Gay Lea


Gay Lea is a small but highly ambitious regional dairy co-op. In 2011, they started working with us to develop what at the time was simply a screening strategy for new product concepts. Over time we have earned our way into supporting their full innovation program.

GayLea-SpreadablesOur innovation program design is based upon knowing that across the board, new product development programs have an 80% failure rate, despite the vast majority have been “proven” in so-called best-practice concept testing. A better way was required.

Gay Lea was looking to better their odds, and our industry-leading “Safe-to-Fail Predictive Market Tool,” helped them do it. This tool led Gay Lea directly to their first major success story: spreadable cinnamon sugar butter.

GayLea-Coconut-Whipped-CreamOur approach began with conventional focus groups, remote self-ethnography and home use tests of prototype products. We did internal work to harmonize the goals of Gay Lea’s Research and Development team and their marketers, focusing them both on a consumer-centric process.

Through three waves of concept refinement, we gave the marketing team complete freedom to determine their level of involvement. Our experienced strategists filled in whenever Gay Lea was unable to dedicate resources

We use applied anthropology to position products to resolve a cultural tension among target consumers. This kind of cultural lens defines Fresh Squeezed Ideas.

As an example, cinnamon brown sugar butter activates on a highly prevalent desire for authenticity. It allows parents to tap into a bygone era; when things were simpler, slower and more authentic than our lives today.

Nordica-Smooth-Cottage-CheeseCinnamon brown sugar butter was Gay Lea’s first success using this approach, but not its last. The dairy has subsequently released two more products from its expanded innovation program, which are also delivering at or above their expectations – which few marketers can claim. They now have a highly envied track record with product launches that not only have met targets, but exceeded them.