Sainsbury's 'Future Brands' Initiative Offers Opportunity To Gauge Brand Effectiveness

By Steve Wynne-Jones
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Sainsbury's 'Future Brands' Initiative Offers Opportunity To Gauge Brand Effectiveness

Sainsbury's 'Future Brands' initiative, which has now gone in-store with the rollout of standalone 'Taste The Future' installations, offers smaller, up and coming brands the opportunity to prove their worth at a time when ranges are being cut back and products de-listed, an industry expert has said.

Andrew Cole, joint managing director at category management firm Bridgethorne, said that the programme shows that it remains possible for suppliers "to successfully pitch new products if the product, its rationale and the way it is presented all meet certain key criteria," he says.

"Products that either open a new product area within a category or fill an existing gap are most likely to succeed, but only if backed by credible commercial and insight-based evidence," he adds.

First Wave

Among the products launched in the first wave of Taste the Future were Sea Chips, a crisp brand made from salmon skin, and Bootleg Booch, an alcoholic kombucha.

The retailer is using the initiative to measure consumer interest in such disrupter brands, with the most successful going on to achieve longer-term, permanent listings.


"Many suppliers develop new products because they have the capability to do so but without having a compelling consumer or category rationale," says Cole. "But too many suppliers produce and try to sell products without evidence of market need or demand. You simply have distinctly less chance of success if you cannot prove that new product development is credible, relevant and demonstrates differentiated innovation."

Vital Insight

Cole said that insight is "at the core" of these learnings for brands.

"At the very least suppliers must be able to provide an understanding of how consumers are using both the product and shopping the category," he says. "This should feed into a compelling argument for where both a category and a consumer gap exists that would be filled by any new product.

"The harsh reality, though, is that if that gap doesn’t exist or cannot be found - or if the supplier has no insight to support why it is developing this new product - it may need to push back and challenge itself as to why it is doing it at all."


Even for brands that have available data or insights, utilising these to develop a compelling proposition, which has value and interest to both retailers and shoppers, is also a challenge.

Focal Point

"Too often the reality is that products are launched in the absence of any meaningful insight. The focal point for doing so has to be consumer, shopper AND category insight," says Cole.

"The maxim for any business when developing new products is to ask themselves the following question: ‘Is my proposition credible, differentiated and relevant?’ If the answer to this question is ‘no’ or even, simply, ‘I think so’, then it may be time to stop and reappraise why you are launching the product at all."

© 2019 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.

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