• Further digitisation – enabled by blockchain and AI – will deliver real-time visibility,  bolstering supply chain management
  • Local and regional sourcing practices that reduce environmental impact a direct consequence of shifting consumer habits


LONDON and PARIS, 21st June 2021 – Chief executives at leading grocery retailer and consumer goods companies see supply chain visibility and personalisation as key drivers of growth, according to a new joint research paper by PwC and The Consumer Goods Forum.

The report, launched today at The Consumer Goods Forum’s 2021 virtual Global Summit, interviewed 16 leaders from the consumer goods industry and identified what they envisioned for the future. The paper found that COVID-19 underlined the urgency of making supply chains more transparent by addressing environmental and business concerns, and that technology will drive the hyper-personalisation of products and offers from retailers.

Consumer goods leaders agreed that further digitisation of the supply chain, enabled by blockchain and AI, will be needed to gain the real-time visibility of a product’s origin, which consumers increasingly demand. More than half of consumers (55%) in PwC’s 2021 Global Consumer Insights Survey say they agree that transparency and traceability are important factors when buying products.

Companies are also looking to adopt more local and regional sourcing practices that reduce environmental impact, help stabilise the supply chain, and promote community engagement. This is driven by an increasing consumer preference to support local businesses. 52% of consumers globally say they have been doing more to support local business and independent retailers since the pandemic started.

 “Changing consumer behaviours have made sophisticated digital capabilities a must for CEOs, with the emphasis on creating a digital chain-of-custody and ensuring traceable sourcing. The challenge for companies will be to re-examine their supply chains to develop a deeper understanding of risk in terms of sourcing and potential disruptions while considering alternative, sustainable sourcing practices.” said Sabine Durand-Hayes, Global Consumer Markets Leader, PwC.

The report also found that a wide range of industry changes, accelerated by COVID-19, are likely to last. These changes include the fusing of physical and online worlds in retail, ESG being recognised as one of the key drivers of corporate value, and the growing demand for healthier, sustainable and personalised product offerings.

According to leaders, brands that can meet consumer demands for greater relevance, care and personalisation can realise benefits that ultimately go to the bottom line. These findings suggest that while trust might not be a physical asset, it can have tangible business results. The more consumers trust brands, the more willing they are to engage with them and share personal information, creating a virtuous circle that benefits both parties.

“With changing consumer demands and a wide range of information and preferences available, retailers and consumer packaged goods companies now face the challenge to prove they care for the planet and its people and are able to deliver more personalised products and shopping experiences in a way that is cost-effective. Those companies that find the right balance will convert trust into brand equity. We are confident our members can be at the forefront of the change that is needed as we look to build better lives through better business,” said Wai-Chan Chan, Managing Director, The Consumer Goods Forum.




Notes to Editors

Following an initial approach by The Consumer Goods Forum, PwC scheduled and conducted 16 interviews with executives from consumer goods companies. Each interview was led by the Global Relationship Partner (GRP) and a senior interviewer from PwC Research. The conversations focused around six main topics: Brand relevance, ESG, Store of the future, Supply chain, Future of food and Overall business growth. During the interview, the CEOs were encouraged to bring in their personal reflections, perception, and vision to the research themes. To download the full paper, visit pwc.com/whats-next

About The Consumer Goods Forum

The Consumer Goods Forum (“CGF”) is a global, parity-based industry network that is driven by its members to encourage the global adoption of practices and standards that serves the consumer goods industry worldwide. It brings together the CEOs and senior management of some 400 retailers, manufacturers, service providers, and other stakeholders across 70 countries, and it reflects the diversity of the industry in geography, size, product category and format. Its member companies have combined sales of EUR 3.5 trillion and directly employ nearly 10 million people, with a further 90 million related jobs estimated along the value chain. It is governed by its Board of Directors, which comprises 57 manufacturer and retailer CEOs. For more information, please visit: www.theconsumergoodsforum.com.

About PwC

At PwC, our purpose is to build trust in society and solve important problems. PwC is a network of firms in 155 countries with more than 284,000 people who are committed to delivering quality in assurance, advisory and tax services. Find out more and tell us what matters to you by visiting us at www.pwc.com.

For further information, please contact:

Neil Wilson, PwC Global Corporate Affairs & Communications
Mobile: (+44) 748 340 7462
Email: neil.w.wilson@pwc.com

Lee Green, Communications Director, The Consumer Goods Forum
Email: l.green@theconsumergoodsforum.com