Our client, a multinational food, beverage, and snack company, wanted to maximize the use of digital analytics to unlock a deeper understanding of consumers in Southeast Asia. To do so, they sought to explore social media and search data to understand consumer behavior and analyze the current and emerging trends in the snacking category. Their goal was to use consumer-driven insights to expand their portfolio, as well as innovate on new segments and flavors.

Using consumer-generated social data from pre- and post-COVID, as well as search data from Google Trends, the Ipsos Social Intelligence Analytics team presented a comprehensive understanding of what snacking means to consumers, and how it has evolved over the years. Using Synthesio’s AI-enabled consumer intelligence platform, we dove into macro and micro trends that impact the snacking category then, now, and in the future. Our analysis served as a view into the needs associated with snacking, and the commercial opportunities that our client could tap into.

First Phase: Social Exploration

We first collected the “data universe” for the snacking category from pre-COVID to post-COVID. These spanned several topics such as fruits, chocolates, ice-cream, biscuits, etc. We collected millions of data points (which is not surprising, everybody snacks!).

To make sense of the massive amount of data, we engaged our Advanced Analytics and Data Science team to sieve through the data and detect the “unknown unknowns” with a bottom-up approach – this helped with detecting macro and micro signals that the human eye could have missed. While that was on-going, our team of researchers also explored the data to detect any themes that our machine learning could have missed. By the end of this phase, we had spotted and defined the snacking trend ecosystem.

Second Phase: Search Exploration

After identifying some trends in the snacking space with social data, we wanted to combine this information with search behaviors. We can gauge interest in a particular topic using search data; it offers an insightful window into what users are interested in and how people respond to specific topics. We can also track interest in a topic over time, and find out what else people search for in connection with a particular topic.

At the end of this phase, we had two sets of data for each trend: Social and Search. This allowed us to track each trend’s evolution over time. In essence, we were now able to observe the level of interest in a trend, particularly how consumers discussed it on social media and how they searched for it.

Third Phase: Foresight and Velocity Mapping

Using AI and Data Science modeling (more specifically, time series models), we predicted the future impact of each trend. We also benchmarked trends from social conversations and search signals based on their likelihood to grow. With this, we mapped each trend’s maturity and velocity.

Final Phase: Storytelling

Now that we had a quantitative understanding of the trends, their volumes, search behaviors, and future impact, we conducted qualitative immersion into each trend to help us understand the “why” behind the “what.” We conducted in-depth research and analysis to uncover the motivations, usages, and habits driving the trend, as well as what our client could do to shape and adapt to the future. This study revealed profound insights into several snacking trends, like how the pandemic influenced consumer demand for healthier, immunity-boosting ingredients. We also observed consumers’ preference for indulgent experiences at home in light of dining restrictions at restaurants. And the most exciting part: with this deeper understanding of the category – and the top emerging trends – our client was able to apply our findings to new product innovations.

Want to learn more about how Ipsos and Synthesio can help you track consumer behavior and anticipate trends? Request a demo with our team by clicking here.