- Food and beverage companies can agree the shifts in consumer preferences are significant and have affected sales one way or the other, but those changes may have great implications than they initially thought.
- While many consumer trends have been attributed to millennials, research from Deloitte Consulting for the Food Marketing Institute and the Grocery Manufacturers Association found that evolving preferences, including health and wellness, safety, and social responsibility, affected the purchasing behaviors of consumers across age groups, locations, and income levels.
- The research also showed the nuances of consumers' evolving preferences. For example, consumers may choose to buy one product over another not just because one product is less likely to make that person sick but also because that product's ingredients are less likely to cause long-term harm to the consumers or their families.
Extracting the right meaning from these trends is crucial for companies. When consumers say healthy foods, they don't just mean traditional health foods or foods that are low in fat and calories. They also mean healthier versions of non-health foods, such as chocolate, pizza, or chips, as Target found out through its rollouts of such products for its Simply Balanced brand. Natural ingredients and nutrition are often what motivates consumers today.
For food and beverage companies, part of adapting to these evolving trends will be an elevated level of transparency with consumers, who will want more information about types of ingredients, where they came from, and how the product is made, packaged, stored, and distributed.