AFBR has identified 5 major trends which will shape the food and beverage industry in terms of consumer tastes and preferences, as well as identify the major factiors that can influence consumer purchasing decisions in the future.
The Asia Pacific region will see a growing number of consumers who belong to the middle age to senior category (i.e. 45 and above) by 2040, and with that, there will be increasing demand for products that cater to these consumer groups, i.e. products which are easily digestible and with high fiber, high protein and other nutrients and yet do not compromise in terms of taste. This is because the senior citizens in the cities will have higher disposable incomes compared to the general population but they would not want to compromise the pleasure of food.
Affordability gains precedence
With rising cost of living, consumers seek products that are ‘value for money’ i.e. affordable to their pockets, and this will become even more important in the future as the global population reach 10 billion in 2050. With limited resources, prices of goods and services will only go up, and consumers have to carefully select products that match to their limited budgets.
Shopping will become a more ‘painful’ and time-consuming activity as consumers will spend more time reading on product labels and evaluate its nutritional and other benefits against prices before making their purchasing decisions.
Linking Technology with Food
The near future will witness the proliferation of new technologies including AI to influence consumer purchasing decisions as well as their opinion of certain brands of food and beverages. As consumers seek more information, the availability of AI or online platform that can provide complete information from prices to nutritional contents, product/variants availability to store locations etc. will certainly be helpful in the future. The use of robots and vending machines to prepare and deliver food will also reduce consumer interactions with vendors or retailers, as such it is very important for brands to build their product awareness not just on the retail shelves, but via various online and other platforms.
Balancing Health with Taste
Presently, there is an increasing emphasis on using healthy ingredients in food products, however majority of consumers in the Asia Pacific region still value taste more than health. It will be a bonus if a product can offer both health as well as good taste. However, a product that is very healthy but fail in the ‘taste’ test will certainly end up in failure. In the future, even products which belong to the category of ‘special medical foods’ require a little bit of ‘cosmetic’ and ‘taste’ boost to attract consumption by modern ‘choosy’ consumers.
Creating Positive Identity with Foods
In the modern times, food is no longer considered as a necessity. It has also become part of an individual identity. Certain foods relate to certain personalities, for example branded whisky relates to sophisticated affluent consumers of high status or background.
Whereas, consumers could ban the consumption of certain food and products entirely just because it came from a country or institution which does not share its ideals. For example, the recent Israeli-Palestinian war leads to many muslim consumers refraining from consuming products that come from Israel or manufactured by jewish-owned companies.
In addition, there is a strong ‘Green’ movement of consumers who will adopt food products that are produced sustainably for example, organic fruits and plant-based food and beverages.
Food is no longer just a tool for survival but it can also be a voice for the future. Businesses should focus on creating unique positive identities for their food and beverage products.
As such, food and beverage manufacturers must be constantly aware of these trends and fast to react to market changes, amidst the growing uncertain climate and political instability, in order to ensure long term success of their products in the marketplace.