Mood Management & Snacking

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Written by:

VP, Client Experience

Uncovering Innovation Opportunities using the MotivBase & NielsenIQ Combined Service

Tired of trend tools that give you a top 10 list but no consumer context around what you really need to do? The MotivBase & NielsenIQ Combined Service doesn’t just tell you IF something is trending.

It decodes WHY something is trending, delivers a more accurate prediction of its growth and validates the market potential of a trend by matching consumer insights with NielsenIQ sales data.

To showcase this, let’s look at the culture of mood management, but point our attention to the role snacks are playing in the mind of the consumer.

Why Meaning Matters:

At its core, MotivBase is an AI Anthropologist that can decode the implicit meanings behind the topics, trends, ideas, and categories that matter to your business.

In layman’s terms, when you run a search on our platform, you are asking us to help you understand the meanings that are associated with it by consumers.

Your search is asking MotivBase to create a MACROCULTURE that you wish to explore.

By analyzing millions of people, tens of millions of conversations, and billions of connections, our AI examines the broader context of discussions around your search.

Take a look at this MACROCULTURE focused on mood management and snacks.

As we can see, the most dominant meanings associated with this MACROCULTURE are things like meal planning, eating smaller meals and increasing snack consumption, and finding habits, foods and routines that help you control your cravings or deal with urges in a healthy and productive way.

These are MICROCULTURES that are shaping the overall MACROCULTURE of Mood Management and Snacks.

In addition to identifying the dominant associations consumers are making, we can also leverage the platform to look at the past 4 years of engagement to identify if these MACROCULTURES and MICROCULTURES are growing (or increasing in relevance in the mind of consumers) to prioritize innovation opportunities.

For example if we look at the MACROCULTURE itself, we can see that it is currently relevant to 76.8M people and is expected to grow by 13.2% in 12-24 months.

This MACROCULTURE also is just about to mature and land in what we call the Zone of Innovation.

This tells us that the AI is seeing increased amounts of agreement and consensus on what mood management means and the role snacking plays in it. This suggests that it is the perfect time to innovate and serve up new solutions.

But we can also size MICROCULTURES.

let’s examine the MICROCULTURE of Planning Meals

This culture is currently relevant to 70.2M people and is expected to grow by 12.9% in 12-24 months. And once again, we are seeing it mature and enter into the ZONE OF INNOVATION.

Now compare that to the culture of Controlling or Curbing Craving.

Not only does it sit in early consensus, where consumers are still figuring out how this relates to mood management and snacking, it is only predicted to grow by 7%, and that is estimated to take upwards of 5 years.


If you want to make inroads with consumers when it comes to mood management, your snacking solutions need to complement or work in conjunction with meal planning. By studying the associations and meanings consumers are revealing for us, we can see they desire snacks that help them portion control and allow them to be more mindful of their consumption. They may talk about cravings. But the true goal is to snack smart, nourish themselves to avoid mood swings and make it to the planned meals that they have strategized to feed themselves.

It is a subtle difference, but you are not crushing the craving.

You’re providing the perfect solution to fit into the consumers routine and food strategy, that keeps them on target and adhering to their food plan.

Are there a lot of mentions about craving control? Yes.

Does controlling cravings get mentioned more than meal planning? Yes.

Which is precisely why we focus on meanings rather than mentions. When we ask what these mentions mean, we discover that the connection between meal planning and mood management is significantly stronger and more mature than the connection between mood management and curbing cravings.

Which basically means that snacks that are proactively planned versus reactively consumed will be more relevant to people that are looking to better control their mood, but controlling their food consumption.

Now, what products are currently solving this problem?


By adding NielsenIQ data to our MotivBase Platform we are now able to match what trends really mean to existing products and their marketplace performance.

In the past, our clients would have to manually find products that they think fit into the culture of mood management.

Now, they can rely on our Anthropology Engine to do so for them.

When we run a search for a topic in MotivBase Trends, our AI Anthropologist analyzes the meanings most associated with Mood Management, and then surfaces products that most match those meanings.

In essence, the machine is identifying products that fit a macroculture because of the way they are marketed, categorized, make certain claims, or hold certain characteristics.

Here are some immediate observations we can make by examining the data from NielsenIQ.

Overall, even the top selling products in this macroculture are all losing sales YOY. This is contrary to the macroculture itself, which is growing in the next 24 months. Apparently, the existing solutions in the market are not sufficiently solving the problem that is most relevant to consumers in the context of Mood Management.

We’ve identified a gap in the marketplace. So, what is primed to fill this gap?

Well, there are only three categories growing – dessert bars, baking cups and brownies.

But, in each of these categories, the focus was on claims and characteristics that focused on naturally and lightly sweetened products with real, healthful ingredients.

This tells us that consumers are focused on desserts and sweets that can satisfy them through the day or after a meal. They consider such solutions to be uplifting, but want to ensure these products do not contain any ingredients that can have a negative impact on their mood.

Furthermore, because the focus is more so on meal planning than on curbing craving, it teaches us that these categories are of interest to consumers as long as they can fit into their planning routine. This isn’t about impulse buying or eating but rather about planning sweets that can uplift the mood and still feel good because it’s made with better-for-me ingredients.

MotivBase = Cultural Trend

NielsenIQ = Sales Data

With a MotivBase license, you get the world’s only AI Anthropology engine capable of decoding and quantifying the meanings behind emerging cultural trends. And with the NielsenIQ integration, you get an easy and efficient way to match what a trend really means to existing products and their marketplace performance.

It’s everything an insight or innovation team needs to build robust business cases for your organization.

What do you want to research today?