A food truck that helps us make better food
It has everything you’d recognize about your favorite food truck. A colorful exterior, a bold logo and the hum of a generator powering the equipment inside.
But it doesn’t belong to a restaurant or food entrepreneur with a signature item for sale. It’s ours.
What’s General Mills doing with a food truck?
No, we’re not going town-to-town selling yogurt, cereal, ice cream or cakes. Not yet, anyway.
Instead we’re using our “Crosby & Cad’s” truck as a mobile lab of sorts, at events and landmarks near our headquarters in Minneapolis, asking people to try our food and tell us what they think.
“It’s an exciting tool for our teams, they love it and come back from being around it, so energized,” says Jodi Benson, a vice president in our Innovation, Technology and Quality (ITQ) group. “And I think it’s giving our teams a sense of freedom that they can try products with the food truck that are earlier-on ideas because the risk of failing and being wrong isn’t that big of a deal.”
At each stop, people from our consumer insights group, research and development, and in marketing – among others – walk around the truck offering samples and asking them questions that will help us improve our food.
It’s a different way to get consumer feedback about taste, texture, shape and more compared to a traditional focus group or grocery store survey.
Crosby & Cad’s made its debut last summer at nine events, sampling everything from new concepts to those close to being launched, or already on store shelves. The experiment proved its worth.
So it’s back this year and has already been out at several locations, including the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum last weekend.
While it might be unique for a food company to provide samples and do research – at the same time – there has to be a strategy for the teams involved before they can use it.
“It’s not a case where people are just interested in using the food truck because it’s cool and novel, we’re actually making sure there’s a very strong research objective and that you can make strategic decisions coming out of your learning from the food truck,” says Khary Campbell, who leads our In-Context Experimentation team, which manages the truck.
We’re featuring our Crosby & Cad’s food truck in the latest episode of the “A Taste of General Mills” podcast to let you know how it’s helping us make even more food that you’ll love. Plus, curious about the truck’s name? You’ll have to listen to the podcast for that.
It’s easy to listen to our show when you’re on the go. Just listen on any podcast app on your mobile device (search for General Mills) or through Apple Podcasts or right here on our blog.
Listen (21 min)
SHOW NOTES – Episode 21: May 17, 2017
Video: Our food truck in action
Link: The General Mills History Minute/Bringer’s
Link: The General Mills History Minute/A pizza rolls road trip
Link: The General Mills History Minute/America’s Helper gets a makeover
Link: The General Mills History Minute/Erin Andrews and the Yoplait Greek Taste-Off
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