The Rise of “The & Consumer”

Today’s consumers want “the world” from food and beverage products, said Soumya Nair, Global Director, Insights at taste and nutrition company Kerry during the recent webinar “How America Eats: Creating Data-driven Success for Food Brands.”

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Based on survey results from 5,000 U.S. consumers, Kerry has identified what they call “The & Consumer.” These consumers are no longer willing to make trade-offs, say, between nutrition and taste, or convenience and sustainability. They want their food and beverage products to do everything.

Kerry looked at what’s currently driving consumer purchases to help food and beverage companies better understand where their current products fit and what opportunities exist. They identified 13 specific motivations along two axes: personal – social, and physical/tangible – mental/emotional. They also explored several food and beverage categories to see how well they’re meeting consumers’ needs and what needs remain unmet.

For example, Nair noted that “Reward myself” and “Healthy, my way” were two main motivations. On the reward side, consumers are looking for high-quality foods that satisfy their cravings, taste good, are treats, and help them live nostalgic memories. Meanwhile, on the healthy side, they want high-quality foods that meet their personal health, diet, and lifestyle needs (e.g., keto, paleo, high-protein).

Shannon Coco, Kerry’s Strategic Marketing Director, Food North America, then identified how food brands can use this information to identify gaps in the market where they can carve a place for themselves.

For example, salty snacks currently meet consumers’ taste and availability needs, but frequently lack lifestyle and health benefits. On the other hand, functional and nutritional beverages meet lifestyle and health benefits, but frequently fall short in the taste category. Salty snacks such as vegan probiotic cheddar and sour cream chips and functional/nutritional beverages like keto salted caramel meal shake powder can hit all of the marks.

Coco recommends food and beverage companies do the following to determine a winning path forward:

  1. Understand your category’s currently met needs – and where your brand is today
  2. Prioritize unmet needs aligned to your target audience
  3. Determine how you will differentiate and evolve

For more information, including details about the consumer motivations and additional product categories, as well as marketing advice from Magda Houalla, Director of Marketing Strategy at Aspire watch the webinar on-demand.