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Co-creation and decision making in the freezer aisle

A CPG product manager approached dscout with a conundrum: Americans are eating healthier but cooking less. How can their brand capitalize on the changing attitudes of new dinner decision makers and what do new buyers want to eat? 

The TV dinner is a staple of American cuisine and, with the decline of home cooking, it seems like the freezer Aisle is on the come-up.

However, there is a second cultural shift at play: health conscious eating. Americans are eating more kale and less hamburgers

As a product manager at a national CPG company, those two changes can make your head spin. How do you know what these new health conscious shoppers want out of highly preserved frozen dishes? 

When approached with this problem, dscout research advisors suggested a discovery and co-creation project that would capture why shoppers are buying, how they feel about the meal and then what they wish they could have eaten instead.

Over the course of a weekend, the client had 27 scouts, who identified as people who care deeply about their personal health and their diet, go to the grocery store and buy two frozen meals for us: one that was “Healthy” and one that was “Traditional”.

Benny C - 35 from New York treats his healthy purchases like a math problem. It’s important to know exactly what is going in even if you aren’t sure what everything is.

Michael B - 32 from Illinois buys traditional meals because they evoke a nostalgiac response. This is what he eats to remind him of the past. Health doesn’t matter when you buy with emotion.

While many studies would end there, already with a ton of information on buying behaviors and purchase drivers, this study then asked scouts to sit down and show us what makes a great frozen meal. 

Melissa K - 41 from Illinois wants her frozen meals to match her healthy lifestyle. Even the healthy meals out there are too full of carbs, and she is willing to pay more to see bigger portions of vegetables represented in her high fiber dish. 

Obviously there is a lot to learn about the modern shifts in CPG purchases, but using a tool like dscout can get you in the room with the buyers faster than ever. Using dscout, this study went from conception to new consumer insights in just one week.

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