The outbreak of COVID-19 has taken its toll on global food and drink industries, with many brands and retailers adapting marketing strategies to navigate the changing habits of consumers.

Changing times

For brands, it has never been more important to understand the lifestyles of their consumer base and to identify market trends. 

Not only have shopping habits changed, but consumers no longer need portable food and drink options to suit their usually hectic schedules. Work restrictions have caused a downturn in ‘on the go’ product sales due to low footfall in stores, lack of demand, and less frequent store visits.

Market challenges

With the nature of ‘on the go’ products changing, brands need to readjust their focus and market to consumers with the most impact possible. 

During lockdown, many consumers may be working longer shifts and making less frequent supermarket visits due to ongoing restrictions. ‘On the go’ products now need to not only provide a quick but filling breakfast or snack option but also be available to buy in convenient formats.

Brands can stay relevant by focusing on this niche and positioning their products as less of a ‘grab and go’ option, and more of a convenient, time-saving product that can be purchased in advance. 

Try before you buy

As the market is so unpredictable and budgets are tight, brands need to ensure that their products can reach wider audiences through effective promotional strategies. 

Product sampling campaigns provide a measurable method of reaching a targeted audience of consumers. Knowing that people are more likely to make a repeat purchase after trialling a product, sampling is a rewarding marketing activity for both short term gains and long term brand building.

Essential workers

Whilst there has been a shift to a more remote workforce in the UK this year, there are many consumers still travelling to and from work across key industries. Health, education, public sector, utility services, food, transport, and financial sectors have continued to operate as essential services during the pandemic.

These essential workers need nutritious and pre-prepared food and drink options now more than ever, as they keep vital services running. By keeping up with the changing times and needs of the consumer, convenience brands can still reach an audience on the go. 

Weetabix On The Go

As some workplaces started to reopen after the first UK lockdown, gemsatwork helped Weetabix to welcome employees back to work with samples of Weetabix On The Go (OTG) drinks.

The sampling campaign helped the brand reach a wide audience of consumers who typically would be using ‘on-the-go’ products, due to the convenience that these products provide.

Brand activation

The activation saw employees across a large number of workplaces receive Weetabix OTG via their HR team, with the drinks provided as a great way to kick start their days. 

After receiving the sample, employees were invited to complete a survey and leave feedback on the product, which provided Weetabix with many interesting consumer insights. The campaign generated a lot of positive feedback about the brand and product, and Weetabix reported an increase in multipack sales of OTG drinks after the sampling campaign. 

“This Weetabix campaign is a great example of how effective targeted sampling is as a tactic for driving sales, even during these challenging times. The impact on penetration is clear and the insights we have uncovered for our client will be valuable in helping them further enhance their brand positioning” – Matthew Huntly, Director at gemsatwork. 

Impact analysis

gemsatwork carried out an impact analysis which identified that employees in workplaces that received samples were 26% more likely to be drinking Weetabix OTG than those in workplaces that didn’t. In addition, essential workers who received samples of Weetabix On The Go were 27% more likely to buy the product than those in a typical office setting.

By adapting their marketing goals in a challenging market, Weetabix were able to reward hard working staff whilst building brand awareness and improving ROI.

Does your brand need to adapt to keep up with these changing times? Get in touch with our team today on 020 3034 1100 to discuss our range of sampling services.