Social Listening for Product Innovation

From adaptogenic herbal teas to edible insect snacks and probiotic ice cream, the food and drink industry is never short on new and innovative products. But how do brands stay ahead of the game and meet the constant demand for fresh ideas? Today’s blog explores the power of Social Listening in staying on top of trends, understanding the target market, and driving successful New Product Development (NPD) in the constantly evolving food and drink industry.

What is Social Listening

Social listening refers to the process of monitoring and analysing online conversations and interactions across various social media platforms. It enables food and drink brands to gather valuable insights about their target audience and their preferences, behaviours, and opinions. Social listening data can be used in various ways, including identifying key trends, understanding consumer needs and preferences, and measuring the impact of marketing campaigns.

Idea Generation

The process of NPD involves a series of steps, from concept generation and idea screening to market testing and commercialisation. During this stage, social listening data can play a crucial role in providing insights into consumer needs and preferences. For example, food and drink brands can use social listening tools to monitor conversations related to specific product categories, such as plant-based foods or functional beverages. This can provide valuable insights into consumer demand for these products, helping brands make informed decisions about which ideas to pursue further.

Online Conversation Heats Up Over new Diet Coke Cocktail as Aperol Spritz Substitute. Alcoholic drinks mentions on Twitter, UK only, (Jan 22- Jan 23).

Idea Evaluation

Once the ideas have been generated, they are screened and evaluated to determine their feasibility and potential for success. This is where social listening data can help to identify potential roadblocks, such as consumer concerns or objections to specific ingredients or product features. This information can be used to make adjustments to the product concept before it moves on to the next stage of the NPD process.

Market Testing

The next step in the NPD process is market testing, where a prototype of the product is tested with a small group of consumers to gather feedback and refine the product. Social listening data can be used to identify potential product improvements and areas of consumer concern, which can then be addressed before the product is commercialised. For example, food and drink brands can monitor conversations related to taste, packaging, and labelling to gain insight into what consumers are looking for in a new product.

Non-alcoholic drinks mentions Sentiment (Oct 2021-Oct 2022), UK only. The quality and taste of non-alcoholic drinks are generating positive reactions, with 24% and 23% of comments being favourable. However, the smell of these drinks has mixed reviews, with 29% of comments being negative and 25% positive.

Measuring Success

Finally, once the product is commercialised, social listening data can be used to measure its impact and track its success in the market. Food and drink brands can monitor conversations related to the product, track its popularity, and measure the impact of marketing campaigns. This information can be used to make product improvements and inform future NPD decisions.

Eco-Friendly PG Tips Teabags Spark Online Discussion Over Their Quality. Brandwatch data, Tea and Coffee Conversation, Jan 22-Jan 23, UK only

Social listening and social listening data are powerful tools that can help food and drink brands succeed in the competitive world of NPD. By providing valuable insights into consumer needs, preferences, and behaviours, food and drink brands can make informed decisions about which ideas to pursue, how to refine their products, and how to measure their success in the market. Maximise your social listening potential: contact us today to always stay ahead of trends.

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