2011: Now Trending in Food & Beverage

05 January 2011

By Maruta Bergmanis, SVP, Food & Beverage

Expect to see even more key influencers (in addition to First Lady Michelle Obama) jumping on board to discuss child nutrition and the fight against childhood obesity. These influencers will continue to amplify the growing problem in the US by educating consumers and encouraging them to get involved.

Consumers will continue to demand F&B products that have a strong reputation, but that also provide value. Although the recession will still be on their minds, consumers will show that they are willing to spend more money on a food product they perceive as trustworthy.

In addition, consumers will continue to rely heavily on technology to drive their food purchases.

Company Implications

In 2011 and beyond, it will be key for CPG food brands to show consumers how they are making their products healthier by removing salt, saturated fat, etcetera, and how they are helping schools and consumers become more educated about nutrition and childhood obesity. A recent study showed that the average consumer is more likely to support a brand if it is giving back to the community or helping to support a cause. And, improving education is the second biggest supported charity after protecting the environment.

When it comes to buying food products, consumers continue to look for three things: quick, easy and budget friendly. With many grocery stores now creating their own private label brands with inexpensive products, companies will have to step up their game and show consumers why their products are meaningful. This means increased consumer PR activities to drive credible brand product messages, but also increased social media activity.  This means brands will need to actively listen to their communities online, respond appropriately and continuously find new ways to engage and keep consumers loyal to their brands.

Technology will play an increased role in consumer purchases, both in-store and out-of-store. Through social media channels such as Twitter and Facebook and gadgets such as the iPad and iPhone, consumers have information at their fingertips 24/7. They can be in a grocery store and download a coupon within seconds. To keep pace, food brands will have to get out there and offer instant gratification for coupons, recipes and tips.

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