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TikTok, market research, tastes, and trends of the U.S. market

American multinational food and beverage companies now take their cues from TikTok to create new products

Heinz launches a fresh burger dip sauce: from viral TikTok trend to US mass retail

Today, even multinational food and beverage companies in America are watching culinary trends on TikTok to innovate their product lines. The latest culinary trend in the U.S. is crunchy mixed dip sauce for burger dipping. In recent years, the condiment giant Heinz has inspired its customers' food tastes to develop new mainstream products. In 2018, the U.S. food group (the fifth largest in the world and the second largest in the United States) conducted an online market research survey to ask American consumers if they would like a ready-made sauce composed of the mayonnaise and ketchup mix. After the resounding favorable response from users, Heinz Mayochup sauce was born. Since then, the brand has added the Kranch,  Honeyracha and Buffaranch sauces to the shelves of small and large supermarkets in the United States.

Now Heinz is again ready to launch a new product, following the latest viral trend on TikTok, where the latest culinary fad is dipping the burger first in mayonnaise and ketchup sauce and then in crumbled fries. Indeed, the new product consists of a two-in-one box: on one side is a cup for the sauce and on the other is the one with the fry crumbs, or 'crunchers,' as Heinz has renamed them, which the brand's fans love because they add a tasty new texture to the burger. The combination is also available in a spicy variant.

Dipping the burger in dip sauces is, of course, nothing new in America, but it has probably never been formalized in this manner before by a brand. The multinational company tested the concept earlier this year at selected locations of the U.S. fast food chain Jack in the Box, which is present only on the West Coast of the United States. And now, it has decided to launch the product throughout the U.S. market, with barbecue season just around the corner. For the Chief Growth Officer of Kraft HeinzNorth America, Sanjiv Gajiwala, this initiative is an important step forward in brand development and innovation of new product lines. The goal is not only to observe the evolution of U.S. culinary culture but also to anticipate its changes.

We have spent a lot of time listening to our customers, -Gajiwala notes. -For us,  listening to that online debate and bringing it into being is a significant example of how our approach to consumer needs and their evolutions has changed, and how it is precisely by listening that we are able to understand what they like and what they don't, and the right time when a broad swath of consumers in the U.S. market are ready to try new things. -The careful observation of people on the web is the direct evolution of the online survey that led to the creation of Mayochup and its hybrid sauces, and it has led to excellent results, with a 9% increase in sales since 2020. Last year, Kraft Heinz announced a partnership with Google to use artificial intelligence and machine learning tools and obtain big data to design new food products. Accurate and precise information from the data will drive food innovations more and more efficiently: new flavors, formulations and products:- With this principle in mind, we decided to invest in our own proprietary data platform focused on food: the Kraft-O-Matic, -says Gajiwala.

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The American multinational company aims to leverage this timely information (and the in-house ability to move quickly to product development and distribution) by using a two-speed approach to take advantage of new trends and the eating habits of consumers in America. First and foremost, what drives innovation are passing fads that manage to excite the brand's super-fans in the short term, through online word of mouth and user-generated content, such as when the brand entered significant food trends in America with products like Kraft's pumpkin-flavored mac and cheese, or with its mac and cheese ice cream, both launched last year. Another example is the short-lived venture of American meat and charcuterie producer Oscar Mayer(a company owned by Kraft Heinz), which last year launched into the world of beauty care with its mortadella-inspired face mask: the Bologna Mask. Meanwhile, the innovation space dedicated to long-term trends is slower and longer-lasting, leading to the production of new products destined to become mainstream, taking advantage of the American company's vast distribution network.

When we innovate, we have to make sure we understand the difference between a trend that will become part of the eating habits of Americans, and a passing fad,-adds Gajiwala. -There is room for both in the U.S. market, and for us, innovation in the Dip & Crunch sauces segment is part of a trend that is here to stay. These products will be increasingly in demand, and with our brands we don't want to just follow emerging culinary fads; the goal is to get ahead of the trends with new product lines.

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