The industry continues to struggle with growth as the US food and beverage retail spending between 2012 and 2014 had annual growth of approximately 2.6 percent which consisted of the annual inflation plus population growth of 2.3 percent. While food and beverage spending has been relatively flat, there is an opportunity for businesses to increase industry spending by evaluating current consumer trends and forecasting trends in future years. As the global population shifts, we are entering a viable millennial market. Millennials are changing how food is being consumed and millennials appreciate the convenience, increased options, and nutritional transparency.
Modern day convenience in the food and beverage industry is occurring through direct-to-consumer space with home delivery options evolving as a new enhancement for grocery shopping and meal preparation. An example of direct-to-consumer space is a company called Blue Apron that delivers farm fresh ingredients organized into individual meals for consumers to cook without worrying about the hassle of meal planning, grocery shopping, and meal preparation. The company works directly with family-run farms to ensure quality produce and support local farming. Consumers appreciate this concept because it frees their time spent on meal planning/preparation while consuming better quality food than they would otherwise consume.
Consumer demands are also shifting towards nutritional transparency and increased the availability of food options extending to plant-based sources rather than traditional meat sources. Nutritional transparency is very important today as consumers are making conscious choices to protect the planet and ensure the humane treatment of animals. A product’s ingredient listing and nutritional values have been proven to be more influential over a product’s brand name and package design. Consumers are becoming more interested in additional product information such as how the food is processed, handled or sourced and by providing this information to consumers, there is an increased opportunity for customer loyalty.
Consumer preferences in the food and beverage industry are heading down a path of ethical consciousness. Consumers are becoming increasingly passionate about doing the right thing for their own health, the environment, and the animals. This could make for a very interesting and exciting future in the food and beverage industry and create a ripple effect to other industries.
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