Paul Hargreaves: Trends at the start of 2020
As I write this I have just come back to the office after the first of our new brand launch events in 2020. At the start of this new decade, there are three main trends that will continue to dominate this year and beyond.
The first is quality of product. I have been privileged to be at the forefront of the speciality food world for the past twenty years and Cotswold Fayre happened to start just before the turn of this millennium when the desire for quality in what we eat, and drink, gained greater significance for UK consumers. Just looking now at my millennial children, they are so much more interested in what they put inside their bodies than I was in my early twenties. This trend is set to continue, and poor-quality products made with inferior ingredients are no longer acceptable to those that can afford to eat better. The challenge for all of us is to make eating quality food not just something for the affluent.
Secondly, healthy eating is with us to stay. Just looking at the number of snack brands we have launched this year, such as Wholesums and Go Bites, the low number of calories are a key part of their on-pack information. It is the same in the soft drink space, such as Dash and Trip, the vast majority of new drinks are all about the sugar they don’t have within them as much as the flavours of the drinks themselves. Many are now eating and drinking healthily much of the time with perhaps a little deserved indulgence at the weekend. This is how I live, and it feels about right.
Finally, and perhaps, most importantly, we are in the middle of a packaging revolution. Even a year ago retailers were not asking us the questions they are asking now, and any brand must be taking steps to make their packaging more sustainable. I was impressed at our new brand launch event last week how many had plans in the early part of 2020 to improve their sustainability. In some areas, particularly chilled, the technology still must develop in the areas of non-plastic alternatives, but the advances will be meteoric in the coming year. As retailers we should be applying pressure wherever we can to speed the transformation.
It’s an exciting time for the industry as the pace of change is faster than I have known it for the 20 years I have been involved. Hold onto your seat-belts!