The outbreak of COVID-19 had a lasting impact on the Food & Beverage industry – both online and offline. Unforeseen lockdowns brought about a massive shift in our lifestyle and food choices. The pandemic brought us all back together at home and led us to spend a lot more time in our kitchens cooking together and experimenting with new recipes. What started as a necessity soon became a favourite pastime and social media frenzy. According to studies carried out by FMCG, 37% of global consumers now choose to replicate the big nights at home.
Concurrently, packaged food chains and industries saw an upsurge in demand as consumers rushed to stock on shelf-stable foods. Consumers also opened up a lot more to food and essential delivery platforms as they brought with it a sense of safety and convenience. Reports suggest that post the pandemic 84% of consumers use mobile apps to place orders from foodservice channels.
Another area that saw heightened interest was the demand for foods that helped improve one’s immunity or those that offered a positive impact on the consumers physical or mental health. With WFH slowly becoming a norm and reduced physical activities, people all over the globe took greater interest and extra care in understanding every meal and snack they consumed.
To understand how these changes will impact the market in the coming year we conducted an extensive study of various trends that were prevailing through this period and are forthcoming. We now present to you the four major trends which we believe will influence the food and beverage industry in 2021 the most.
Overall wellbeing – Focus on “Immunity-Boosters”.
The pandemic we’ve lived through has reinforced our focus on overall health. As the situation continues to be grim in certain geographies, consumers world over are seeking healthier, better-for-you products. Market reports suggest that over 50% of consumers now regularly research about ingredients that can improve their health. Among these, locally sourced ingredients have seen a massive increase in demand as they have a sense of homeliness and authenticity associated with them. Furthermore, many such ingredients have found mentions in ayurvedic sciences and are know to boost an individual’s immunity – which is the need of the hour.
Another area of interest among consumers is their mental health. With WFH (work from home) becoming a norm, and daily routines becoming a lot more indoors people have been facing a hiccup in maintaining their work – life balance. Under such circumstances foods and beverages that offer stress relief or aid in relaxing the mind are going to continue to be demand. 2020 already saw the launch of numerous such products and we believe 2021 will be no different. Launching products that capture immunity-boosting ingredients, and focus on reducing stress, improving sleep, improving cardiovascular health and so on would be essential.
With the advent of social media, consumers today have a heightened awareness and access to product information and choices. People are increasingly conscious of every product they purchase and consume, and the impact the product has on the environment. The ongoing global scenario has further increased this curiosity. It is therefore essential for brands to build trust among their customers through clean and honest communication.
Recent studies have shown that 3 in 5 global consumers say that they are interested in learning more about where their food comes from and how it is made. Also, 3 in 4 global consumers expect companies to invest in sustainability. Further, launches with social and ethical claims have jumped over 20% over the last two years, and consumers have responded well to manufacturers that are transparent about their practices. Nielsen found that nearly half of U.S. consumers will alter their purchasing choices to meet environmental standards and 66% of millennial are willing to pay more for sustainable products.
Through the coming years clear, concise and transparent information will help brands create a greater bond with their customers. The factors driving consumers to associate themselves with a brand would include the choice of ingredients, ethical aspects of productions such as human and animal welfare, supply chain transparency, and ecological viability as well as the choice of packing material used.
Plant-Based Food and Beverages
The growing focus on overall health and sustainable environment among consumers, has led to a notable increase in the demand and popularity of plant-based foods. As a result, the number of vegans, vegetarians and flexitarians are rapidly increasing across the globe.
The mindset towards this category is also changing as plant-based diets have evolved to look more aesthetically pleasing, busting the stereotypes of consisting of just ‘twigs and grass’. People today find plant-based foods a feasible substitute, rather than an exotic or expensive style of living. With the food borne disease scenario cumulating, people are more sensitive of everything they consume more than ever before and therefore it is anticipated that we will see more plant-based, grain-free foods and meatless burgers in the coming years.
The global market for plant-based meat alone is expected to reach USD 3290 million by 2025, witnessing a CAGR of 12% through 2020 – 2025. In India too, this change has initiated and is picking up with prominent industrial players and promising start ups investing in this segment.
Convenient Meal Kit
The ‘new normal’ drove this already trending segment even further. With the lockdowns being announced, food retailers struggled to keep shelves stocked since people were rushing to stocking up on products at their homes. The unfamiliar WFH situation caused a time crunch in our regular routines and thus ready-meal kits that were popular among other geographies found ground in India.
The kits came in as a relief to the overworked population. They met the requirement of a homely meal, allowed consumers to customize it to their liking and most importantly offered the convenience of time. Today, from breakfast to dinner and from snacks to beverages everything is available in customized ready-meal kits, without the constraints of the country/region and even taste.
With continuous innovation in flavour, variety and packing styles manufacturers can continue to leverage on this trend. Including local ingredients, and creating packs for diet specific meals would also go a long way in this category.
To find out the possibilities of how Symega can assist you in positioning your brand to stand out in the market shelves and cater to the needs of today’s consumers, reach out to us today.