The year 2020 indeed has been the most challenging year in recent history, which results in significant shifts in consumer attitudes, preferences and shopping behaviours.
Mintel Trends has identified new opportunities in line with 3 Mintel Trend Drivers i.e. Wellbeing, Value and Identity. In 2021 and beyond, food and drink manufacturers will create mental and emotional wellbeing solutions, deliver on new value needs, and use brands to celebrate people’s identities.
Mintel highlighted that innovative F&B products will offer solutions for mental and emotional wellbeing that will create a new foundation for healthy eating. Prior to COVID-19, consumers are already giving attention to such products and ‘Wellbeing’ has become an even more vital concern with the onset of COVID-19.
Functional formulations and emotionally engaging multisensory products will help food, drink and foodservice brands to command a larger share of the market. Innovative food formulations will help people learn on how diet can impact mental and emotional health.
Consumers will also look for functional food and drink that claim to help people relax, focus or relieve stress. For example, Japan’s e3 brain sports drink which is designed for online gamers.
With the pandemic, shoppers are looking at ‘value for money’ products i.e. products that give the best value in terms of both quality and quantity as well as from the price point. Essential products become top of the list for many consumers in 2020.
As countries reopen for business after lockdowns, consumers seek hygienic yet convenience foods with clear labelling on ingredients so that they know they are paying a fair price for the value. In addition, greater use of blockchain and tracking technologies could help consumers to understand the various elements that make up the price of a product.
With the proliferation of online shopping platform, a brand will have much more competition than before, and consumers will have more choices to make from a wide array of options. Consumers expect brands to deliver the flavor and quality at a more affordable price point.
In addition, value of product now is no longer limited just to price. COVID-19 has made many to realise the need to support products that also have ethical (CSR) or environmental claims.
The following chart 1.0 showing that majority of consumers still view healthy food as too expensive to buy on a regular basis. As such, the challenge is to bring down prices to make it more affordable while not compromising on the value.
Value also differs across countries in Asia. The following chart showed that Filipinos place higher value on vitamins/minerals when shopping for food, compared to Indian consumers who emphasise more on products with high-proteins (see Chart 2.0 below)
According to Mintel, consumers’ understanding of community has been strengthened by COVID-19. As a result, consumers will organise in like-minded communities for socialisation and camaraderie.
Indeed food and drink has become a safe form of escapism during the pandemic, especially when consumers have to spend most of their time locked down at the comfort of their own homes.
In the next 12 months, companies will encourage people to use their brands to express themselves and reconnect with their pre-pandemic identities like their crave for travelling, dining out or attending mega events. Brands will launch more interactive products and recipes that encourage the use of food and drink as creative outlets.
The use of social media will be at the highest point for consumers to express their moods and opinions on products, while also linking them to a wider community of online brand fans.
One interesting innovation which has gained much popularity in China is interactive ecommerce where food and drink brands can adopt social commerce models in which the online shopping experience is shared with fellow shoppers and friends. China’s social buying app Pinduoduo invites users to share deals from a range of CPG categories with their friends, and a lower price is activated only when a specific number of people are interested in purchasing the product.
We certainly can look forward to much innovations online to attract shoppers’ interest in the near future while they create their own identities in the online space.