To create the best consumer goods and to anticipate what will come next, companies need to truly understand consumers’ needs and expectations. What do they value most and why, and what drives them to buy certain goods?
The importance of consumer research for business-to-business companies
Investing heavily in detailed consumer insights can help business-to-business companies become even more successful. If you want to innovate and differentiate yourself on the market there is nothing more important than understanding consumer trends and the evolution of consumer behaviour. Puratos(1), the international manufacturer of ingredients for the bakery, patisserie and chocolate sectors, conducts a consumer study once every three years. The survey, called ‘Taste Tomorrow’, was developed to identify changing market conditions and consumer insights, which are then translated into innovative ideas, products and recipes.
‘Taste Tomorrow’: nine trends for setting a ‘foodstep’ into the future
‘Taste Tomorrow’ is the world’s largest bakery, patisserie and chocolate consumer survey, conducted in 40 countries to gather data from over 17,000 consumers. The study was first conducted in 2011 and now, eight years later, the results of this third edition identified nine key worldwide trends.
Taste is still the number one factor when buying bakery, patisserie and chocolate. However, consumers want all their senses to be ‘wowed’. A feast for the eye, multi-layered textures & flavours are essential elements in creating sensorial delight.
Consumer expectations with regard to health continue to evolve. Healthy food is about less and more at the same time. Consumers demand fewer calories and less fat, sugar and salt. However, they also want more ingredients with health benefits (like fibre and wholemeal flour) and 100% natural ingredients (like grains, seeds, cocoa, nuts and vegetables). Putting power ingredients that promote health & taste in the spotlights is a key to success.
Freshness defines consumers’ perception of quality. Scent, baking time, a short shelf life, look & crunchiness all play a key role in this.
Craft is hot and consumers are willing to pay more for handcrafted products. This is all about food with a human touch that showcases the expertise of the artisan’s love for the product and the craft, and the sharing of tradition and heritage.
- Ethical Lifestyle
Food, lifestyle and ethics are closely linked: “You are what you eat”. Consumers increasingly want to make ethical food choices, taking into account their personal values and promoting the interests of our planet and the people living on it. Locally sourced food and zero waste packaging are important factors that reflect this trend.
Consumers read information on the packaging. They examine things like the ingredients used, nutritional values, the addition of preservatives, the origin of the product and allergens. Clear labelling and information from field to fork contribute to creating the required transparency.
- Ultimate Convenience
With so little time and such busy lives, consumers demand the ultimate in convenience. Buying food online and other technological breakthroughs can make life much more convenient. Digital solutions are becoming essential, also in the baked goods industry. At the same time, consumers don’t want offline shops to disappear. It’s all about combining the best of both worlds.
- Next Level Experience
Consumers want to be amazed and surprised. While taste is a crucial factor in the experience, it goes well beyond food. The total eating experience (the sum of service, sound, a smile, atmosphere and presentation) matters more than ever. Digital technologies like 3D printing and augmented and virtual reality can provide great new experiences.
- Hyper Personal
Food is becoming more and more personal. As consumers now see food as an expression of the self, custom-made bread, patisserie and chocolate are highly appreciated and will become even more important in the future.
Do you want to learn more about the survey, the key trends and how they can affect your business? Puratos will be present at The Consumer Goods Forum’s Global Summit in Vancouver, so feel free to visit us at our booth for more information or surf to www.tastetomorrow.com.
You can also learn more about the CGF’s work on topics like food waste, health, labelling and transparency via its website.
(1) Puratos is an international group that offers a full range of innovative products and application expertise for artisanal bakers, patissiers and chocolatiers, the food industry, retailers and food service customers in the bakery, patisserie and chocolate sectors. Its headquarters are located on the outskirts of Brussels (Belgium), where the company was founded in 1919.
This post was written and contributed by:
Group Conversation Manager