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Understanding shifting trends and the power of curiosity

In a recent talk to the agency, LGA client and Snyders-Lance CMO Rod Troni outlined how the company leans heavily on curiosity to meet the evolving needs and opportunities of the snack food market.

“Consumers want to snack better, so we give them better snacks,” said Rod, who oversees a $2.5 billion portfolio of brands that makes Snyders-Lance No. 2 in the category. “Better ingredients, better taste…we go beyond asking what they’re looking for to understanding what’s really driving those desires.”

Rod says changing demographics are having a dramatic impact on how consumers think about and make decisions related to food. Among the trends he cited:

  • Almost 30 percent of U.S. households are single households, and 51 percent of Americans eat alone most of the time.
  • 60 percent of food decisions are made within one hour of consumption, and 10 percent of food will be bought online (or via mobile device) within the next 10 years.

Interpreting this data into actionable ideas starts with having the right organizational mindset, or as Rod says, valuing character over culture.

“You build character, whereas you try to fit into a culture,” said Rod, a native of Chile whose resume includes work around the globe. We want our people to be curious, to be hungry, because that hunger creates positive energy and leads to great insights and ideas.”

He cites the company’s sustainability efforts as an example of how Snyders-Lance is addressing the wants and needs of its customers by digging deeper to understand how to best make a meaningful connection.

“The recent presidential election was proof that we live in a culture of soundbites, which people are growing weary of,” Rod said. “So instead of just talking at consumers, we showcase our commitment to the environment and better ingredients by telling stories. That allows us to build trust with our audience, which is increasingly important with groups like millennials who place tremendous value on authenticity.”


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