The food industry is entering a new era and the digital world is the main agent of change. The interconnected digital world has spilled over into the food and beverage industry and the adventurous consumer is at the center of it all.
This group of consumers is paving the way for marketing and product development as they are continually on the lookout for something new.
Discovery claims are leading the way in terms of luring the new generation of consumers to try new things. Anything from new colors, popping candy, mystery flavor candy, spicy and hot sweets to cooling sweets, these are the products that people are looking to explore and discover.
What are discovery claims?
Discovery claims are claims of discovery, exploration, uncovering, unveiling or unraveling that are aimed at tantalizing the would-be consumers into trying something new.
The digital, connected era has turned the world into a global village and people are becoming more aware of other cultures. People are curious by nature and what better way to awaken curiosity than with your taste buds.
The discovery claim surge
The statistics speak for themselves. From 2013-2017, data from Innova Market Insights have shown that the annual growth in discovery claims have increased by an average of 15% for confectionery product launches annually. What is even more interesting is that the growth in discovery claims rose by more than 35%.
The other claim that is gaining ground in the sweets and snacks arena is the bite-size claim. Between 2017 and 2018, products that claim to be bite-sized grew by roughly 20% and the main drivers for the growth were flavor, cost and indulgence.
Given the eating habits of millennials, it should come as no surprise, seeing that convenience and immediate gratification is high on their list of priorities.
Together with the above-mentioned statistics, the growth in global confectionery and snack launches have also seen a steady rise. Between 2014-2018, these companies capitalized on the market trends and new product launches grew by 17% annually.
Despite the surge in healthy living, health is not the main determining factor when consumers shop for new food items to indulge in.
Confectionary consumption levels are still on the rise and this is mainly due to its everyday affordability as treats and expanding on other factors like sharing, gifting and premiumization. Ultimately though, consumer curiosity leads the way forward and the food and beverage industry has more tools than ever to figure out what people want.
The curious consumer
The world is changing rapidly and people are more likely to try new things just because they can. The online world has made everything accessible and because of all the choices that people can make, they tend to become bored easier. This is where their curiosity kicks in and opens the door to discover new foods.
Consumer curiosity has driven companies to explore with bolder flavors and blends, interesting textures and a greater focus on visual appeal. The snack and beverage world are now faced with new challenges in that the taste is not the only thing that draws consumers. Not only does the food have to taste great, but the packaging has to be appealing as well.
Innova Insights have also shed light on the fact that the curiosity of consumers has given rise to heightened sensory delivery in combination with a hint of the unexpected.
Consumers are bombarded with choices and are attracted to the things that stand out from all the other products. Companies are placing a higher value on unusual colors and even personalizing packaging or making packaging more interactive.
Deeper insights by Lu Ann Williams study
According to Lu Ann Williams, millennials are an important consumer group, but the adventurous consumer is a much larger and broader group. Not too long ago, eastern cuisine was a novelty and reserved for only a small niche of consumers.
However, the adventurous consumer has turned the tables and their hunger for something exotic has made international cuisine commonplace in every major city in the world.
Wherever you go, you can find something to indulge your curiosity and provide you with a new experience. Eating raw fish with chopsticks isn’t funny anymore. Instead, the curious consumers don’t want to taste the food alone, they want to immerse themselves in a total cultural experience. It is for this reason that food has become more than just nutrition.
Food has become entertainment for the curious consumer and finding new ways to enjoy their food has become something of a social event. Restaurants have also picked up on the new trends and now have tasting menus for the cuisine explorers.
On the other hand, the curious consumer doesn’t have to go to a fancy restaurant to experience something new. Online shopping has opened the culinary world to everyone who needs to try out new things.
Williams also mentioned meal kits are on the rise. Even though the number of consumers who want to try new foods is on the rise, not everyone knows their way around a kitchen like Jamie Oliver or Nigella Watson.
Now, this is where the meal kit comes in. Consumers who don’t have the confidence to create foreign dishes, let alone bacon and eggs, are turning to meal kits to aid them in the search of their next culinary experience.
In the Netherlands, retailers have turned to meal kits to satisfy their consumers’ curiosity and to take the heat out of the kitchen. In the produce sections, they have begun to stock everything from tomato soup to new takes on classic meals.
The mid-1990s were the turning point in the food industry. Functional foods took hold in Europe, whereas the US got on the low-fat train. Globalization started and the food industry was also caught in the ripple effect.
Now, start-up companies are beginning to become major players in the food industry and the leading food companies also have to change their way of thinking if they are to stay relevant in this new era.