As 2021 comes to a close and we gear up for the next 12 months ahead, more and more reports are surfacing with a deep dive on consumer behavior analysis, the post-pandemic effect on labor and how tech can provide a solution to upcoming hurdles in the year 2022. In this particular article, while the links will be provided for inflation, labor shortages, and other important information that should be on your radar this year, we’re going to place the focus primarily on consumer behavior. Understanding what consumers want is the foundation to creating a great product. So whether you’re new to the industry or you are a long-term veteran in food manufacturing, acknowledging the distinct pivot that food purchasers everywhere have been making will have a direct impact on your success. And that’s what we are keen to advocate for: your success. Without further adieu, let’s dive into the prevalent food and beverage trends for 2022.
Food and Beverage Trends 2022: The Age of Instinct
In a report released by Genpact, experts refer to this time in manufacturing as the “Age of Instinct”. And while this speaks to manufacturing in general, as a software platform that regularly works with food professionals and their clients, we concur. This report goes on to say that in order to remain relevant in this new age, a manufacturer must pivot from simply manufacturing products and into engineering experiences. But what does that mean? Simply put, the consumer is moved to purchase by what the product causes them to feel. Purchasing has become an emotional experience, and we’re not even talking about marketing. In our post-pandemic world, consumers have become more aware of their health, the environment, and how the products that they choose directly impact those things. This is the primary reasoning behind the article we published last week around upgrading your products for 2022. (If you haven’t read it yet, we highly recommend as it covers the importance of simple changes that can be made to existing products to begin to align with consumer values to improve your sales and overall customer perception of your brand.)
Consumer Behavior Shifts How We Manufacture and Package Food
Put simply, consumers want to know that the products they purchase don’t just fill their bellies and help them proceed forward in their daily life, they also need to know that those same products reduce their carbon footprint and improve their overall health at the same time. This is what is meant by engineering an experience. It’s not so much about creating a chance to mentally ascend to the Galapagos Islands because of your Island Jerk Sauce. It’s more about the nutritional makeup of that particular sauce and the ability of it’s packaging to not end up in a landfill for 100 years, but be recycled to for a new purpose or be easily biodegradable/compostable so that the environment can benefit.
Experts Weigh In
An excerpt from the article written by CEO Bob Grote of the Grote Company captures the importance of embracing the shift in consumer behavior:
“Changes in the way people eat will continue to impact the industry in 2022 and beyond. Consumers are making healthier choices when it comes to their diets and nutrition. The meat alternatives market has benefited from these trends, growing 45% in 2020 – twice as fast as conventional meats. These alternatives are more environmentally friendly and the market growth is driving down prices, further increasing their adoption.However, people’s income often determines what they buy to eat, so with the cost of living on the rise while wages remain flat, a segment of the population will be watching their wallets when making choices about what to purchase. The supply chain also impacts these decisions. What’s available to buy at the grocery store? And what does it cost? The pandemic led many more people to buy food at the grocery store and cook it at home. This trend is going to stay with us, even post-pandemic. It may take a lot for people to go back to eating in restaurants the way they once did. Behavior has changed. This means processors have to consider how they package their offerings. They may have to portion them differently, for example.” (read full article here).
To remain astute on food and beverage trends in 2022, adaptation is key. In previous years, food and beverage manufacturers had the ability to more or less dictate consumer trends through clever marketing. However, post-pandemic consumer behavior hits a little different. The Age of Instinct is upon us. Can you keep up?
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