Investing in the Future of Food: SnackMagic's Snack Drop offers inexpensive sampling, data analytics to help emerging brands test innovations, understand consumers

By Elizabeth Crawford

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Investing in the Future of Food Snacks Innovation

For a fraction of the price and hassle of in-person sampling or focus groups, the new product discovery and data analytics platform Snack Drop allows emerging brands to offer goods directly to consumers in exchange for honest feedback and detailed information about distribution, customer demographics and the competitive landscape.

For as little as $1,000 plus the costs of samples, brands can feature their products on Snack Drop, which is an offshoot of the build-your-own gift box platform SnackMagic​, where registered consumers deemed “SnackMagic tastemakers” can build a $60 box of goods for only $15. This creates a win-win proposition  for brands and consumers in that it is a low-barrier for testing and low-stakes for initial trial.

Products that perform well on Snack Drop can go on to be featured on SnackMagic’s rotating treating menu for build-your-own snack box gifts – which not only brings expanded distribution and reach, but also will generate wholesale purchase orders and open promotional opportunities.

As explained in this episode of FoodNavigator-USA’s Investing in the Future of Food​, Snack Drop is about empowering brands and consumers to experiment in order to drive innovation and ultimately raise the quality of available food and beverages on the market.

‘We want to be there for these young emerging brands’

Recognizing the sampling is expensive and that the pandemic put in-person sampling on hold, SnackMagic CEO and founder Shaunak Amin wanted to give brands another way to reach consumers, test innovations and gather feedback that wouldn’t break budgets.

So, he created Snack Drop – a platform where for as little as $1 and a minimum offering of 1,000 samples, brands can include their products in snack boxes that consumers create and have delivered to their doors.

“Our whole MO has been we want to be there for these young emerging brands and we want to overall increase the rate of experimentation. If we give these brands a platform for experimentation, we’re going to get that more innovation”​ that can be featured on SnackMagic – making it a more desirable consumer destination.

A deep data dive

In addition to helping drive trial, Snack Drop provides brands with a broad range of data analytics that can help them understand how their product is performing – including who is buying it, where they live, what else they buy, and how the product stacks up to the competition.

Snack Drop is expanding the available data in the coming weeks to include insights about where consumers who chose a product shop, their general flavor preferences, social media activity and additional demographic information, such as job titles and skill sets. It is also adding comparative data such as trending ingredients in the category in which a product plays.

Snack Drops platform is currently self-serve with no additional analytic services, but for companies interested in drilling down on their own it can provide a high level of granularity thanks to its broad consumer base, which is representative of the overall US market.

A testing ground for SnackMagic

Snack Drop is able to provide this service at a low cost because it also benefits SnackMagic by serving as a testing ground for products to potentially add to SnackMagic’s treating menu.

“Our main business is gifting,”​ in which large corporations order hundreds or thousands of snack boxes that are either curated or which employees can customize, and which SnackMagic fills by placing wholesale orders with brands, Amin explained.

To be an appealing gift option, SnackMagic wants to offer a wide range of treats that are high quality – hence its desire to help brands innovate and put their best products forward.

Choosing the best

SnackMagic evaluates products for its treating menu based on qualitive and quantitative data, including the founders’ story and the product’s ingredients, competitive percentile ranking, and velocities and the company’s broader innovation pipeline.

Brands that make the cut and are featured on SnackMagic will need to pay an onboarding fee and then can opt to boost their exposure with additional promotional activities, which fall into three main categories: a featured list that is prominently displayed on the main webpage and can boost sales by 30-40%, curated stashes that are pre-made boxes that can generate large orders for brands, and additional advertising in the actual box – either as a flyer, call out in a note or other option.

More wholesale options coming

To further drive brands’ reach and its sales, SnackMagic is exploring several additional wholesaling options that it hopes to debut soon. These include bulk sales for offices, shops and convenience stores; and curated snack trays that serve almost like a safe catering option post-pandemic.

Ultimately, Amin said, he hopes to expand SnackMagic into new regions and countries – providing a pathway for emerging brands to also gain a foothold in new markets.

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