Wednesday, 30 September 2015

The Sugar Summit - 5 key consumer trends

Over 3,000 UK people aged 8-90 years old took part in our in-depth sugar summit ethnographic and quantitative insight - looking at what people are really thinking and doing about sugar. Below are the key discoveries.

1. The sugar awakening 

In the last 12 months the UK government, medical governing bodies and celebrity chefs have raised concerns about the amount of sugar us Brits are consuming. This has resulted in sugar now being the top ingredient that people take note of on ingredients and 3 out of 5 adults actively making an effort to reduce the amount of sugar in their diet. People have woken up to sugar and not just to fizzy drinks and sweets but to apparent ‘hidden sugars’ in products, with 69% concerned about the amount of sugar in cereal and 40% in bread.

2. State of confusion

The sugar awakening has to led to many consumers questioning labelling on products, being confused about how much sugar they should be consuming in a day and what is deemed ‘good’ and ‘bad’ sugars - if there is such a thing. 2/3’s of people feel brands don’t clearly let consumers know about the amount of sugar in products and are confused by media messages. As one consumer said , ‘messages can be very confusing; 5 a day v’s low salt v’s low sugar v’s no additives – what advice do we take?

3. The counter revolution

The focus on sugar has led to the spotlight also being shone on the alternatives, such as sweeteners. Over the last 5 years we have heard rumblings of distrust of sweeteners, such as Aspartame, from parents. There is a growing group of consumers who would prefer products to contain sugar (64%) rather than sweeteners, as they worry about the ‘unknown’ effects of sweeteners or just prefer the taste of sugar.

4. Taking responsibility 

Many people we talked to felt responsibility for the amount of sugar we eat as a nation should be shared between the manufacturers, regulatory bodies and personal responsibility. 50% felt that people needed to take more ownership of the sugar they and their family’s consume and be active in trying to change their habits for the better.

5. Education and clarity 

The increased awareness, confusion and want to action has led to an overwhelming majority of people (96%) asking for better education on sugar in foods and drinks - for adults as well as kids. They want clearer and simpler labelling and that manufactures should reduce the amount of sugar in products gradually. Many don’t want sugar replaced with even sweeter sweeteners - instead they want the nations palette to adjust to a less sweet diet.

P.S. Overall, most people said it was about achieving a balance. They don't want to be eating ‘sugar’ free birthday cake or munching on a celery stick while watching X Factor. Sugar has it’s place and it’s an enjoyable, fun and feel good time. However, it should be in moderation.

If you would like our full Sugar Summit infographic please contact me at and for more about our parent company, Agent please go to 

Thursday, 23 April 2015

There is more to being mum

We keep hearing it, experiencing and saying it – but it’s something that’s worth repeating. There’s more to being a mum than being a mum. Behind that title of ‘mum’ is an individual, a person who has her own set of wants and needs. She has to balance that with the needs of her family but her own (often strong) preferences play into her decision-making.

We’ve just carried out some research with our MumPanel of 10,000 mums across the UK and this is what is at the top of their mind at the moment (and some of their thoughts aren’t quite as mumsy as you’d think…).

  • The election is a hot topic at the moment. We don’t tend to find mums discussing it in the playground but it’s definitely something they think about – both on a personal level and also how it might affect their family. 88% of mums said they’re going to vote in the general election but even at this late stage 45% haven’t decided who they’re going to vote for. That could mean that mums are the most influential group in determining who’s next in line for government.
  • Mums have fun and ‘me time’ too. Mums might not have bags of free time but they still manage to fit in their hobbies and interests. When we asked our MumPanel, half play sport regularly (swimming, running, netball and bootcamp). One third said they regularly holidayed without their kids, two-thirds go to comedy shows or theatre, 40% drink alcohol every week and 75% do DIY (not sure that is always fun!).  It’s not just empty nesters that have ‘me time’, so don’t forget mums when you’re marketing recreational and escape products and services.
  • Mums and kids share. Mums share products, experiences and wants with their kids.  They might buy breadsticks and yoghurts for the kids but find they like them. And so the next time they’re buying for themselves as well as the kids.  We found two-thirds of mums like the same music as their kids (Frozen sound track, McBusted, Ed Sheeran, Take That and Taylor Swift). Many go willingly (or suggest going) to concerts and shows with their children – enjoying them as much as the kids. Parents and kids share - whether consciously or not - and brands should look for opportunities for innovation and connection in this area.
  • There are many dimensions to being mum. Brands need to see the wider influences, needs and values of mums. Why? So they don’t miss important factors when developing products and service. As a brand if you dig into these deeper factors you can create better, empathetic relationships with your audience and meet ALL the needs of ‘being mum’.
All figures from survey of 600 UK mums (completed 14-20th April 2015). 

If you have any mum or family insight, innovation or communication needs call us on 0161 413 4717 or email

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Mum truths, tips and trends in 2015

Mum truths, tips and trends in 2015

Over the last few years we’ve talked a lot about how brands view mums. They’re often keen to try and stick them into neat little boxes, with the aim of better understanding this profitable market. But what we’ve discovered time and time again is that the opposite is true – if you try and squeeze mums into a limited profile it narrows your perspective to a point where products and communications miss the spot, or worse, damage your brand.

This idea of thinking beyond demographics now has it’s very own bit of jargon - 'post demographic consumerism’ in marketing speak and is set to be a key trend for marketers in 2015 (it was a key trend for us in 2011!).

So if you take one truth from this blog it should be this – stop thinking of mums in terms of simple (or even complex) demographics. It doesn’t work. Instead, try and really understand mums, their families and lives within their world – and what a diverse, busy and noisy place it is. Their lives are always moving on to the next life stage, dealing with the next challenges and trends to keep up with.

And here are a few other tips to help your brand connect with mums in 2015

Tap into mums emotions
If you’re a parent then you’ll probably suffer from the universal parental emotion – guilt. You might also feel a few other emotions, worry, pressure, doubt. As a brand you’re in the perfect position to address these emotions and help parents overcome them. Let mums know it’s ok not to be perfect.

See mums as a whole person
Once you have a baby you don’t stop being a person. We do have interests and hobbies too. And we care about what’s happening in the world. Engaging on more than the ‘mum’ level will help you understand how to reach mums and what they want.

Have your own voice
Look to mums attitudes and current shopping journeys for inspiration. And keep an eye on the less obvious competition.  If you want to keep ahead of the pack and be a trend-setter then you've got to really get under the skin of your consumer and competition. 

For example all the big 4 supermarkets have lost market share. And growth – it’s with the discounters – Aldi & Lidl. So that must be because they are cheap? That’s not the whole story. Waitrose have also grown (and hold more market share than Aldi). We think that’s because Aldi and Waitrose have something in common – a clear proposition, they know who they are, why their customers like them and know how to successfully engage with them. 

If you’d like to talk to us about really understanding your consumers in 2015 get in touch.  In our next blog we will look at some of the emerging mum trends for the year ahead. So, what do you want to know about mums in 2015?