New Kids on the Block
Industry upstarts are changing the foods that Americans love
In the mid 1980s, consumers could expect to see around 3,000 to 5,000 new food & beverage products in an average year—which seems like a large lumber. Fast forward 30 years, however, and today’s consumers are inundated with nearly 20,000 new grocery products on average each year.
Market trends are definitely favoring innovation as consumers flock to newer, trendier, and smaller brands. Unfortunately for “big food,” the growth of these upstarts comes at the expense of legacy brands. One of the biggest of the big recently issued a $15 billion write-down and has seen its stock fall over 40% in the last year.
In consumer packaged goods, new, upstart brands are often referred to as “challengers” or “disrupters.”
Forbes describes a disruptive brand as one that “…changes the trajectory of consumers’ viewpoint of the brand and the marketplace. They are vibrant, daring and authentic, and are often challenger brands, operating unseen below the radar until it is too late for the competition to react to their ascendancy.”
You don’t have to trek far to see disruptive brands in action: just take a stroll to your local grocery store or super retailer like Walmart, Costco, Kroger, Target, or Aldi. The shelves of specialty stores like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods Market are packed with even more trendy new food products.
For example, BrightFarms uses hydroponic greenhouses to produce fresh vegetables, which are shipped no further than 200 miles to retailers. Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat (which just recently went public) are creating plant-based “clean meats” that look, smell, and taste like the real thing. Chobani yogurt has turned what was once a ethnic, specialty food and turned it into a American food phenomenon. And Soylent makes “simple, healthy, and affordable” alternative drinks that provide protein, vitamins, and minerals galore.
You’ve probably noticed a trend with the above examples: all of these disruptive brands are focused on providing fresher, healthier, and more organic food. That’s because young people are more concerned about health and overall are eating better than the generations that came before them. Millennials, for example, make up over half of all organic consumers according to the Organic Trade Association. They also consume 52% more vegetables than the older folks.
These consumers are also interested in how their products are packaged. Metal cans are viewed as old and the food contained within highly processed. Conversely, food packaged in cartons is more likely to be seen as fresher and less processed. It’s certainly true that the sterilization process used for foods packaged in cartons spends less time under heat, and therefore requires fewer additives as preservatives.
“Consumer tastes are evolving faster than the industry can keep up,” says Pawel Marciniak, President of IPM Foods. “Today’s consumer wants fresher, healthier, and more natural foods. With Tetra Pak, we’re helping food manufacturers bring these products to market, both quickly and competitively.”
As an exclusive Tetra Recart™ partner, IPM Foods is uniquely positioned to help food and beverage manufacturers bring exciting new products to the market through packaging innovation. To discuss a packaging audit or to learn more, contact an IPM Foods representative today.