Freedonia Custom Research Study Sparks Media Frenzy with Eye-Opening New Data

MicrosoftTeams-image (13)Freedonia Custom Research (FCR), a division of, released a new study commissioned by the American Recyclable Plastic Bag Alliance on the impact of New Jersey’s single-use bag ban, which found that New Jersey’s plastic consumption tripled after the ban was enacted.

Due to the ban, consumers purchased reusable non-woven polypropylene bags from retailers as an alternative to single-use bags, but only used them an average of two to three times, spurring a significant increase in plastic and harmful greenhouse gas emissions.

The eye-opening data from the single-use bag ban study received a wave of media coverage including the Wall Street Journal, Fox News, Forbes, USA Today, and many other outlets.

For a closer look at this groundbreaking study and the research team behind the data, we’re interviewing Kristen Pieffer, Senior Analyst and Project Manager at Freedonia Custom Research. Read the Q&A below to find out more.

What was your role in this project?

I managed this project from the beginning through to execution—designing the research path, selecting groups and constituents to interview for primary research, building the demand model, conducting analysis, delivering the project to the client, and fielding questions from the media. We had several analysts working on this project, using a combination of primary and secondary research.

Most projects I work on are not shared publicly or discussed with the media. Usually clients use the data for internal purposes and so we agree to keep everything confidential.  

Why do you think this study received so much media attention?

While the client’s communications team played a significant role in engaging the media, the targeted data in the report was also very compelling. We were careful to bring out talking points in the report that would generate the most interest and have a wow factor. The scope of the project had a very specific timeline to capture the peak demand spike in 2022. As a custom research team, we can go very deep into the data, rather than focusing on the broader picture like syndicated market research reports typically do, and this allows us to unearth targeted information that can be highly insightful.

Why was FCR the ideal research firm to produce this study?

We are very good at sizing tough-to-measure markets and conducting primary market research. In our interview process, we reach out to industry leaders and participants and other important touchpoints across various nodes in the industry to gather a full picture. We are able to provide color around what’s happening in the market and how these dynamics are impacting purchasing decisions. Our in-depth interviews help explain the “why.”

What’s always in our arsenal is The Freedonia Group’s historic numbers. We start our projects by looking at Freedonia’s numbers. We may change them, based on what we’re hearing in real-time in the market, but the data we have internally from The Freedonia Group—such as the historic demand, key underlying factors, and different product types in the market—give us a good base of knowledge. When we do interview, we know the right questions to ask to satisfy the scope of the project.

How does FCR work with clients? What’s your approach?

We work to pinpoint the scope of the project and have a very specific contractual agreement that outlines what deliverables will look like. As a team, we are very communicative and share information as we’re getting it, so clients have the opportunity to dig deeper if they wish. Our proposal is clearly laid out with the metrics we’re reporting on, the narrative, and the deliverables you can expect to see. We substantiate the data in our reports in a variety of ways, through primary interviews and analyzing historical demand, and then we triangulate the best estimate based on this information.

Has FCR seen a lot of repeat clients over the years?  

Yes, I just got off the phone with a repeat client! Many clients come back to us on a regular basis to re-orient. They want a good understanding of the market and their competitors. For example, they may need to know how their competitors are positioned in each individual product category and channel. We are able to get them this very detailed data.

What should prospective clients keep in mind when commissioning a custom research project?

Know what data you have internally, the scope you want to look at, and the questions you need to answer. We always tell clients to come to us as an extension of their team. We work closely with the client to understand the reason for the project and how they will be using the data. Clients should be comfortable talking freely about what their intentions are with us. 

About Freedonia Custom Research

Freedonia Custom Research is a third-party market research firm that provides unbiased and verifiable market sizing, segmentation and forecasting, competitive intelligence, voice of market and value chain analyses specializing in global industrial markets. FCR conducts primary research, including in-depth phone interviews and online surveys of competitors, product end users, and suppliers, and has access to the entire library of Freedonia Group syndicated reports. This targeted intelligence can be especially useful for tough-to-size markets or very specific market niches with little or no available published data. Our experience spans a wide range of industries, with global coverage.

Topics: Market Research Provider