Information Resources, Inc. (IRI), which recently merged with The NPD Group to create a global technology, analytics, and data provider, and Ajinomoto Foods North America, Inc., the maker of Tai Pei, Ling Ling, and Jose Ole frozen foods, have announced the expansion of their strategic partnership.

Having utilized IRI’s market measurement solutions and consumer panel information since 2003, frozen food manufacturer Ajinomoto Foods added IRI’s Daily Out-Of-Stock (OOS) Benchmarking tool to manage retailer expectations where Ajinomoto was experiencing low in-stock conditions.

IRI’s Daily OOS Benchmarking tool is one of the most complete tools of its kind currently on the market, providing CPG manufacturers and retailers with daily OOS views down to key retailer marketing areas and county levels. Updates through the OOS tool show the stock positions of both Ajinomoto Foods and competitors for key retailers and provides in-stock percentage history, including pre-COVID-19 periods, which allows for promotion forecasting and reporting.

“To combat market and economic challenges that have resulted from COVID-19, it is essential for brands to remain hyper-focused on out-of-stock and supply numbers to avoid short-term margin loss and longer-term sales erosion,” said Robert Sanders, executive vice president and practice leader for Health Care, Home, and Mid-Market, IRI. “Using our benchmarking tool to monitor in-stock percentages, Ajinomoto Foods is better prepared to plan product allocation to retailers, anticipate competitive threats, and identify risk of delistment.”

Inflation, supply chain issues, and manufacturing plant closures are among recent industry challenges that continue to trigger changes in shopper behavior, including retailer, product, and channel shifts. IRI’s suite of consumer and shopper insights tools provides companies like Ajinomoto Foods with real-time data on which products customers are buying, in what quantity, and at which locations.

“IRI’s Daily Out-Of-Stock Benchmarking tool provides us the outlook necessary to understand how our inventory position compares to the category and address any out-of-stock issues as necessary,” said Matthew Troyka, marketing director, Ajinomoto Foods North America. “Since adding this tool, we’ve also been able to see competitive issues and help ensure that our inventory is on the shelf where demand will spike and is needed most.”

IRI data shows that the frozen convenience foods category continues to experience movement, with 19% of the top product launches of 2021 being frozen meals. Ajinomoto Foods sales are currently outpacing the frozen snacks category.

To learn more about IRI’s Daily OOS Benchmarking tool and other CPG Economic Indicators, click here.