Consumer trends are constantly changing. The largest trend in recent years is the increased demand for healthy and natural products, which has snowballed into many other consumer habits. Trends like these demonstrate how quickly brands in the CPG industry need to adapt to new interests from consumers or risk falling behind. Here are some consumer trends affecting the CPG industry today:

Consumer Trends Affecting the CPG Industry Today

Consumers’ need to live a healthy lifestyle

Today’s generation of buyers has become more aware of the food they eat – a trend which has increased dramatically over the last five years. In the aftermath of numerous brand recalls, where specific ingredients caused detrimental health effects, consumers have been more careful about the products they buy. In fact, more people than ever now research products before they purchase them. A 2017 Global Packaging Trends report found that “37% of consumers in the United States find it important to understand ingredients on food labels.” 

Consumers are also buying more natural products and avoiding products that have ingredients with more than eight syllables. According to the 2017 Global Packaging Trends report, “91% of consumers in the United States believe that products with recognizable ingredients are healthier.”  Once niche, the demand for and accessibility to organic and non-GMO foods are now commonplace.

Ease of Accessibility for Consumers

Given careers and other responsibilities, consumers are extremely busy in today’s society.  They are constantly on the go, and this trend has not only led to a significant increase in online purchasing of CPG products, but also to a rise in demand for subscription-based brands like Blue Apron and HelloFresh. Due to these consumer habits, 90% of recent growth in the CPG industry consisted of online purchases. Some brands are able to keep up, like Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods, while other brands seem to be falling behind this curve.

Since consumers are always on the go, they tend to purchase portion-controlled, healthy snacks to take with them on busy days, and CPG brands are creating products that tailor to these needs.  For example, many now incorporate peel-off lids on packages to make healthy snacks more accessible to the on-the-go consumer.

Building a Personal Connection with Their Brand Through Multiple Channels

In recent years, smaller CPG companies have been able to stand tall with larger CPG competitors. Smaller brands are reaching potential customers on multiple channels, such as direct-to-consumer websites and applications, and partnerships with food subscription services.

And brands that are keeping up with consumer trends are also building an exceptional customer service strategy. Mentioned in the previous post on Brandless, this company built a customer service program on their social media channels while also building pop-up locations to educate consumers on the Brandless brand and products. Other larger brands have a large customer-response team that is easily accessible with questions or concerns. Brand transparency is extremely important to today’s consumers, and building that connection helps convey this commitment.

The Push to Purchase from Socially Conscious Companies

More and more CPG companies are putting budget towards socially conscious initiatives like giving a percentage of purchases to a non-profit organization. Coca-Cola has given to multiple organizations around the world to show consumers when they purchase a product from Coke, they are giving back too. Brands are also putting a heavy focus on sustainability, setting goals for the company to have a more sustainable future.  For example, Nestle set a 2025 goal to have 100% sustainable packaging.

Conclusion: Don’t Fall Behind

If CPG companies don’t stay on top of these ever-changing consumer trends and habits, falling behind is inevitable. Conducting surveys with current customers will bring valuable information for improvement – and it will show that brands care. Feedback and optimization are just a few ways to grow a lasting CPG company.