Harnessing the power of AI to reveal new cultural shifts


A global confectionery brand uncovered new market opportunities using our Crowd Signals platform, powered by strat7.ai, to analyse consumer sentiment, emotion and relevant cultural shifts.

The Challenge

Our client, a beloved confectionery brand that has been a favourite among parents and children for many years, has established a strong reputation for producing high-quality products that parents feel comfortable about giving to their kids.

However, despite consistently strong sales, the company recognised times are changing and that this positive perception could potentially be under threat.

To maintain their position as a trusted brand for families, they needed to know what was on the horizon.

We interrogated multiple online conversations, combining this data with desk research and expert interviews, to provide a comprehensive understanding of consumer trends and preferences.

The search for what's next

In order to locate the challenges and opportunities of the future, we needed to look not just within the sweet and snack category but also outside of it. In order to do this, we turned to our AI powered unstructured data tool, Crowd Signals, to tap into several relevant cultural shifts.

We combined our data analysis with additional desk research and five expert interviews to obtain a full-rounded perspective on our trends. We spoke to nutritionists, a food anthropologist and a family blogger who could help provide expertise across our core markets of UK, France and Germany and add a fresh perspective onto our data.

The cultural shifts we looked at included:

1. Responsible Progress: our first cultural shift focused on sustainability, a key topic of concern for the company. What can we learn from conversations around the circular economy, packaging and eco-marketing to help better position future treats as a sustainable choice?

2. Wellbeing Recharge: here we looked at trends relating to mood foods, more accessible healthy alternatives and precise nourishments in which foods target specific parts of the body such as the mind or gut.

3. Elevated Indulgence: our next shift looked at new experiences and experiments in food and flavour. We looked at trends related to new novelty experiences, status-serving snacks and how brands are incorporating play in unique and surprising ways.


These all had important learnings for our client in how they could better position their products and build a positive perception with parents of the future, as well as informing our qualitative work that followed.

Some of our key findings included: 

1. Responsible Progress: sustainability plays second fiddle to nutrition and food happiness, but parents expect brands to lead.  While sustainability is an increasingly important topic in snacks and treats, parents believe that it us up to brands to play an active role in the environment without comprising on the price or quality of their products.

2. Wellbeing Recharge: while healthier alternatives such as vegan chocolate are rapidly growing, we can’t ignore the importance of the social value brought about by sweet treats for children. 
When we looked at the data, we saw a rise in discussion around healthy alternatives such as sugar-free, lactose-free and specific plant-based alternatives. However, this wasn’t the full picture. Parents knew these healthier alternatives would only work if they didn’t come at the expense of valuable play time. Our experts highlighted this as a key part of children’s mental and emotional wellbeing.

3. Elevated Indulgence: children and parents love the surprise factor in sweet treats, making it crucial for brands to clearly differentiate themselves in the market. We were able to glean valuable insights from the rise in franchise related treats (Barbie froyo), odd partnerships (French Mustard and Skittles) and social media hype (Prime drinks). To defy the ordinary and truly stand out in a competitive market, brands often need to bring bold and innovative products to the table.

What is Crowd Signals?  

The Crowd Signals Platform has advanced NLP, AI and machine learning capabilities, powered by strat7.ai, to search social posts, forums, search engines, review sites, client sales and behavioural sets – and ultimately uncover meaningful stories of culture.

Click here to find out more (you will be redirected to STRAT7 Crowd DNA’s website).


Joe Lockey

Senior Analyst

Joe joined us after completing rotations across our consumer, services and health sectors, whilst gaining exposure to both qualitative and quantitative research techniques.


Alice Hedlund


Alice has experience in customer-centric growth, brand strategy and innovation at global scale. She specialises in brand transformation journeys, bridging the gap between business and brand strategy to create holistic and actionable plans for impactful growth.

Helen Donald


Job Title

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cilum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. 

Tom Carvell


Tom has a science background with a PhD in Materials Chemistry. He has spent most of his career working on in-house front-end innovation where he delivered mid/long term strategic projects for brands such as Durex, Scholl, Veet and KY. He is focussed on delivering pragmatic but provocative innovation strategy for CPG categories.

Manick Pratheeban

Senior Principal

Manick is a brand strategy and consumer insight specialist with 15+ years’ experience helping to grow some of the world’s biggest brands. He has a proven track record of translating trends, consumer, and market data into actionable insights to formulate growth strategies.

Kate Jones

Senior Principal

Kate has over a decade of experience in creating transformative strategies for customer-focused businesses. With a background in consumer insight and behaviour change across consumer health, packaged goods, leisure, banking and other sectors she focuses on elevating the customer experience to create human-centric innovations and foster impactful growth.

Jacob Gascoine-Becker


Jacob specialises in leveraging consumer research to inform investment strategy and business case development. A management consultant since 2014, he previously spent eight years working in ecommerce and digital marketing.

Ines Achabal

Senior Analyst

Ines is inately curious and creative. She is known for her expansive thinking when exploring client challenges and elevating the visual quality of outputs to maximise their impact.

Helene Mills


Helene has 20+ years’ experience advising business leaders and investors on growth strategy based upon consumer and market intelligence. Her particular specialism lies in leisure, retail, food and beverage sectors.

Helen Donald

Helen Donald


Helen has consulted businesses at different stages of growth across a variety of sectors, specialising in consumer packaged goods and consumer healthcare. She is an adept strategist, bringing clarity to the most complex of situations and connecting dots to create rich, future-proofed platforms for innovation, brand positioning and growth.

Allan Chen STRAT7 Advisory

Allan Chen

Senior Principal

Allan’s core skillset provides an analytical and commercial lens to address client challenges. He started his career as an actuary, and since then has held a broad range of strategic roles, improving performance across the private and public sector.


Björn Dufwenberg

Managing Director​

Björn has 15+ years’ experience in insight-driven transformation, across management consulting, as well as brand and innovation agency roles. Most recently he headed up the Customer-Led Transformation practice at PwC Sweden, until joining STRAT7 in 2021. He’s worked on global projects covering consumer goods, durables, spirits and beverages, retail, banking, and private equity.

Kamilla Dala

Senior Principal

Kamilla has 10+ years’ experience leading and implementing insight-driven transformation within global matrix organisations in durable and consumable goods. Areas of expertise cover segmentation, uncovering and translating actionable consumer insights within innovation, product development, brand positioning, strategy and marketing.