Food Matters Live 2017

With an exhibition as big and varied as Food Matters Live 2017 it’s hard not to come away inspired. But the biggest challenge for any business is to understand how they fit into the exciting future of food and drink.

Our insights team took the trip to London to understand the key foodie innovations, packaging design and consumer-driven trends shaping the industry.

Food Trends

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.

Key takeaways:

  • New product development focused on fewer more significant product ideas
  • Health, nutrition, organic, free-from all key claims for new products launched 2017/2018
  • Brands are seeking a no-nonsense approach to ingredients, with emphasis on the fewer the better, keeping to core natural goodness.

Consumer Insights

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.

Key takeaways:

  • Consumers are waiting for technology to help them find value and convenience
  • Time-saving, convenience foods will continue to rise to meet demands of the ‘need it now’ generation
  • Convenient packaging formats will continue to rise as brands look to provide time-saving

Packaging Trends

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.

Key takeaways:

  • Flexible packaging seems to be the go-to format for new foodie brands to create a unique point of difference on shelf
  • Sustainability is no longer a desire it’s a must from today’s consumer
  • Packaging needs to work for both the physical and digital worlds
  • 2018 will see the rise of multisensory packaging innovations to enhance the store experience

After the 3 days spent in London, it was clear that it’s a truly exciting time to be involved in food and drink. We’re so excited to see the potential for packaging to offer significant added value and bring a brands vision to life.

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