Pilling Foods is a wholesale company dedicated to providing high-quality, gluten-free, non-GMO and organic products, such as flours, seeds, and baking ingredients. They have recently started producing their own line of flours as well.
The Orangeville, Ont. company, which sells its products online, was looking to expand their brand awareness and increase sales through social media strategies. To do this they needed to better understand their target markets as well as the competition. However, they lacked an in-house market research team to conduct such in-depth marketing research.
Pilling Foods partnered with the Business & Commercialization Solutions (BCS) team at Research & Innovation to help with this challenge, following a successful collaboration with the Canadian Food & Wine Institute (CFWI) Innovation Centre to develop a new, unique product line.
“We needed a better understanding of the gluten-free market and wanted a more professional approach to gathering the information we needed to improve our presence in the market,” says Pilling Foods operations manager Sean Aguiar.
He said the scope of the project covered their entire product catalogue in order to understand the current market trends, industry projections for consumer habits and interests, and insight on other competitors.
“We wanted to focus on what appeals to and attracts consumers,” notes Aguiar. “And we wanted a better idea on which products would give us the best chances of capturing our target audience.”
After extensive research, the business research team developed a target audience based on trends and cohorts who are willing to purchase a new product on the market. They also developed a social media strategy to reach identified target markets with a goal of increasing the sales for the company.
The research team also provided Pilling Foods with an analysis report that informed the company of current market trends, upcoming and projects trends in the gluten-free and health food market.
“The market research and consumer insights gathered by the Niagara College team gave us great insight into the current state of the gluten-free food market,” says Aguiar, adding such research allowed the company to make objective decisions on how to achieve their marketing goals.
“They also provided us with marketing suggestions and creative content to launch the initial execution of the project,” says Aguiar. “By having these resources, our team was able to have a better understanding of effective marketing tactics for us to pursue. They also provided us with examples to base future post ideas.”
The company was also provided with a collection of content and a detailed manual outlining a custom-tailored marketing strategy.
“Recently we have been able to implement and act on the marketing plan Niagara College created and have seen an increase in customer engagements and online sales,” adds Aguiar. “Client inquiries have increased as well – potentially due to our online presence and activity.”
Funding for this project came from the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) through its College Voucher for Technology Adoption (CVTA) program.
This is one example of the marketing research and strategy with the Business & Commercialization Solutions team. For more information and to view other success stories see the website: https://www.ncinnovation.ca/business-commercialization-solutions