Clif Bar & Company Uses Data to Lead Better-for-You and Better-for-the-Environment Product Development

Editor’s Note: The below case study from Mintel makes for the second entry in GreenBook’s Insights That Work: 2021 Edition series. Insights That Works presents real-life case studies that feature market research professionals countering problems faced by a diverse group of major companies. These solutions yield a series of fascinating and informative outcomes. Each case study demonstrates that, no matter how complex the circumstance, the power of insights-driven approaches.


Challenge

US-based Clif Bar & Company are well known in the health, functional food and snack space. Aiming for global expansion in Snack Bars and grounded in a desire to reinforce, expand and extend their “better- for-you” and “better for the planet” brand position, Clif needed to understand a few things: What trending claims could lead their product development, the potential opportunity to grow their business both within and beyond their core geography, how much their buyer cares about specific claims, and the right way to communicate their brand values at the product level.

Solution

Utilizing their relationship with market intelligence partner Mintel, Clif engaged the Mintel Consulting group to find the specific answers they needed. Mintel Consulting designed a data science and analytics project to define and quantify the vectors in product claims related to better-for-you and better-for-the- environment in the US and globally.

This analysis identified the main- streaming and emerging benefits that became the recommended focus of product innovation and marketing for Clif Bar.

Methodology

Foundational analysis using Mintel’s Global New Product Database (GNPD) allowed Mintel Consulting’s data science and analytics team to study comprehen- sive, structured snack bar product data from 86 countries.

Two proprietary statistical models were applied to that data:

  • Market Prevalence Index (MPI), a score indicating how prevalent a claim is relative to other claims available in the analysis
  • Momentum Score (MS), a score indicating how consistently a claim’s prevalence index has been increasing or decreasing in the market with recent years weighted more heavily

With this, Mintel strategists identified product claims and attributes that are mainstreaming, emerging, niche, etc., and advised Clif on where they can fit in and stand out on the shelf. The vastness of the data set and the reliability of the modeling provides statistical confidence that certain patterns will continue.

The next step was to determine the perception or value of these claims with consumers. Mintel Consulting tapped into Mintel’s syndicated consumer research and found nearly half of US adults care strongly about climate change, and this proportion is growing significantly each year. Consumers are continuing to educate themselves about climate change, and they are becoming better at knowing which manufacturers are actually driving change and creating a better world for their communities.

Outcome

Today, Clif Bar is using Mintel’s data-backed analysis, recommendations, and global perspective to develop and extend their US initiatives and adapt them for global markets. As the implications of climate change become clearer, it is imperative that companies find ways to make their supply chain and business practices environmentally sustainable. Mintel expects sustainability will eventually be an expectation of all businesses. With Clif already squarely in this space, Mintel Consulting’s work focused on helping them lead and differentiate into the future.

“A primary conclusion of our analysis is that environmental claims will continue to increase in relevance in the US and globally,” explained Carl Fritscher, Mintel Consulting Principal. “Our strategists combined the findings with the consumer sentiment to pinpoint a recommendation for specific claims to be the focus for Clif Bar. And, because Mintel has a lens on products and consumers around the world, we were able to bring that to life with product examples and best practices from around the world and provide a context for how to take action in different markets.”

For the food industry, sustainability, and environmental issues are existential. The Clif Bar & Company prioritizes investments in product development and distribution that will enable their brands to delight consumers, grow the business, and help create a healthier, more just, and sustainable food system.

About this case study

Business issue:

  • Revitalize market
  • Gain new customers
  • Multinational branding
  • Increase awareness

Client organization:

Guided by Five Aspirations – Sustaining our People, our Business, our Brands, our Community, and the Planet – Clif Bar is a
family- and employee-owned company that loves food. Clif Bar believes that food provides health, joy, and energy to do the things we are passionate about. The food we create is good for people and the planet.

Client industry: Food

Project year: 2021

Header Image: Andrew Coelho, Unsplash

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