Fresh is the Word
And how retailers are adapting to the trend
It’s no secret that the freshness of food—both real and perceived—has become a major purchase consideration for today’s consumers. They are undoubtedly more discriminating than ever when it comes to the freshness and taste of their foods and beverages.
Younger generations are leading the change. According to a recent Forbes article, “Generation Z is more likely to eat fresh home-cooked meals and healthier offerings. They prefer stove-top to microwave cooking and are more intuitive cooks.” The desire to live healthy is also helping to drive this trend, as consumers seek more holistic lifestyles.
The demand for freshness extends beyond foodies and health nuts, however. According to a Nielsen study, multicultural shoppers spend 21% of their food budget to fresh food, which amounts to $40 billion spent on fresh annually. (That happens to be 4% more than white non-Hispanics.) It’s no surprise, therefore, that global demand for fresh food increased by close to 3% in 2016.
How are food retailers adapting? The middle-aged casual shopper has likely noticed both a big change in the retail landscape, with more whole and organic food retailers competing against supermarkets, as well as format changes in their favorite local market as “fresh” transforms product production, sourcing, placement, and marketing strategies.
Consider what food retailers call the “fresh perimeter” phenomenon, or the trend for markets to put more fresh food (deli, produce, etc.) on a perimeter ring of a store to attract customer’s attention. The “fresh perimeter” is where the highest growth in these stores is occurring. An IRI study predicts 3.8% growth over the next four years. Compare that to just a half percent forecast growth in the frozen isle.
However, retail success boils down to more than just delivering a fresh product. With the latest generation of consumers, perception is as important as reality. (Of course, as always, perception is paramount to conversion awareness to trial.) Research by the Hartman Group identifies several dimensions that can trigger what they call a “freshness emotion,” or the desire for the consumer to choose a particular fresh food. Although typically no one single dimension triggers a “freshness emotion” any combination of the following can have a pronounced cumulative effect.
- Appearance of minimal processing
- Cues of naturally sourced ingredients
- Location in perishable and perimeter food categories
- Use of natural color palettes and natural packaging materials
- Product narratives emphasizing people, places and traditions
- Connection to indigenous culinary traditions
“The new food consumer is moving toward fresher, cleaner labels, and transparency is king,” said Suzanne Ginestro, chief marketing and innovation officer at Campbell Soup’s C-Fresh division.
So it would seem that the recipe (pun intended) for food producers is twofold. First, produce a product that is not only fresher but is branded and packaged in way that connotes freshness as well. Second, position that product in the retail environment in such a way to appeal to customers that transfixed by freshness.
This is an area in which packaging can have a profound effect on consumer preference. Tetra Recart retortable food packages are the latest packaging innovation for shelf-stable food products such as vegetables, soups, and other ready meal products. These refreshingly new cartons—which can hold virtually any type of food typically found in cans or jars—protect these foods and keep them fresh (naturally) without the tinny taste. Perhaps more importantly, their unique appearance can connote a positive vibe of freshness to the freshness minded consumer.
To learn how Tetra Recart ® packaging can both convey and deliver the ultimate freshness of your product, contact IPM Foods today