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5 Trends Creating Change in Food

We’ve all heard it said that the only thing that’s constant is change. But how you react to change is up to you – you can fear it or lean into it.

With our ethos of Create Change, we’re the type to embrace, get ahead of and shape it.

Trends are key, to helping us navigate, manipulate and disrupt change. Not the kind of trends that are fads and gone in six months. We’re talking macro trends, the ones shaping every aspect of how we work, play, live … and eat.

So, we’ve drawn together five macro trends impacting food brands and how some change-embracing brands are making the most of them.

1. Transparency: From cleaning up to stripping out

Consumers are moving from questioning the authenticity of food claims and seeking easier- to-read labels, to demanding a few simple ingredients and full disclosure.

‘That’s It’ health food bars with just two ingredients is nailing this trend. And Häagen Dazs isn’t far behind with its ‘Five’ ice- cream.

2. The Multisensory experience: From novel indulgences to everyday engagement

Brands are currently providing unique experiences that engage consumers’ senses on a novelty basis, but consumers are beginning to demand a multisensory experience in their day-to-day food experiences.

An example of this trend is ‘Oreo Fireworks’ – a special edition biscuit containing popping candy for the 4th of July which engages consumers’ sense of touch as well as taste.

3. Cleaner Living: From trade-offs to true balance

While consumers see healthy living as a series of trade-offs, producers are beginning to create solutions for products to contain balance without sacrifice. ‘Oh So Healthy Fruit Crisps’ is an exemplar of this trend as it combines the utilitarian aspect of consuming fruit with the hedonistic consumption of crisps.

4. The Value of Voice: From by-passing brands to branded apps

Consumers are using generic terms when shopping via voice assistants (e.g. searching for ‘batteries’) leaving brand decisions to technology. But brands have begun to create ways to gain control of the decision-making process by creating their own voice assistant technology.

Domino’s addressed this trend by creating a stand-alone pizza-ordering voice assistant, Dom, while UK supermarket delivery service Ocado, made a voice ordering app for Amazon’s Alexa.

5. Delivery Redesign: From accessibility to ultimate convenience

Consumers seek access to brands around their personal schedules (e.g. later opening hours), but they are beginning to demand that brands come to them at the exact moment when their need arises – no matter where or when that is.

Lufthansa partnered with German supermarket REWE to address the need to purchase groceries after a holiday by allowing passengers to order groceries in-flight to be delivered to their doorstep when they arrive home. Wheely’s, a store in Shanghai, also brought convenience to customers by developing Moby Mart, a self-driving store that comes to you.

Being a marketer is about making sure your brand is protected against any potential impacts of trends. Rather than fearing, or worse, ignoring trends, marketers need to embrace them in a way that aligns with their brand.

Fiona Lawlor Beirne is Research and Insights Manager at McCann Dublin.