As we welcome in the new year, we are predictably greeted by the fortune tellers amongst us. Such world uncertainty makes an understanding of the future an invaluable skill.
Here at Ponderosa, we don’t fancy ourselves as fortune tellers, but what we can do is leverage deep, rigorous consumer insights in order to help make sense of an increasingly complex world. We have therefore chosen to release five of our top insights for the food industry in 2020.
Heightened health awareness has brought greater consumer choice for those pursuing a healthier way of living, one only has to look to the incredible number of apps we use to track our health habits and the number of nutrient specific (e.g. protein) based foods and snacks landing on our shelves. 2020 will see this trend will accelerate, the market will segment more and more. Develop healthy line extensions to enter and lead these emerging niches.
Consumers are seeking brands which have similar values to theirs, more people are shifting to plant-based and flexitarian diets. People want to know their food is ethically sourced be it from a human, animal or an environmental perspective; Greggs’ sales flew up when they introduced the vegan sausage roll. Added importance is attached to being able to communicate these values, Nestle for example are exploring labelling their food lines with carbon footprints. Brands should consider getting involved in local community projects, partnering charities whose missions supports yours; make sure you let everyone know about it. Be transparent, share information on your practices and be proactive in ensuring customers recognise your values align with theirs.
People are seeking to reconnect with craft, local and handmade products. One indicator of this is the rising popularity of food markets populated by local vendors. Consumers are taking a step back from mass-produced goods, particularly when it comes to food and drink. Highlighting provenance will help strengthen perceived authenticity and boost brand trust. In the absence of a strong provenance story, brands should explore design cues on packaging. Find creative ways to demonstrate your product has been made with care, rather than being perceived as coming straight off the factory line.
We are increasingly choosing quality over quantity when it comes to food. Strong Roots are an example of this, disruptors in the frozen food sector which has traditionally been perceived as cheap and low quality. They are the antithesis of this, high in quality which is reflected in their price; sales recently hit £41 million. For many brands this could mean a structural repositioning through the development of premium range extensions or diversification of product offerings should the master brand not be positioned suitably.
Data is becoming more adept at predicting and personalising our consumer habits, it is revolutionising the way we live. Amazon Go supermarkets have long been declared ‘the future’ of food shopping, but it is the smaller ways which will define the relationship of data and food in 2020. Recognise your heightened sensitivity to consumer trends and leverage data to tailor experiences, personalise product offerings and delivery methods. True personalisation of food is currently relatively underexplored, whoever takes the lead within this space will reap the rewards.