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Fast-Moving Consumer Goods: Top Trends to Watch in 2018
It is shaping up as a year of contradictions in fast-moving consumer goods, according to GlobalData. Tom Vierhile explores the leading trends that GlobalData expects to influence packaged goods over the coming months
Sugar has been trending as the top health villain for a while, but signs are emerging that not everyone is singing from the same hymnal on this matter. Some food- and beverage-makers are celebrating sugar with super-indulgent frozen novelties, beverages and desserts.
Celebrating sugar instead of apologising for it may be an early sign of ‘better for you’ fatigue. If so, we could see more ‘dirty label’ (instead of ‘clean label’) products in 2018 that flout current health trends and celebrate indulgence.
‘I made it’
Nothing tastes as good, looks as good, or works as well as a product you helped create. The ‘I made it’ trend celebrates this sentiment and taps a growing consumer desire for control, self-sufficiency, personalisation, and transparency.
According to a Q3 2016 survey by GlobalData, a majority of consumers globally – 60% – say they find the concept of products they helped create to be appealing. Look for FMCG-makers to find new ways to allow consumers to put a personal stamp on the products they use and enjoy.
Make it regional
FMCG-makers are trying to connect with consumers by launching products with regional flavours, ingredients, recipes and more. Though consumers may favour local ingredients and flavours, localism is difficult for big brands to pull off.
As an alternative, big brands are connecting with consumers by using regional flavours and ingredients that tap into national and regional pride. Showing a possible road map for such innovation in the future, Japan's Kirin Brewery offers 47 varieties of its Ichiban Shibori beer, one for each of Japan's 47 prefectures.
Healthy junk food
Snacks considered to be junk food are getting a healthy makeover with ‘better for you’ ingredients. Snack-makers are using ingredients perceived as being healthy as a virtue-signaling mechanism to induce health-conscious consumers to try snacks that may have previously been off-limits for health and nutrition reasons.
Healthful ingredients such as avocado and coconut oil along with plant-based proteins are changing the face of so-called junk food. Novel ingredients like jackfruit and moringa are also finding their way into junk food, challenging consumer perceptions.
Healthful drink-makers are adding carbonation to their products in order to steal sales from traditional carbonated soft drinks, which are often perceived by consumers to be unhealthy. Coconut water, ready-to-drink tea, cold-brew coffee and fruit juice are among the packaged beverage types that are adding carbonation to give traditional carbonated soft drinks a run for their money.
Friction-free shopping is all about making the buying process as convenient (and in some cases as automatic) as possible. Advances like cashier-less stores (such as Amazon Go) and Amazon's Alexa voice assistant are removing friction from FMCG shopping, while establishing new purchase and shopping behaviours. Some appliances, such as General Electric's new Wi-Fi connected clothes dryer with Dash Replenishment reordering capability, can even order their own supplies, forever changing the FMCG world.
Declaring war on plastic
Solid waste and pollution issues are catching up with plastic, so much so that 2018 could mark the beginning of a ‘war on plastic’. Packaged goods manufacturers are beginning to move away from traditional plastic packaging, and toward sustainable packaging like sugarcane ‘plastic’ tubes, as well as bowls made from plant fibres.