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A Foodservice Insights Primer

I’ve spent more than thirty years helping organizations draw insights from data and grow their businesses.

While foodservice has always been a relationship-driven business, insights have played an increasingly important role for many organizations. Insights provide both strategic guidance and sales and marketing support. The modern solutions-oriented, consultative sales approach requires insights.

Insights will save time and money. 

A “trial and error” approach is not efficient. Just throwing stuff out there and seeing what works is a sure recipe for 
getting left behind.  Product development without insights can lead to less desirable and less relevant products and product attributes. Strategic planning without insights is like travel without a roadmap. You may think you know what direction to go but are very likely to end up somewhere you did not want to be.

So, how do you use insights to drive your business?

Internally, insights can help you set your company objectives and goals for both short-term and long-term planning. For these purposes, insights are used in the following ways:

• To determine the size of the market available for your products.
• To determine competitors and your competitive advantage.
• To explore new products and new product categories.
• To evaluate and modify your corporate communications and messaging.

Externally, insights can make the sale. Regardless of the size of the category, or the number of products offered, 
insights are necessary to illustrate your value proposition and provide the reasons for purchase. Operators and 
distributors alike need to know how your product fits, and if it will help them make more money.

Insights can…
• Define the target audience – who will buy this item? Where and how often?
• Provide proof of existing customer demand for your products.
• Illustrate the value of your product’s attributes – What consumers or operators consider when purchasing items 
in this category, e.g. health benefits, flavor varieties, packaging benefits, etc.
• Increase your “partner capital” by helping your customers better understand their market and 

Creating an insights-mindset for your organization is critical. It will provide a strong foundation for better strategic 
planning, enable more efficient product development and faster innovation. Finally, insights provide a powerful 
marketing and sales tool as you look to partner with your customers and help provide not only product sales, but 
business solutions.

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