemic, the pre-made cookie category was only a single-digit growth market. But now the category has grown in sales by roughly 12% in the past year.

In Kind’s situation, the company has a new frozen smoothie bowl for breakfasts. Smoothie bowels have spiked in popularity, including new kitchen appliances focused on smoothies. And, when a year ago consumers might have eaten a breakfast at a restaurant, there has been a sharp decline in eating breakfast out and instead consumers have turned to granola, cereal, eggs, bagels, fruit, and pancakes. According to research company IRI, frozen breakfast foods increased by 7% last year to $3.7 billion.

Try them out. Will they make it into your regular shopping rotation?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. This is a great example of introducing new products.
  2. Show Target’s new products: https://www.target.com/b/favorite-day/-/N-q643lewlzpu?lnk=snav_rd_favorite_day
  3. Show Pillsbury’s new cookies: https://www.pillsbury.com/products/already-baked-snacks/soft-baked-cookies/soft-baked-butterscotch-chocolate-chip-cookies
  4. View Kind snacks: https://www.kindsnacks.com/
  5. Discuss the steps of the product innovation process.
  6. Discuss the importance of environmental scanning. What are some of the factors that have led these companies to introduce new products?
  7. Finally, use these examples to discuss the various stages of the product life cycle. What are the marketing objectives in each stage?

Source: AdWeek; CNN News; Minneapolis Star Tribune; other news sources.

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The Brief Life of Quibi

Did you ever use Quibi? Do you even know what service Quibi provides? If your answer is “no” to either of these questions, then you are likely among one of the many reasons the video service shut down after only six months.

Quibi was developed as a streaming video app from Hollywood studio executives and offered entertainment and news in 5-10 minute lengths. It launched in April 2020 with the intent on challenging the streaming players. Quibi (which stands for “quick bites”) was designed for short viewing times in the “in-between moments” of life.

While the pandemic caused a number of issues for the company (since we were all now at home with devices, instead of on the move), it was only one of a series of missteps. Viewers couldn’t connect Quibi to their at-home TV, could not share programming, and had limited videos from which to choose. Quibi also had a lot of competition, including free services from YouTube and other platforms. Advertisers were also underwhelmed and experienced difficulties.

Although the app was downloaded an estimated 9.6 million times, and an estimated 90% of viewers left after the free trial period. The monthly service cost $4.99/month with included ads, or $7.99/month without ads. That’s not a bad price, but viewers saw it as one more monthly service to add on top of current streaming services from Amazon, Netflix, Apple, Disney+, and more.

Bye, Quibi.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: Who knows what Quibi did? Who used the service? Who subscribed beyond the free trial?
  2. Show Quibi’s site (it may not last long): https://quibi.com/
  3. News video of Quibi’s demise: https://youtu.be/tEfx_MxEXq4
  4. Discuss the components of an environmental scan: technology, social, competition, regulatory, and economic factors.
  5. Divide students into team. Have each team do a brief analysis of Quibi and the environment and develop a SWOT analysis.
  6. Discuss the stages in the product life cycle.
  7. Draw a product life cycle on the board and discuss the stages and marketing objective. What did Quibi’s PLC look like?

Source: AdWeek; New York Times; The Verge; Wall Street Journal; other news sources

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Cheetos Spices Up Mac and Cheese!

Cheetos have long been a favorite snack food in America, but it has a fairly limited menu application. Or so one might have thought. After all, it’s just a snack food, right? Wrong! Cheetos is one of many companies responding to changing consumer behavior patterns brought about the coronavirus pandemic. In this case, the product is in response to a rise in home cooking and the desire for comfort foods. PepsiCo’s new product combines these two desires into “Cheetos Mac ‘N Cheese.” The new product is packaged in boxes and cups and is available in three powerful flavors: Bold & Cheesy, Flamin’ Hot, and Cheesy Jalapeno.

Cheetos Mac ‘N Cheese was already in development prior to the pandemic and was scheduled to be released in 2020. However, the company moved at an accelerated pace once consumer patterns shifted due to the pandemic.

The branding even extends to the shape of the curling pasta noodle, which mimics the corkscrew-shaped tail of brand mascot Chester the cheetah. Currently, the new food is only available from Walmart, but a national retail roll-out is anticipated in 2021. PepsiCo plans to promote the new product using multiple marketing channels including shopper marketing (in store), and strong social media.

Anyone hungry for some spicy mac and cheese?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: Who eats Cheetos? Who eats Mac and Cheese? Which brands?
  2. Show the Web site: https://www.cheetos.com/products/cheetos-mac-n-cheese-bold-cheesy
  3. Show a video of the new product: https://youtu.be/tcYk6tZ3zeI
  4. Does this new food change the positioning of Cheetos in the product life cycle?
  5. How does Cheetos Mac and Cheese compare with other companies?
  1. Build a product positioning map for mac and cheese dinners and show the competition.
  2. How should Cheetos promote its new product?

Source:  Ad Week

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