Tetra Pak reveals current consumer trends in F&B


The challenges the world has been through over the past few years had a great impact on what consumers want and how they want to live their lives

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Published: Mon 19 Dec 2022, 4:05 PM

Consumers now have the need to socialise, create memories, and engage in events and activities outdoors. The conflict in Ukraine caused inflation and resource scarcity that resulted in rising costs of living and food competition with fuel for money. The world is left with a stressed supply chain, an unexpected future, and a brand-new world order of fast-paced changes. Yet, it is worth reminding that change can be a catalyser for innovation, and Tetra Pak managed to grasp what consumers want in order to come up with appropriate solutions.

In uncertain times, consumers crave a sense of control over their lives, and knowing that what they are consuming is not hindering their well-being is reassuring. It has been attested that 77 per cent of consumers prefer to buy natural food with no artificial colouring, and no preservatives. Thus, natural foods and beverages are more likely to seem healthier to consumers. Moreover, Covid-19 has strengthened interest in immune health and thus in labels featuring vitamins and minerals. Fruit juices and nectars as well as dairy alternatives with no added sugars are a good solution to this market demand considering that sugar reduction, being of paramount importance, does not lead to loss of taste. Moreover, data indicates that 56 per cent of consumers in the UAE and KSA believe that plant-based drinks are healthier. A positive aspect of this trend is that it is now possible to cater to different plant-based market needs including flavours and ingredients. Responsible consumption and health benefits are then essential attributes that manufacturers ought to put forward in their products.

In addition, consumers are more interested in nature and the planet than ever before. They want products that meet their sustainability needs. Considering that 62 per cent of Gen Z consumers prefer to shop from sustainable brands, on par with millennials, the most obvious solution for market demands is to opt for a more sustainable business model. Sustainable packaging, recycling, and single-use plastic replacement are examples of how the industry can respond. Tetra Pak has been working on making the packaging it produces as sustainable as possible by concentrating its efforts on innovating in plant-based food and beverage packaging using raw materials such as wood and sugar cane. The company is known for its Forest Stewardship Council-certified Tetra Pak Aseptic range, sustainable and functional packaging made from paper, a renewable source, and ecological caps, which are made from a non-food derivative of sugar cane. Recently, Tetra Pak has partnered with Nuitree, a UAE-based company, with the aim of establishing a dedicated plant-based manufacturing facility in the UAE that provides comprehensive end-to-end processing and packaging solutions. Tetra Pak is actually aiming to create the future’s food and beverage packaging, a carton that is fully made from renewable or recycled materials, and that is fully recyclable and carbon neutral; it is calling this ambition ‘Go Nature. Go Carton’.

Moreover, consumers want tangible and measurable returns on their investment, and therefore, more convenient products. They want to buy the best quality at the best price and save money, time, and energy. To make food and beverage products more affordable for consumers, reducing size may be an answer. Furthermore, creating on-the-go versions of products can be a highly innovative way to adapt to current consumer needs as snacking and eating on-the-go continue to grow in popularity.

With data showing that 63 per cent of shopping opportunities are initiated online and 77 per cent of retail sales are digitally impacted, connected packaging is poised to become the next important area of innovation for manufacturers. Therefore, being able to guide consumers online through the products they purchase, whether it be to read informative captions such as nutrition facts, play games or plan their next shopping list, is highly appreciated and targeted. Who knows what connected packaging will achieve in the future?! It is definitely an area worth exploring.

Finally, talking to kids through products is an essential feature for consumers. Children's food and beverage products should be packaged in a fun and exciting way to keep them interested. Developing a packaging design can be challenging, since it requires walking a fine line to appeal to both the child and the parent or caregiver, but it is not impossible. It simply gives more floor to creativity and innovation.

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