Consumer Planning Program: How to Better Understand Your Customer

On this episode of On Foodable Weekly, we talk to some of the instrumental players in creating IFMA’s Consumer Planning Program. The Consumer Planning Program, or CPP, was a collaboration between IFMA and Datassential to dive deeper into the consumer mindset and find out why consumers pick a food-service venue, how those decisions are made and what manufacturers (and operators) can do to influence those decisions.

CPP began in 2012 when IFMA realized they were not as in touch with the consumer as they wanted to be and so the association dedicated resources to really building that understanding and relationship. This began their research into consumer needs and purchase motivations.

As Coca-Cola’s Ben Shanley put it, “At the end of the day from a manufacturing perspective, we’re trying to create consumer demand for our products and with all the changes that are going on right now in the industry it still all has to start with consumers.”

This initiative has been aimed at reaching consumers and helping brands understand their customers better. The team conducts qualitative research like focus groups with consumers to gather information and understand the language consumers use when they talk about their ‘away-from-home’ meals. That data is then validated through thousands of survey interviews– providing a lot of insight on what consumers are looking for.

Foodservice professionals can join the Consumer Planning Program and be a part of the committee that drives study topics and receives annual reports. Find out more about CPP here.