28 December 2014

Canadean’s top five consumer trends for 2015

Research firm Canadean has identified five trends which will influence consumer behaviour for fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) in 2015:

From mass-produced to personalised

Canadean predicts that the desire for craft offerings will become increasingly influential. Consumers want their products to be produced and manufactured on a smaller scale to ensure quality and to feel a closer connection to the brands they choose. By emphasising the exclusivity of a product and the care with which it was formulated, brands will encourage sales among a growing number of consumers who want to move away from mass-produced items in the FMCG market.

Healthier ingredients

According to Canadean, consumers will be increasingly concerned about unhealthy ingredients such as sugar. 2014 saw the introduction of stevia into many popular products including Coca-Cola and Pepsi. Over the coming year, a greater number of ‘better-for-you’ offerings will emerge with healthier and more natural alternatives. One of the main challenges will be to overcome the negative taste perceptions of these new products through innovation and reformulation as consumers will still put pleasure first. 

Spicier foods

The growing desire for hotter and spicier food is set to continue in 2015, as manufacturers will replicate popular heat trends from the catering industry to satisfy growing consumer needs. Brands will innovate in formulation by including spicier ingredients in meat, dairy, and snacks, as products infused with chillies become more popular. After the Indian and Mexican food trend, manufacturers should prepare for the next emerging spice cuisines from across Southeast Asia and the Middle East.

Fusing flavours

Canadean expects that consumers will look for new and exciting products which mix their favourite foods and flavours together. Manufacturers must continue to innovate with ingredients and positioning to encourage sales among consumers who want more than just traditional products.

Packaging is king

The large number of products available on supermarket shelves means that many brands are in danger of fading into the background. Innovative packaging that draws consumer attention will be vital for retaining market share and for brands attempting to enter the market. 

The use of haptics – including tactile packs, bright colours and reflective surfaces – will help to enhance the sensory experience, while matte finishing and the feel of a product can denote quality and superiority, encouraging trading-up and higher levels of spending.

A separate report from Canadean, Early Signals: Future scenarios that will drive consumption and product innovation over the next five years*, names packaging as one of the top consumer trends for the next five years. The company finds that brands see the new markets in Latin America, Asia and Africa as a frontier for packaging innovation and exciting new flavours. 

“...consumers are now highly aware of global culinary trends and want more experiential flavours. This means that Far Eastern and African flavours and ingredients are high in demand,” Ronan Stafford, Analyst at Canadean says. "The more big brands invest in targeting consumers in Lagos, Jakarta and Hanoi, the better they will meet the value and experience-seeking needs of consumers in New York, London, Madrid and Sydney."

According to Canadean, the next wave of emerging economies will have one of the deepest impacts on global consumer markets in the next five years. The impact of changes in consumer behaviour and industry practices in countries such as Mexico, Thailand and Egypt, and innovations from these countries that are transferred back to developed economies, will be worth up to US$1.66 billion worldwide in 2018. 

Stafford notes: "Companies have already seen the value in setting up innovation centres in emerging economies to help tailor their products to consumer needs. However, innovations from emerging economies are now also transmitted back to developed countries.”

Canadean forecasts that women aged 45 and over from low and middle income households in urban areas will be early adopters of innovation from companies investing in the next wave of emerging economies. Stafford said: “The low incomes of many early adopters in the next emerging economies means that manufacturers need to simplify formulations. This includes strategies such as using fewer ingredients to lower costs or investing in lightweight packaging that is still robust enough to withstand poor-quality supply chains.”

"These opportunities in the next emerging economies need to be targeted now, or companies will lag behind their competitors on not just opening up new markets, but in better meeting the needs of their current customers.”

*Canadean analysed 14 different scenarios across three dimensions: The value of successfully targeting early adopters in each scenario, the likelihood of it occurring, and the impact it would have on business practices. Canadean studied the consumption habits of over 30 different consumer groups in order to identify the early adopters of innovative products arising from the evolution of each scenario.