The Food and Beverage Industry is becoming more competitive with each passing year. The consumer is demanding more and new entrants are offering different approaches to marketing their products. A new era in personalisation is dawning due to the expansion of online and mobile food shopping. As more consumers find modern life to be hectic and stressful, flexible and balanced diets will become integral elements of self care routines. Widespread distrust has increased the need for food and drink manufacturers to be forthcoming about their ingredients, production processes, and supply chains.
Following are some of the Latest Trends expected over the next year:
- The Need for 100% Transparency: Many consumers around the world lack trust in regulatory systems, manufacturers, and even their fellow humans. This compounds a pre-existing wariness about food and drink because of product recalls, scandals, and suspicion about large companies. The convergence of skepticism extends and enhances the existing consumer interest in the origins of food and drink that has been present (in some markets) for the past decade. As shown by the growth in natural, ethical, and environmental claims, widespread distrust has increased the need for food and drink manufacturers to be forthcoming about their ingredients, production processes, and supply chains. This places pressure on manufacturers to offer thorough and honest disclosures about how, where, when, and by whom food and drink is grown, harvested, made, and/or sold. Food and drink transparency can take many different directions, but the various claims serve a singular purpose: to help consumers feel more confident about the safety and purity of the food and drink that they purchase.
- The Healthy Food Movement: The frantic pace of modern life, constant connectivity, pervasive distrust, and contentious tones in politics and the media have caused many consumers to look for ways to escape negativity in their lives. Many people who feel overwhelmed are focusing on “self-care,” or prioritising time and efforts dedicated to themselves. Approaches to personal well-being vary by individual, but are increasingly marked by consumers developing their own unique definitions of healthy diets and lifestyles that often include following balanced diets and allotting time for relaxation. The challenge of determining the elements of a healthy diet can contribute to negativity and stress because consumers are bombarded with potentially conflicting reports as to which ingredients are recommended and which ones should be avoided. The often contradictory advice on what to avoid finds many consumers more interested in what food and drink offers instead of what it lacks.
- New Sensations: Encounters that appeal to multiple senses can provide consumers with escapes from the routine and stress of their lives, opportunities to make memories, or generate “like-worthy” social media posts. Food and drink products have used a variety of ingredients, such as turmeric, matcha, and activated charcoal, to create vibrantly hued drinks, snacks, and other food that attracts attention, especially on Instagram, Pinterest, and other image-centric media. Colour will continue to be important, but texture is the next facet of formulation that can be leveraged to provide consumers with interactive- and documentation-worthy-experiences. From chewy beverages to complex formulations such as creamy ice cream with crispy chunks, texture can make products more captivating for consumers who continue to seek food and drink that is perceived as fresh, functional, filling, or simply fun.
- Preferential Treatment: Motivated by the potential to save time and ideally money, consumers are sampling a variety of channels and technologies when shopping for food and drink. The latest evolution in shopping offer consumers prompt and affordable delivery, a curated adventure courtesy of subscription services, ease of automatic replenishment, and simplicity of synchronisation with smart home devices. Busy consumers are drawn to e-commerce sites, mobile apps, voice control, and other online and mobile options because they are advantageous to their busy schedules and potentially their budgets. For example, 65% of Chinese consumers aged 20-49 now use their mobile phone more than a desktop or laptop for online grocery shopping, which is significant given that 77% have shopped at online grocers for home delivery. As technology helps to make shopping as effortless as possible, an era of targeted promotions and products is emerging.
- Numerous Channels: The rapid expansion in the variety of food and drink retail channels will fuel the opportunity for recommendations, promotions, and product innovations based on actual consumer behaviour patterns. While this offers opportunity, it also could compromise brand discovery and endanger brand loyalty because custom offers might prioritise benefit, such as convenience, value, or time, over brand. Companies also could tempt consumers by creating products, suggesting combinations of goods and other options across consumer categories that align with online and offline behaviours. This new era of plentiful places to shop will pressure all brands to be more relevant, efficient and/or affordable in order to retain customers.