How F&B brands can adapt to changing world of food industry

July 12, 2018
With consumers getting smarter, companies need to keep in step

Consumer tastes have been the driving force for the food and beverage industry around the world for a long time. Today's digital and socially-connected world through the Internet, websites, blogs, mobile apps and online shopping have been one of the major reasons for the constant changes in the food and beverage industry.

Consumers are stating their personal food and beverage preferences out loud and sharing it with friends and the public through social media platforms. Information is being disseminated rapidly today, unlike the previous times where one relied on word of mouth, advertisements or reviews in print. Today at the click of a button they know exactly what are the latest food trends, whether it is a new place to visit, a dish to try or an ingredient to use. The rapid spread of information is shaping people's tastes and preferences.

The F&B sector worldwide is now slowly but surely getting used to the ever-changing tastes and preferences of consumers. In fact, they have taken this digitally influenced change rather positively and are now using it to their advantage.

The F&B industry, has taken big time to social media, as it provides brands with a free platform to interact with their consumer audience and market themselves effectively. In fact, trends in the F&B industry have guided the industry brands to step up and modify their products accordingly.

In order to grab the attention of an increasingly busy consumer base, food and beverage manufacturers will need to continue tailoring existing products and introducing new ones, to meet the ever-changing tastes and behaviour of their target audience.

Some of the major trends in today's F&B sector that industry brands need to take note:

. Demand for healthy snacks: Movie and television stars, bloggers and other social media influencers have been saying about well being through proper diet and consumption of nutritious food. Unlike earlier weight loss ideas, the focus is now more on health benefits like better sleep pattern and increased energy. Therefore there has been a great increase in demand for healthy products like quinoa, chia seeds, flax seeds, sprouted brown rice, etc, owing to it numerous benefits. Consumers are preferring food products that claim these values and focus on overall well-being.

. Matching consumer values: Consumers today are more educated and aware of global issues. They seek brands that match these values - like healthy and sustainable products. Consumers today want transparency on what they are eating and drinking - where it's sourced, how it's made, environment-friendly initiatives and other such factors. F&B brands should be more transparent with these and include them their product details with appropriate market focus and advertising.

. The convenience factor: Consumers today are looking for more convenience like being able to buy 'food-on-the-go'. This trend is more for snacks and breakfast items as consumers rush to work. Food products especially breakfast and snacks must have this convenience factor inbuilt for the fast-paced workforce.

. Demand for vegetarian and plant-based foods: There has been a demand for foods that are vegetarian-based and non-meat. Some celebrities like Jamie Oliver, for example, promote Monday as 'meat-free', which has an influence and shapes a trend in this direction.

F&B companies must follow trends and adapt their products accordingly, both inside and outside the product packaging. There must be marketing focus and rebranding to adapt to these new trends for brand success.