Capitalizing on the shifting consumer food value equation

Consumer trends in the food industry

The drivers of consumer value appear to have fundamentally changed, with far reaching implications for the food and beverage industry. This report examines these consumer-led disruptions and how they represent an opportunity, even an imperative, for manufacturers and retailers to reposition themselves with consumers and shoppers.

Consumer value drivers are fundamentally changing the food & beverage industry

The Food and Beverage industry continues to struggle with stagnant overall growth. From 2012 to 2014, US food and beverage retail spending annual growth of 2.6 percent has roughly mirrored the annual inflation plus population growth of 2.3 percent.[1],[2] Though the overall spend has been flat, there has been a shift in where consumers are spending. The challenge becomes finding ways to grow by connecting with shifts in consumer purchase decisions and evolving shopping behavior.

Consumer-led disruptions are compounding the challenges of stagnant growth. According to interviews with retail and manufacturing executives, consumers have an unprecedented ability to access information about products and share this information via social media, making it more challenging than ever for companies to manage messaging. In addition, many consumers have signaled a distrust of the established food industry in spite of retailers’ and manufacturers’ traditional efforts to keep consumers positively engaged with their brands.[3] To help retailers and manufacturers better understand the drivers and implications of these shifts, Deloitte Consulting LLP conducted a study in collaboration with the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and authored the report, “Capitalizing on the shifting consumer food value equation.”

Health & Wellness

What consumers consider “good for you” has shifted; when considering “Health and Wellness” they now take a more holistic perspective by weighing more product attributes, qualitative product claims, and longer-term considerations.

Historically, nutritional content was often the solitary consideration in purchase decisions based on Health and Wellness—and most consumers focused on a single element (such as carbohydrates, protein, or sugar). However, data now suggest that those days are likely gone: A 2015 Datamonitor Consumer report predicts that diets focusing on a single element of nutritional content have peaked and will be scarce within five years.[4]

In fact, today’s consumer considers many Health & Wellness attributes simultaneously. FMI’s 2015 US Grocery Shopper Trends report illustrates that consumers now look at many data points (such as qualitative product claims and quantitative nutritional content information) related to Health & Wellness. According to this report, the average consumer seeks 5.4 claims on the front of the package, and considers 9.9 nutritional content facts on the back as important.[5] That is 15.3 pieces of information related to Health & Wellness that the average consumer wants to know.

[1] United States Census Bureau, Monthly & Annual Retail Trade

[2] The World Bank, Data Indicators

[3] The Center for Food Integrity, Cracking the Code on Food Issues, 2014

[4] Candy and Snack TODAY, “Five-Year Forecast: Protein Craze Winds Down,” April 15, 2015

[5] FMI US Grocery Shopper Trends, 2015

Capitalizing on the shifting consumer food value equation

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