Many of the great brands exhibiting at Food Matters Live centred on convenience, snacking and health-based food and drink products. There was a clear focus on the perceived tangible benefits of food ingredients to provide energy and boost health. Bold claims on packaging included raw, low, free-from, organic all supporting the health-focused brand positioning.
It seems that the traditional guilt-ridden past time of snacking has morphed into something now culturally accepted, providing huge opportunities for more healthy alternatives, such as popcorn, fruit crisps and energy bars.
New probiotics and products containing ‘friendly bacteria’ also featured across the halls, with Kefir and Kombucha popping up in several presentations as growing food trends in the US and ones to watch moving into 2018.
The sports nutrition pavilion housed brands from SCI-MX to Goddess Nutrition proving that the ever-growing supplement market is looking to wider gender demographics than its traditional masculine reputation.
Wellness and health are main concerns for the UK shopper. Many of the brands we work with have adapted their packaging to meet the demands of today’s busy but health-conscious consumer. Shopping habits have clearly evolved, with a preference for little and often shopping, at smaller convenience stores, especially in younger demographics.
It is clear that consumers are willing to pay a premium for convenience and successful brands are those that provide time savings formats and options, with food to go solutions for the need it now generation. This has increased the supply of flexible packaging formats, that offer a range of resealable, closure features that keep products fresher for longer.
Most of the brands focused on small, snack size formats, with flexible packaging and pouches seen across the exhibition halls.
Sustainability was a huge topic of the exhibition and it’s clear that brands need to prioritise circular economy initiatives. Sustainable packaging materials, such as compostable bioplastics were discussed at length with speakers emphasising the added cost implications and issues with reduced shelf life would still be barriers to wider adoption.
A big consideration for brands moving forward will be the aligning physical and digital touchpoints, especially when it comes to packaging. As e-commerce purchasing continues to rise, marketers need to consider how their packaging will work both online and offline, from the initial point of purchase right through to final delivery.
As online grocery shopping in the UK still only, accounts for 7.5% of total sales though, it’s important that brands do not neglect the physical shopping experience. The new focus on experiences in the store will see a rise in more ‘multisensory packaging’ – where brands use consumers senses to nudge purchasing decisions.