We recently had the pleasure of speaking with our customer Chobani during both the Quirk’s Event in New York City and the TMRE @ Home virtual conference, where they presented one (well, actually three) of the most compelling case studies for the efficacy of open ends in insights.
First, while many (including myself) would initially think of Chobani as a yogurt brand, over the last two years they’ve expanded across six dairy categories, including oak milk, creamers, and probiotics. Additionally, they’ve expanded their distribution to include not just traditional retail and convenience markets, but also restaurants, bars, hospitality, and commercial channels. Chobani dubs itself a “Modern Food Company.” Supporting this dynamic growth and channel expansion is Chobani’s “small but mighty” in-house insights team, which operates across three pillars: Platform & Innovation, Shopper & Pricing, and Marketing & Media research.
Given the company’s category growth and channel expansion, coupled with the “dynamic” (if not confusing) state of the post-pandemic consumer landscape, to say Chobani’s insights team has a lot on the docket is an understatement. The team not only serves as the “voice of the customer” within Chobani but is often partnering with their channel partners to deliver category insights and thought leadership. Three examples from work within the Shopper & Pricing pillar not only show off the capabilities of Chobani’s insights team, but also the unique value that open-ended questions delivered (with a little help from Canvs AI):
National Retailer Shopping Experience: One study was conducted in partnership with a national retailer on the dairy aisle. The quantitative data revealed that 94% of respondents had a positive view of the shopping experience. However, analysis of the open-ended questions revealed a more nuanced picture. Based on responses to the question “How could the yogurt aisle be improved?”, consumers indicated a greater variety of flavors, modified signage, better organization on shelves, improved promotion, and improvements related to expiration or out-of-stock issues. Open ends revealed insights that would have otherwise been missed based on the overall positive rating from the quantitative questions!
Dream Smoothie. To help a fast-casual restaurant partner with menu innovation, Chobani asked respondents to describe their “dream smoothie.” The team utilized an open-ended question to capture respondents’ preferences, sparking creativity, while avoiding survey bias. Using Canvs, Chobani was able to quantify the comments to identify top flavor and flavor combinations, identifying two key “themes” for smoothie flavors: Fruit-Forward and Functional Additives. Additionally, the Canvs Highlights tool immediately identified important demographic trends. For instance, households with children mentioned chocolate 4.3x more than other groups. Additionally, using Canvs’ robust emotion analysis capabilities, the Chobani team was able to measure the emotional sentiment of smoothie flavors. Some ingredients resulted in extreme feelings in either direction.
Inflation & yogurt “pack type” selection. With inflation increasingly in the news, the Chobani team wanted to provide thought leadership for its retail partners regarding the potential impact on pack type selection (i.e. single-serve vs. multi-serve tub vs. multi-pack). Using an open-ended question allowed the Chobani team to maintain an unbiased research methodology (i.e. not “leading” the respondent based on predefined answer choices), asking consumers what would make them switch formats. Analyzing the open ends revealed the surprising finding that flavor remained the most important factor in consumers’ selection, with pricing second.
I love how these examples show off the “core” insights that can be gleaned from open-ended questions. Chobani Consumer Insights Manager Maddie Fitzpatrick said it best in a video we recorded at Chobani’s NYC headquarters:
“Canvs allows us to unlock insights that would have been previously inaccessible for our team.”
Of course, I don’t really do full justice to the work of Chobani’s insights team. Check out the video below to hear Maddie discuss the benefits of using Canvs, or check out the full video over on our resources page.