The Coronavirus and associated lockdown have affected daily life and with it our relationships. Relationships with people, from those with our families and housemates to employers, co-workers, and customers, to product and service providers, big and small. And relationships with FOOD that are disrupting how the food & beverage industry thinks about protecting and/or growing their “share of stomach” among their target consumers.
Now that we are past the initial shock of the pandemic consumers are settling into new snack and meal-time regimens with a renewed focus on personal health and well-being with a dash of comfort. Comfort in the sense of enjoyment and in the context of safety. Food & beverage companies know they need to keep a finger on the pulse of how consumers are adapting purchase and consumption habits. Syndicated reports are a good first step to understand the macro trends and inform agile research and development. Companies need to ensure the right pivots are made in 2020 and reassess their innovation pipeline for 2021 and beyond.
A few insights from our recent food & beverage research projects:
1. Consumers want foods that fuel their goals and souls. Consumers are caring more and more about overall balance and well-being and rejecting restrictive dieting; feeling good is more important and personalized nutrition is more sustainable. Consumers are gravitating less and less toward fad, or one size fits all diets, and more toward finding the right foods to fuel their needs.
2. The need for stress and anxiety busters is further propelling the CBD and Adaptogens market forward. Consumers continue to add functional food and beverages to their cart at increasing rates. They love the convenience and added value of Adaptogens and CBD in products they consume regularly. Adaptogens are defined as nontoxic substances and especially plant extracts that are believed to increase the body’s ability to resist the damaging effects of stress and promote or restore normal physiological functioning. They are at the heart of herbal and Ayurveda medicine. Common adaptogens are ginseng, holy basil, ashwagandha, amla and maca.
3. Desire for comforting flavors, textures and experiences. Comforting flavors include chamomile, lavender and other botanicals as well as essential oils. Gummies are making a comeback as are traditional flavors like salt and pepper versus the more exotic ghost pepper. Consumers are looking for simple pleasures. They are creating new comfort experiences by making frothed coffee or homemade bread.
4. Safety and sustainability are of growing importance. Value is quality divided by price, and quality indicators have been evolving for a while. During Covid-19, safety has risen as a key attribute of product quality; with consumers wanting to understand where their food comes from, what’s in it, and who is in contact with it before it reaches them. They say their heighten awareness of how illnesses spread will likely influence their behaviors post Covid-19. They also are very keen on understanding how the choices they make are supporting their local community and impacting the environment.
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