‘Winning with words’: Storytelling leads Innova Market Insights top CPG industry trends for 2020

By Mary Ellen Shoup

- Last updated on GMT

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

Related tags Innova market insights food trends branding

Storytelling is one of the most potent tactics food or beverage brands can use to win over consumers, who have become more interested in the story behind the products they’re purchasing, says Innova Market Insights in its top trends for 2020 report.

Innova noted that as a result of this shift in consumer behavior, manufacturers are increasingly focusing on ingredient provenance platforms in order to highlight the taste and quality of their products, as well as their uniqueness and sustainability efforts.

Provenance platforms can communicate a whole range of messages to the consumer, including flavor/taste, processing methods, cultural and traditional backgrounds, as well as the more obvious geographical origin.

However, there is a larger opportunity to move beyond ingredient information as part of its stroytelling strategy.

“Although ingredient provenance has always been important, consumer interest in discovering the story behind their foods has risen further and is increasingly influencing purchasing decisions,” ​said the global market research firm.

“Increased consumer interest in the stories behind their food and beverage products and their notable influence on purchasing decisions has resulted in companies increasingly paying attention to storytelling in branding strategies.”​ 

Additionally, consumers' attention is piqued by opportunities to learn more about how products are produced, which promotes an understanding of product benefits and helps build all-important trust in the brand, noted Innova.

According to Label Insight 2018 transparency report, 86% agreed that they would feel a higher sense of trust​​ ​for food manufacturers and retailers that provided access to complete, ‘easy to understand’ product information including where an item is sourced from and the company’s business practices.

"Ingredient information is essential for transparency. However, brands and manufacturers need to commit to providing even more information to meet the increased expectations of consumers,"​ noted Label Insight.

Trend #2: Plant-based continues growth

“Plant-based innovation in food and beverages continues to flourish as a result of consumer interest in health, sustainability and ethics, which ties into the broader consumer lifestyle trend towards cleaner living​,” said Innova.

As the use of the term "plant-based" ​moves more into the mainstream, the industry and startup companies in particular, are taking up the challenge to deliver more clean label meat and dairy alternatives with improved nutritional profiles.

Trend #3: Sustainability mission

Consumers, more than ever, are expecting companies to invest in sustainability. In fact, Innova found that 85% of US and UK consumers expected companies to invest in sustainability in 2019, up from 64% in 2018.

Trend #4: Convenient nutrition

As more consumers get wrapped up in their busy and hectic lives, the need for convenient and nutritious foods becomes more of a priority.

“Stress and anxiety are key concerns in modern life as consumers manage careers, families and social lives while striving to maintain healthy lifestyles, both physically and mentally​,” said Innova.

“This, in turn, raises the demand for nutritious foods that are easy to prepare, convenient and portable. Indulgent treats play a role in relaxation and enjoyment.”

Trend #5: Tapping into texture

Adventurous consumers in pursuit of new food experience are on the rise, and texture plays an important role in this discovery mindset, according to Innova. Consumers are responding strongly to products with heightened sensory experiences that offer a greater feeling of indulgence.

According to Innova Market Insights research, 45% of, on average, US and UK consumers are influenced by texture when buying food and drinks, while 68% share the opinion that textures contribute to a more interesting food and beverage experience.

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