In the promotions business, it is obviously important to have a solid understanding of trends in the promotions industry. At GAP, we believe that deep knowledge of the industries in which our clients compete is equally important. We continuously look for opportunities to learn about the key trends facing our clients at trade shows, during client meetings, and through an array of trade publications. We focus much of our research in food and beverage promotions, and thought we’d share some insights into the Top 5 Food Industry Trends for 2014.
1. Promoting Product Quality
Consumers are showing greater interest in knowing where the food they eat is coming from. Food producers are starting to highlight the origins of their products and ingredients in order to regain customer confidence. Consumers are interested in socially responsible food products and are looking for terms such as “free-range poultry,” “natural,” “organic,” and “locally grown,” among others. These labels instill trust in many food products and often allow companies to command premium prices for their products.
Many consumers are also looking for products from eco-friendly companies. Men and women are equally likely to consider sustainability as a factor when making food-purchasing decisions. They are also equally likely to pay more for local food options. Millennials, ages 18 to 24, are more interested in purchasing food from companies that support a social issue and/or charity. The number of restaurants offering sustainable menu items has grown more than 34% since 2011, and sustainable menu items are up more than 75% for that same time period. Food manufacturers which produce items in eco-friendly packaging have also gained market share over competitors.
3. Social Media Marketing
Through the use of social media, trendy, high-quality and unique products that would historically have reached only small niche segments have been able to gain much braoder audiences. Using social media to create a customer experience that supports the sharing of opinions on products really helps food companies appeal to consumers.
4. Nutrition Initiatives
Enhanced attention to nutrition is key to improving public health. Some have found that Americans are willing to sacrifice variety and even pay more to eat healthy. Many food and beverage companies are are capitalizing on this trend by offering more nutritious food and beverage choices.
5. Healthier Food Options for Kids
The National Restaurant Association has launched the Kids LiveWell program, which helps parents and children select healthy menu options through a mobile app.
The food industry continues to target children while also attempting to appeal to parents. Using characters that kids love in packaging encourage children to ask for a product. Incorporating keywords such as “natural” and “organic” increases product appeal to parents. Parents are also interested in whatever might help them better organize meal planning and shopping. Food companies can utilize promotional giveaways designed to assist parents in these areas while growing brand awareness and brand loyalty.