Innovate to interest post-recession consumers, says GMA

By Jess Halliday

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Investment

Consumer packaged goods companies need to change tactics as America emerges from recession, say the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC). Brand divestment and cost-cutting is out, innovation and targeting niche markets is very much in.

The advice to food firms is contained in a new report from the GMA and PWC, Forging Ahead in the new Economy​. Now in its 14th year, the report will be presented at a webinar tomorrow.

The top line message is that now the USA is emerging from recession, innovation is critical to encourage house-hold spending – especially in mature food markets and those aimed at baby boomers, potential big spenders who may be watching their dollars in preparation for retirement.

Strategies that dominated last year, such as divesting non-core brands, conserving cash, and cutting costs – are no longer deemed appropriate by the senior leadership of GMA members quizzed during the survey, which also drew on companies’ published data, analyst reports and government statistics.

The researchers point out that consumers are being more careful about their spending, buying different pack sizes and benefiting from volume discounts.

Emerging markets are also attractive, especially in China, Brazil, Russia, India and Southeast Asia, where middle class spending power is growing and competition to serve them is becoming stiffer and product growth cycles are a short 12 to 18 months.

The report strove to provide answers to the following questions:

  • How are companies learning to thrive in today's age of constraint?
  • In what ways are CPG companies raising the bar on performance management and exploring new approaches to category optimization, trade promotion programs and supply chain management?
  • How are organizations addressing a heightened regulatory world - to include health reform, lease commercialization, and a changing tax environment?
  • How are CPG manufacturers leveraging new opportunities for the future - such as social media and sustainability and growth in emerging markets - at home and abroad?

The report will be presented at a webinar tomorrow at 1.30pm EDT. More information is available at www.gmaonline/publications​.

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