FMCG Trends

5 Trends that will Shape FMCG over the next 12 Months

With global uncertainty spreading to every facet of the social, political and economic spectrum, it’s no surprise that consumer trends are constantly evolving as priorities change.

That said, I thought I’d offer my insight into what I think will be driving consumer purchasing decisions over the remainder of 2024…

Greenwashing will no longer be tolerated

It’s possible to have too much of a good thing, even when the future of the planet is at stake, and I think we’ve reached that point with some of our purpose-driven brands. We had a similar situation with vegan food where social media hype didn’t translate to revenues (just look at the collapse in the share price of businesses like Beyond Meat and Oatly), and I suspect that shoehorning tenuous ‘sustainability’ credentials into product descriptions is now wearing a bit thin with consumers.

I’m not saying the issue of sustainability is going to fade away, I think it’s fair to say that it’s here to stay, but I believe that customers are becoming far more discerning, and the days of lemon scented detergent brands claiming to be plant-based and therefore good for the planet, are now behind us!

I for one, am looking forward to brands with genuine environmental credentials coming to the fore.

Loyalty will be rewarded

Supermarkets have stepped it up with their loyalty offerings over recent years, no doubt because demand is now being driven by the savings that they can yield. Consumers are feeling the impact of the cost-of-living crisis and are constantly looking for ways to reduce their spend on food and drink. As such, they are becoming less loyal and are far more willing to explore alternatives if the price is right.

If brands want to retain or expand on their market share, they’ll need to find ways to transcend time-limited price promotions to drive loyalty during a period where consumers are becoming far more fickle.

There will be a plant-based revival

I’m not suggesting that the plant-based revolution has fallen to the sword but as previously mentioned, it has certainly taken some knocks over recent times. Being closely aligned to the environmental movement due to its own sustainability credentials, ‘plant-based’ is clearly here to stay, but it definitely needs to regroup if it wants to push forward.

This is another issue that has fallen foul of discerning consumers and as an industry, the message will need to become a lot clearer about which camp brands fall into; ‘healthy’, ‘sustainable’, ‘ethical’, or a mix of the above?

Health & Wellness will be prominent

You may be struggling to pay your bills… but at least you’ve got your health. This only stacks up if you’re careful about what you consume, and the current economic environment suggests that Health & Wellness is going to be top of the agenda as consumers look to make the most of a bad situation.

Remember what I’ve been saying about ‘discerning consumers’ though? Brands need to be careful not to exaggerate their claims or risk upsetting shoppers. Claims of ‘fat-free’ foods that are full of sugar are wearing thin. The same applies to ‘high protein’ declarations when the only thing that has changed is that the original protein profile is now written in bold.

Functional novel foods and drink will get a free swing as consumers are less savvy to their proclaimed benefits, so this could be their year. But rest assured, if their claims don’t stack up, their time will come.

Backlash against shrinkflation

There have been many impacts on consumers resulting from recent economic challenges, some of which have already been outlined in this article, but it’s not going down well with shoppers when they feel that they’re being duped into footing the bill. Shrinkflation falls under this category!

Most people are more than aware of the impact on prices that result from high levels of inflation, and it’s been commonly accepted that prices have been rising much faster than normal. But when brands try to pass cost pressures onto customers by reducing portion sizes in a way that isn’t clearly communicated, it does feel a little like they’re trying to take them for fools.

I feel it’s going to be difficult for brands to revert back to larger pack sizes which puts them in a tricky position as we’ll find them getting increasingly called-out for their attempts to squeeze the margins

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