The top 10 predictions by Supermarket Guru for the upcoming year signify trends in the way people are choosing, purchasing and engaging with brands when they shop. Consumers are seeking convenience, better-for-you options and brands willing to support social and environmental causes. There is also a growing consumer interest in utilizing technology to research and commune around food.
We have already seen several brands employing these insights, with healthier and on-the-go snack and breakfast offerings, as well as innovative ways to reach consumers. Digital innovations include custom platforms, use of popular social mediums, and cause-based initiatives. For example, Unilever has united its brands for the Project Sunlight initiative, and Kraft Foods has used the analytics available via Pinterest to help it constantly optimize its content to appeal to its target. Both are making social media a central part of the company’s branding strategy.
Ultimately, consumers are more socially and digitally engaged than ever before — using the products they buy to help define their own personal brand. Successful companies help consumers tell their own stories by creating products and content that they are enthusiastic about sharing with others.
Supermarket Guru’s Top 10 Predictions:
1. The Emergence of the "IndieWoman": Almost 31 million strong, the "IndieWoman" is 27 and older, lives alone and has no children and spends $50 billion on food and beverages each year. They have no time, so look for more brands to offer more semi-homemade meals that use fresh, high-quality ingredients.
2. Better for You Snacking: The NPD Group found that as snacking increased, so did an individuals' overall diet quality. Healthy options are on the rise. Look for supermarkets to replace high-sugar, high-fat snacks at the checkout with healthier on-the-go offerings.
3. Brands Reach Consumers Locally Through Cause Initiatives: In 2014, brands will find greater purpose in serving the larger community. The ConAgra Foods survey found that 62 percent of consumers appreciate and want to support companies that donate to important social causes.
4. Click to Cook: People rely more on their mobile phones when grocery shopping. Next: the ability to select a recipe, order ingredients and check-out directly from mobile devices or in-car touch screens and drive-through windows for quick order pickup.
5. Supermarkets--The New Culinary Schools: Grocery stores will create "community cooking centers" where shoppers can collaborate and learn from each other, just as they have been doing in social media – now it’s better, and in person!
6. The Retailer Becomes the Brand: The ConAgra Foods survey found that 53 percent of consumers shop at a particular retailer because it has good store brand products. No longer will private brands just emulate national brand products, but consumers will see more private label brands creating new unique products.
7. Rise and Shine--The New Way to Start Your Day: Breakfast remains one of the most important meals of the day. In 2014, consumers will look to add more protein to their first meal, to live a healthy lifestyle without compromising taste and indulgence. Look for more protein-rich and convenient breakfast options.
8. Packaging Evolves to Share More with Consumers: Consumers want more information, but the area of the package is limiting. Using a mobile device, shoppers will learn more about an ingredient or health claim by simply focusing the device on the label to tell where the ingredients come from, who prepared the food, the company’s history and even offer other customer reviews and ratings.
9. Millenials Make the Supermarket Social: Fifty-seven percent of Pinterest is made of food related content with one-third saying they have purchased food or cooking items after seeing them on site, according to a survey by PriceGrabber. Next up: "click to buy" for consumers looking to purchase ingredients for a recipe on Pinterest and have them delivered to their homes.
10. International Restaurant Flavors At Home: From school cafeterias, to the dining room table, global flavors are sprouting up everywhere. Kids become exposed to global cuisine flavors much younger so, international flavors will be more accepted by these, and their palates will be more sophisticated. Kids influence nearly 80 percent of purchase decisions by families, so look for all shoppers to be eating more international inspired foods.
Tori Young – Brand Strategist / Team Leader