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How Conagra piloted 84.51°’s newest cloud-based technology for a disrupted shopper landscape

84.51° Collaborative Cloud may have officially launched in early November, but this groundbreaking new platform has been helping Conagra Brands, one of North America’s leading branded food companies, unleash the potential of its data science team for well over a year.

For Conagra Brands, the benefits were already clear 18 months ago. Conagra’s data science team, led by Senior Director of Data Science and Analytics Brian Archey, was tasked with identifying new pockets of demand in a shifting consumer landscape. The team needed data with enough of a national footprint that they could look at total store behavior to track evolving affinities. Among potential partners, 84.51° quickly stood out.

“There are other platforms with a cloud mentality that let you play in the environment, but 84.51° Collaborative Cloud stood up faster than any other,” said Archey. “The data was clean and ready to use—there was no heavy lifting to do the modeling work our data scientists needed to write the code. That’s a clear differentiator.”

Just as Archey’s team got to work, the COVID-19 pandemic arrived, impacting every aspect of the grocery industry, from shopper behavior to the supply chain. The Conagra team’s priorities shifted instantly from its original affinity research to making sense of the company’s 2021 forecast. They needed to evaluate shopping behavior changes across numerous commodities and predict which new behaviors would stick.

The 84.51° Collaborative Cloud provided Archey’s team with a robust data asset at their disposal that represented half of America, updated every Monday with the previous week’s data. With it, Conagra Brands could get a quick read on what customers were doing and how they could better serve them in turbulent times. That became particularly crucial as Conagra began to plan for a holiday season like no other. With data from 84.51° Collaborative Cloud, the team was able to design exploratory models ahead of time that in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving provided critical insights into questions like:

  • How will the holidays be different if people don’t travel?

  • Will there be more but smaller gatherings?

  • Will turkey still be the centerpiece?

  • What sizes and pieces of turkey are being sold, and what kinds of side products do shoppers buy based on those combinations?

  • How will online ordering impact meal patterns?

“The speed, versatility and ease of use of 84.51° Collaborative Cloud helped us make decisions faster and communicate them to the supply team. The data was right there when we needed it,” said Archey.

In a November 16 interview with AdExchanger, Archey talked more about how his team has been able to build on last year’s data to plan for this year’s holiday season. “Now we’re testing hypotheses based on individual households that have been anonymized and tracked for a year or more. Which consumer habits from last year will stick? Do we see the same patterns in online grocery shopping?” Conagra Brands’ reliance on 84.51° Collaborative Cloud has grown exponentially from its early stage needs around the pandemic, according to Archey. “The value is we have a trusted source that is flexible and helps us with emerging, ad hoc, timely requests.” The team now uses the data set for a wide range of exploratory needs, getting quick reads on trends that they can quickly model against. And as the use cases grow, so does the product.

“The product roadmap keeps improving, and it’s improving at a speed on pace with the initial launch, which was already pretty fast. This is a tool 84.51° is clearly committed to continuing to build, which is great.”

Ultimately, said Archey, “The best thing about 84.51° Collaborative Cloud for Conagra Brands is the ability it gives us to mine a large national footprint of consumer shopping data at relative ease and quick speed to get to the insights and answers that are coming to us most urgently.”

About 84.51° Collaborative Cloud 84.51° Collaborative Cloud puts clean, unaggregated, transaction-level data for 60 million anonymized households—updated weekly—in an easy-to-use, privacy-compliant, hosted environment that has been built to an individual CPG’s specifications and data needs. It breaks down the barriers for sharing, empowering 84.51° clients and partners to build their own analytics and data science with the best of 84.51°.

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