Granola Bar Shoppers

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Part
01

Granola Bar Shoppers

Three effective approaches for marketing granola bars in the US are in-store marketing, offering free samples, and using intuitive packaging to create a good first impression.


1. MULTIPLE IN-STORE SITES

  • Comedy Snacks Today reports that featuring a product in multiple locations throughout a store is an effective marketing tactic when it comes to boosting the sales of granola bars.
  • Senior Director Gavin Bowyer of Kellogg and Senior Marketing Manager Kate Burton of General Mills Nature Valley also have found that multiple facings throughout a store can boost the sales of granola bars.
  • Bowyer suggests placing granola bars near entryways, beverages, and check-outs "where shoppers gravitate" because customers often purchase granola bars to satisfy their immediate hunger or need for energy.
  • Burton agrees with the effectiveness of this tactic. According to Burton, when purchasing granola bars, consumers want convenience.

METRICS OF SUCCESS
  • Kellogg experienced consistent growth in their granola bar category, which pulled in a profit, despite the company struggling to perform well on an overall basis.
  • General Mills Nature Valley continues to be a key player in the US granola bar market. They have sold the highest number of granola bars in the US with sales reaching $367.8 million in 2017.


2. FREE SAMPLES

  • The best marketing tactic for any new bar entering the US market is free samples.
  • Kind Bars has been using this tactic. In fact, in 2014, they spent upwards of $10 million to fuel their ability to give out free samples
  • Kind hired a full-time field marketing team in 25 US markets to organize sampling in stores and other locations.

METRICS OF SUCCESS
  • Kind Healthy Granola Bars ranked the sixth out of the top 10 most-selling Granola Bar brands of the United States in 2017 with a sales of $88.3 million.


3. EFFECTIVE FIRST IMPRESSIONS THROUGH PACKAGING

  • Studies show that 70% of consumers make their choice of daily commodities in stores and 90% make a purchase only after examining the packaging.
  • Therefore, it is important for the food companies to create packaging that can "inform, persuade, and remind consumers that their respective products are better than those of other brands."
  • Kate Burton of Nature Valley also confirmed this tactic, mentioning that their brand uses packaging to communicate details about flavor, ingredients, and tastes with their customers.
  • Joe Silverman, Sr. Marketing Director at Quaker Foods North America (maker of the Quaker Chewy bar) also stresses the use of intuitive packaging as a marketing tactic.
  • According to Silverman, packaging plays an important role. Nutrition-conscious consumers prefer transparent wrappers that highlight a product's ingredients.

METRICS OF SUCCESS
  • In 2017, Quaker Chewy ranked seventh in sales out of the leading granola bars in the US. The brand witnessed a sales of $83.7 million.
  • Quaker Chewy, which partnered with Disney Pixar’s film Finding Dory, offered coupons for the film on its packaging. Combined with in-store displays and packaging takeovers, the company received over 100,000 redemptions and an increase in sales.


RESEARCH STRATEGY

We began this research by looking into key US players in the granola market such as General Mills Nature Valley, Quaker Chewy, and Kind Bar. Next, we looked into the press releases from these companies to find out whether they were attributing their spike in sales with any in-store marketing tactic or messaging. Although there were a few releases related to these companies' the marketing initiatives, there was hardly any information specifically about the unit sales of these products and whether they were a result of specific marketing tactics.

As a second approach, we looked through business journals and scholarly reports in sources such as Academia, Researchgate, and TandFonline, which often provide detailed analyses of successful marketing tactics for particular products. We also referred to websites such as HBR and Brookings, which publish business case studies that focus on the effectiveness of marketing strategies. We also looked into sources such as McKinsey, BCG, Nielsen, and Euromonitor to find out whether they had done any analysis on the effectiveness of marketing tactics about granola bars in the US. While each of these sources mentions strategies that were employed by granola bar companies, the strategies do not correspond with a spike in sales. This may be because companies like General Mills and Kellog's do not provide metrics like these for specific products.

Finally, we looked into sources that offer details relating to the effectiveness of advertising and marketing campaigns such as AdWeek and Marketingweek. Though these sources often contained examples of a marketing campaign, they were focused on TV, print, and other far-reaching forms of advertising. We also found an example of a market analysis that measured a strategy's effectiveness. However, it could not be applied to other brands as the messaging was specific to that brand.

Due to these limitations and challenges, the effectiveness of these tactics could not be measured across the entire granola bar market. We arranged the marketing tactics by the marketing strategy being applied.
Sources
Sources

Quotes
  • "It is key for food companies to create persuasive and visually aesthetic packaging designs because “more than 70% of consumers make their choice of daily commodities in-store, 85% purchase without having picked up any alternative item and 90% make a purchase after only examining the front of the packaging and without having the product in the hand"
  • "Therefore, food companies need to “employ packaging to inform, persuade, and remind consumers that their respective products are better than those of other brands” to benefit their company’s profitability, customer loyalty, and brand identity"
Quotes
  • "Nature Valley remains the anchor brand in the snack bar category and continues to be a leading granola bar in the U.S. But now the brand has global appeal, as does the concept of snack bars. Snack bars across the General Mills portfolio are becoming a key driver of our overall retail sales in North America, Europe and Australia."
  • "Today snack bars make up a $1.7 billion global business for General Mills, and we’ve seen a three percent compound annual growth rate over the last two years."
Quotes
  • "As a company, Kellogg is still struggling, but growth in the bar category has been a consistent bright spot — and is helping pull the company toward greater sales growth."
Quotes
  • "To bring families some swimmingly good summer fun, Quaker Chewy partnered with Disney Pixar’s summer blockbuster, Finding Dory. With just a purchase of Quaker Chewy, families could receive saving off movie tickets. With packaging takeovers, in-store displays and a microsite, we had over 100,000 redemptions and increased sales."
Quotes
  • "Still, there’s no question that capital is king for any new bar entering the category. One reason: the best marketing is the free handout—and “free” is an expensive strategy. "
Quotes
  • "Today, Kind spends upwards of $10 million in efforts to get people to try Kind bars. The company has a full-time field marketing team in 25 U.S. markets that organizes sampling in stores, sponsoring sporting events, taking free samples into corporate offices and putting them in gift bags at company events."