With product variety, access to technology and instant gratification becoming ubiquitous, the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) market is facing notable growth headwinds.
Across traditional U.S. retail, revenue growth wasn’t able to hit half a percent last year. And, revenue growth was just 1% in 2016, down almost 150% from 2015, when revenue growth came in at 2.4%. Looking ahead, growth will remain elusive. That’s because a 2020 forecast from Nielsen, New York, highlights a 1% revenue drop for the grocery, drug and mass merchandise channels.
The combination of access to information and consumer desires for products that meet their specific needs and desires will drive consumption going forward, which means FMCG manufacturers and retailers will need to stay focused on attributes rather than broad categories.
Ice cream as a good source of protein increased more than 53% in the last year
According to a Shopper Trend survey from Label Insight, Chicago, 49% of U.S. consumers adhere to a particular diet or health-related eating program. Additionally, 44% say food allergies, intolerances or sensitivities affect the way they shop. These metrics complement findings from Nielsen’s sustainability survey, which found that 67% of consumers want to know everything that goes into the food they buy. Drilling down further, 46% of Americans say that claims on food products have a direct influence on their purchase decisions.
Case in point: Consumers want personalized products that meet specific needs. The ice cream category, for example, has struggled to find consistent growth in recent years. However, the overall category was able to post revenue growth of 2.3% in 2017.
Revenue growth among ice cream qualifying as a good source of protein increased more than 53% last year. And, as a sub-category that represents just 3% of total category sales, there’s clearly an opportunity for additional products and shelf space. But, protein isn’t the only attribute driving sales growth in the ice cream category.
Many of the budding sales trends across the FMCG landscape are directly connected to product transparency and clean label products. For example, products classified as “free from artificial flavors” account for more than $1.2 billion in sales across FMCG, and sales across an array of categories are trending upward, including ice cream.
Knowing which product attributes are resonating with consumers, however, are only part of the overall picture. Manufacturers and retailers also need to know which consumer groups are actively engaged with certain attributes, as well as where those groups live. Across the general population, consumers seeking ice cream qualifying as a good source of fiber are 34% more likely to live in a cosmopolitan center, 31% more likely to be Hispanic and 2% more likely to have children between the ages of 6-12.
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