Snacking has grown significantly over the years into a global phenomenon prompted by lifestyle changes and eating habits. Foods that were once considered traditional are now packaged, marketed and presented to be eaten “on the go.” Snacks’ rising popularity has food manufacturers and retailers working hard to attract consumer attention to win a chunk of this lucrative market. “Out of 120 food product categories, ice cream rates 27th in the list of most impulsive purchases,” said Stanislas de Maleissye, senior category and trade marketing manager, General Mills France. “Much of ice cream’s appeal depends on strategic store-aisle placement and visibility to stimulate consumer interest.” The key to success is, therefore, innovative merchandising.
General Mills France, a subsidiary of a world-leading food company General Mills, wanted to increase its share of this market by expanding its Häagen-Dazs premium ice cream brand to respond to consumers’ increased inclination for snacking. Habitually presented in pints and mini cups, General Mills France created a new way to enjoy its HäagenDazs ice creams with a new, more compact and easier-to-eat version. According to the company, it’s a more appropriate response to this popular trend. “We based our decision to launch a series of ice cream stick bars on two years of consumer market studies,” de Maleissye said. “It’s an approach based on our desire to place the consumer at the center of our product strategy. Even in snack form, our ice cream is still characterized by the high level of quality of its main ingredients – milk, fresh cream, sugar and eggs. But we also needed to make sure our new products stood out among the competition by strategically and attractively presenting them in the stores to inspire consumers to buy them,” he said.
Perfect Shelf brings a new and innovative approach to category management that helps us present our new products in the most attractive way possible.
The company engaged with major French retailers to implement the most effective way to position and merchandise its products to maximize category growth and brand revenue. To help it design the most efficient merchandising strategy tailored to each retailer, General Mills France adopted Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE® platform and its Perfect Shelf Industry Solution Experience. “We used virtual technology from Perfect Shelf to collaborate with retailers and develop a new vision for this line of products by defining the best product, category and shelf-space strategy,” de Maleissye said. “Perfect Shelf brings a new and innovative approach to category management that helps us present our new products in the most attractive way possible.”
General Mills France chose the cloud-based version of Perfect Shelf because it was faster to deploy, offers greater flexibility and because all support is included in the price of the offering. “Working on the cloud enables us to focus on our core activities while letting Dassault Systèmes manage all IT-related tasks for us,” de Maleissye said. “Our total cost of ownership is, hence, lower because we don’t need to invest in computing and data storage equipment nor in the human resources required to manage them.”
Kalista, a Dassault Systèmes’ certified consumer packaged goods and retail value solutions partner, advised General Mills France to adopt Perfect Shelf to ensure the success of this project. “For over six years, Kalista has been accompanying General Mills France on various aspects of product merchandising and when they suggested we use 3D digital technologies instead of 2D planograms for visual product layouts and presentations, we immediately seized the opportunity,” de Maleissye said. “By contributing their professional expertise in category management, pragmatic approach and knowledge of Perfect Shelf, they helped make this project a faster success. Kalista also trained our designers on the more advanced aspects of Perfect Shelf so that they increase productivity and improve their ability to leverage these technologies to enhance the value of our merchandising solutions.”
With Perfect Shelf, General Mills France was able to come up with different merchandising options for its new HäagenDazs line adapted to the look and layout of each store. “Whereas other solutions used by consumer goods companies can create 2D diagrams and 3D planogram views, none are able to recreate such a realistic store environment in 3D complete with aisles, shelves, products and virtual shoppers,” de Maleissye said. “The retailers we worked with for our Häagen-Dazs project were immersed in the virtual reality of their own store environment allowing them to give more pertinent feedback on layouts, lighting, positioning and signage. We were able to build and evaluate more category options much faster and at a lower cost. Moreover, the virtual stores were so real, we were able to avoid the complexity and cost of installing a physical test store.”
In its Top Innovations 2015 study, Nielsen, a New York-based global information and measurement company, revealed that General Mills’ Häagen-Dazs stick bars came in second position on the French market in the food category. “Products were rated on their performance with respect to revenue generated and market penetration in the first six months following their release,” de Maleissye explained. “Supermarket sales of our new ice cream totaled over €13 million, confirming its appeal among consumers.”
Perfect Shelf is opening up new perspectives for General Mills France. De Maleissye’s team plans to extend the solution to other product categories, such as their World Food category, which includes the Old El Paso line. “Our marketing team is also interested in using Perfect Shelf for packaging design to visualize new concepts and innovations in terms of shape, color and branding and then position them within the context of a virtual store to come up with the best and most appealing way to present our products alongside the competition,” de Maleissye said. “We’ve only scratched the surface of Perfect Shelf’s capabilities and our objective, now, is to continue to improve our knowledge and use of this solution.”
One of the ten leading Food & Beverage industry companies in the world
Products: Häagen-Dazs, Yoplait, Green Giant, Old El Paso, Nature Valley, Parampara, etc.
Employees: 42,000 worldwide
Revenue: US$17.6 billion
Headquarters: Minnesota, USA
For more information www.generalmills.com
Based on over a decade of merchandising experience, Kalista has been helping retailers design, perfect and deploy stellar shopping experiences. Its clients are brands and distributors in consumer goods, home improvement, apparel or pharmaceuticals. To accelerate its growth, Kalista became, in July 2015, a subsidiary of Visiativ Group.
For more information www.kalistaretail.co.uk