Making a Vegetable Mega-Brand

What do you do when you want to make a megabrand out of a sleepy old canned vegetable business? Call in The Seidewitz Group.

It had been more than 20 years since the canned vegetable business at this multinational food giant had a new product that generated more than $25 million in sales. But management wanted growth. And they wanted it fast.

Two consulting firms were brought in. Both focused on category adjacencies and product-based brainstorming to generate new product ideas. And in quantitative volumetric forecast testing, ideas from both firms flopped. So the business decided to try something different: The Seidewitz Group’s contextual approach to product innovation.

The Seidewitz Group began with Visual Laddering™ and Ethnographic Laddering™ research to identify consumers’ deep-rooted explicit, implicit and emotional needs. The Seidewitz Group then developed a NeedsMap™, from which five “buckets” of key consumer needs were identified.

These needs buckets—rather than adjacencies or product attributes—served as the foundation for new product idea generation. Facilitated sessions with consumers and internal personnel focused on finding new ways to meet the needs described in these buckets. This was followed by quantitative filtering of new product ideas and development of full marketing concepts.

Finally, nine new product ideas were placed into full quantitative concept testing. The results were surprising even to The Seidewitz Group. Every concept ranked in the top quintile of the company’s concept database. In volumetric forecasting, two ideas exceeded the $25 million volume goal and one exceeded $50 million. The company had its pipeline of new product ideas and was on its way to creating the next mega-brand in the grocery business.