Market influencers: Peak performers impact market trends
“A few months ago, we ran a massive analysis of consumer beliefs around food, both in general and in the role these foods play in consumers’ lives,” explained Motivindex Co-Founder and CEO Ujwal Arkalgud, noting that they looked at over 7,500 American consumers between the ages of 18 and 74.
In a webinar for the Center of Food Integrity Food Influencers series in late April, Arkalgud discussed the study, focusing specifically on the consumer group named peak performers.
He continued, “We really wanted to understand what the beliefs and unspoken motivations are influence consumers’ decisions and, more importantly, drive them to care about certain types of issues and outcomes rather than others.”
“Every time we do an analysis of a marketplace, we find, just like a political spectrum, we can draw a straight line from left to right, and we find a range of beliefs that affect the consumer in this particular market place,” said Arkalgud.
In the context of food, Arkalgud’s team found that food is connected to how someone feels about the life they’re leading.
“Consumers use food as a way to tell the world, ‘Here is proof I am living well,’” he commented.
He explained that consumers at the left-end of the spectrum define living well as focusing on the future.
“They look at food with a sense of spirituality, treating the body as a temple, and they generally believe food elongates life,” noted Arkalgud.
On the right side of the spectrum are consumers for whom living well means being able to indulge.
“The tension between the two ends plays out particularly as we move toward the middle of the spectrum, which is where we find peak performers,” he continued.
While peak performers make up approximately 17 percent of the population, Arkalgud explained they have a 25-percent share of voice about food choices.
“We found, because a peak performer has 25 percent voice, they represent the early majority,” he said. “They’re the group who really starts to make trends hit major mainstream.”
The individuals in this group tend to be male and young, and they are in the middle of the spectrum of beliefs about food.
“They’re highly concerned about how others view them and are obsessed with their fitness and bodies,” Arkalgud continued. “It’s partially because they generally feel consuming the right kind of food gives them an upper hand over everyone around them.”
Similar to how a carpenter, plumber or other expert is typically hired for a specific job, Arkalgud explained consumers, in a sense, hire food to meet specific needs in their life.
“There are over 50 jobs peak performers hire food to do every day,” he said, noting that there’s a functional, emotional and social component to each job.
There are five jobs or trends for peak performers that currently do not have convenient ways to meet.
“This is really where the opportunities lie for agriculture,” stressed Arkalgud.
The first job peak performers are seeking in their food that doesn’t have an easy solution is boosting metabolism, particularly in their weekday breakfast meals.
Arkalgud explained that peak performers are seeking on-the-go solutions, which are difficult to find.
“Most of these are not ready-to-eat foods. They’re supplements and protein shakes,” he said.
The second job peak performers seek pertains to managing cravings, continued Arkalgud.
“The emotional side of fulfilling this job is they want to feel in control,” he commented. “The social side is they want to have a body that makes them looking younger, healthier and wealthier than their peers.”
Currently, there are no solutions for an early day treat that could be purchased in a coffee shop, requiring individuals to stock up on expensive products at the grocery store that are oftentimes not in proper portion sizes.
“Most packaging is a little bit too large, meaning that consumers eat only half of a product and then have to store it,” noted Arkalgud.
The third trend revolves around enhancing skin to give a sense of a healthy glow, requiring that consumers avoid processed sugars and oily food.
Arkalgud explained another major trend for peak performers is personalized food regimens.
“Consumers really want to know what their bodies can handle. They don’t want to seem uptight or feel uptight when they go out to eat,” he said. “They want to know what works for them, so they can play in that field.”
The last major job peak performers desire from their food is the promotion of mental wellbeing.
“The idea is to maximize their potential at home and at work,” concluded Arkalgud. “Currently, there are no clear food solutions in the form of a shelf-stable solution.”
Emilee Gibb is editor of Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.