These are the consumer goods trends FMCGs will have to address in 2018, according to Schieber Research’s analysis of consumer searches, product success and failures, launches, disruptive innovation and company strategies, combined with 17 years of experience following the consumer goods industry, and a meticulous updating of our trends and disruptors database.

The 3 consumer insights that define these trends are:

1. Experience over products

Millennials’ and Gen-Z’s “experience over stuff” mentality is entering beauty, food and beverages: companies are responding to these venture-seeking consumers with new formats, extraordinary or out of context ingredients, and Do-It-Yourself, personalized solutions. Digitalization also enables offering a more compelling experience. This trend will affect not only sales and marketing, but also product development.

2. “Better for All”

Consumers tend to merge sustainability and wellness considerations, which we dubbed: Better for All (BFA). Vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, Non-GMO and other claims, as well as environmentally friendliness and fair-trade, are perceived as healthier, even when no evidence for health claims is provided. Today, BFA emerges as a legit positioning in new sustainable and vegan products, in F&B as well as in beauty, personal care and household goods.

3. Stress-Free

Stress management is a major concern of the modern consumer. Consumers today are more stressed than ever, or, at least, more aware of it, as Millennials expect better balance in all elements of daily lives. A 2016 survey of American households by the Hartman Group found that “anxiety and stress” was the most reported health concern among Millennials (born in 1981-2000) and Gen-X (1961-1980), at 35% and 31%, respectively (for more on that, see the Stress-Free report). As a result, successful FMCG innovation will resolve at least one stress point, be it time scarcity, a better for you indulgence, or simply having fun.

As a result, expect to see the following trends in FMCG in 2018:

1. Around the World:

Products offering exotic ingredients and ethnic flavors that “take you” on a tour around the world. This global, sometimes extreme experience, is especially appealing to Millennials and Gen Z consumers who are more adventure seeking than previous generations. Product trends: K-Beauty in beauty; matchaseaweedIndian and other ethnic flavors, novel spices in F&B.

2. Away from Home, at Home

Recreating away from home (AFH) experiences. For instance; some popcorn manufacturers at the Fancy Food (June, 2017) show said the popcorn boom (a variety of flavors and packaging formats) may be explained by the rise in binge watching, i.e., the cinematic experience translates into a “Netflix and popcorn” combination. Other examples include products that are generally consumed out of home, such as cold brew– are now offered for at-home consumption, similar to the rise of the at-home single-cup coffee in the last decade. In beauty, the spa experience can be found in ambiance products – not just personal care and beauty products (think IoT: what music / lighting can go with your product. What Amazon Alexa playlist can you prepare for the consumer, that will complete the experience?).

3. Storytelling

Positioning of products as local, artisanal, produced in small batches; sharing brand history and origin etc. to create an emotional connection to the brand; selling the story beyond the product. This positioning is usually supported by content strategy and social media, as well as intriguing packaging. Stories include: family, origin, personal journey, as well as environment, fair trade etc. (see “Better for All”).

4. DIY & Like A Pro

Consumers have access to more information than ever before, and they can – and want to – do things their own way. Personalization and customization is a way of life in today’s digital world, as is a sense of control. To top it all, more and more consumers want to feel more connected to nature. As a result, consumers take interest in kits and do it yourself solutions, which make them feel empowered and capable. Examples include: make-your-own (yogurt, masks, cream etc.), powered by YouTube videos and bloggers.

Gen Y/ Z consumers have grown accustomed to interesting, innovative flavors from out-of-home consumption, and they wish to repeat that experience at home. In food and beverage, manufacturers are following suit, with innovative textures and flavors which give a final touch to the home cooker’s dish, without much effort. Meal Kits are a huge trend because of this; as are condiments (especially oriental and premium); in beauty, beauty appliances and routines (for example: a cleansing routine followed by moisturizing routine) are enabling the consumer to replicate the professional experience at home. Ingredients such as enzymes, retinol, collagen and hyaluronic acid maintain a professional appeal in personal care and beauty products.

5. Minimally Processed

Raw and unprocessed ingredients that seem minimally processed and offer “clean eating” are leading health and wellness trends in F&B, beauty and personal care. Here, too, handmade and small batch tell a compelling story. Simple positioning is still on-trend, but organic implies ethical and animal welfare status, which is a stronger claim. In addition to F&B, in beauty, the organic and natural beauty market is expected to reach $13.2 billion by 2018. “Detox”, supported by shakes and metabolism boosting ingredients, answers the consumers search for a “restart”.

6. Plant-Based

Plant-based food and beverages are on the rise, as products concentrate on nutrient-packed and protein-rich sustainable ingredients. Examples include peanut and almond butter (indulgent, vegan and protein-rich as well as plant-based) as the base for snack bars; using ancient grains in snacks; botanical extracts; and the snackification of fruit and vegetables. Two notable ingredients are chickpeas and other pulses, and – still – coconut.

Vegan ingredients – supporting ethical claims as well as health perceptions – are prevalent in beauty and skincare today as they are in food and beverage.

Plant-based, relevant to many of the above claims, will keep growing – but micro-trends such as the keto diet (and whatever low-carb diet comes next) will create demand for animal based protein – alas, dairy and gluten free ones.

7. Functional made Personal

Consumers continue to expect specific benefits from food and beverage. Notable claims at the show were energy, weight management, heart and bone health, and nutraceuticals which benefit beauty and appearance. The search for better digestive health includes allergen-free products, as people suffering from gastrointestinal symptoms consider themselves sensitive to certain ingredients.

“Free From”, already dominant in food, is now just as significant in beauty and personal care.

Wellness attributes such as gut health and microbiome-friendly products pave the way to probiotic and prebiotic fibers, and a renewed interest in whole grains and ancient grains might emerge.

Apothecary – personalization concepts for beauty and personal care products – will grow.

8. Cross-Category Indulgence

More than a trend, indulgence is a prerequisite for other developments and innovation, and in 2018 we will see more and more cross-category innovation, intended to provide a surprising experience to the bored Millennial: mixing between formats, flavors and textures, to create a surprising and novel sensorial experience, translated into indulgence.

Skintertainment – such as “Insta-worthy” Korean facial masks or jelly-like soaps; and fun and humor-filled communication and packaging, that provide a fun experience, are key in addressing the stressed out consumer. Premium ingredients, such as gold, in beauty as well as in food.

9. Crafted and Curated

Hand-made, crafted, curated products, as well as rare and professional ingredients, that help differentiate everyday products – support a premium positioning for products.

Adult consumers search for a compelling consumption experience with an “out of context” ingredient. Flavor combinations, and unexpected formats or textures, are included.

Hand in hand with the rise in artisanal & hand made products, stemming from e-commerce platforms which are enabling growth for new brands, emerges a need for curation: hand-picked, often personalized, selection of products, that help the consumer find order and save time. We expect the curation trend to rise, with retailers and brands alike becoming a source for exploration – and filtration – of goods.

10. Urban Living

Urban, busy lifestyles call for another manifestation of stress-free solution – instantmulti-functional and on the go formats. Instant, “x in 1” (think – “alphabet” creams), ready to heat, functional and snacking formats cater to the urban, time starved consumer. We expect more brands to launch functional, vitamin-deficiency-defying beverages this year.

Would you like to hear us talk about Trends and Innovation in Consumer Goods, and how you can implement them in your own NPD, Marketing and Sales? Contact Us to hear more.

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