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Mintel, the experts in what consumers want and why, has announced Global Packaging Trends for 2023, featuring a PESTEL analysis* that explores the macro-environmental factors impacting the packaging industry in 2023 and beyond.

David Luttenberger, CPPL, Global Packaging Director at Mintel, examined the political, economic, social, technological, environmental, and legal factors impacting global packaging evaluations, planning, and decision-making: “The decision to use a PESTEL analysis was based on the fact that currently there are so many extraordinary outside influences on package innovation and the packaging supply chain. Pressures from the environmental perspective, the conflict in Ukraine, global inflation, social issues, legal challenges, extended producer responsibility, and other forces mean packaging must navigate new and more challenging routes to market. The PESTEL format enables us to succinctly identify the opportunities and present clear recommendations to retailers, brand owners, and package manufacturers.”

Economic factors impacting packaging

“Economic uncertainty and the associated rising cost of goods have forced consumers to rethink budgets and discretionary spending. Across categories, brands are tapping messaging, technology, and retail strategies to show consumers how packaging can stretch a budget.

“Consumers will look to brands to help them overcome economic-induced stresses with products and packaging that mesh with purchasing abilities and reflect value without compromise. Offering packaging that represents financial value propositions, while not compromising quality, convenience, freshness, safety, and environmental responsibility, will be a differentiator in 2023 and beyond.”

Social factors impacting packaging

“From food shortages and ethical sourcing to responsible water and land use, consumers want to know more about the products they buy and the brands that produce them. In addition to achievements, brands and package manufacturers must be transparent about their weaknesses. Consumers are pursuing transparency through clearer labeling and what those claims mean for the greater good.

“In the future, packaging will paint a picture of a brand’s equity, which increasingly includes social and environmental capital. Consumers want to hear what companies have to say on controversial topics related to diversity, inclusion, and equity.”

Legal factors impacting packaging

“A myriad of laws have been enacted to protect consumers from deceptive or fraudulent business practices. New rules around the use of plastics and pollution-causing materials, as well as protecting human and planetary health, will greatly affect consumers. To get ahead and stay competitive, companies must get a firm grip on current and future legislation around plastics, PFAS, and EPR.”

“Consumers will rally behind legislation that benefits the environment. Their support will spur additional bans which will put significant cost pressures on manufacturers in their quest to meet mandates and find suitable, though more costly, alternatives.”

Packaging perspective of Mintel’s 2023 Global Trends

also discusses the packaging industry implications of the 2023 Global Food and Drink, Beauty and Personal Care, and Household Care Trends, including the future of packaging within these industries.

“The macro factors impacting packaging are universal across all end-use categories, including what my colleagues outline in Mintel’s 2023 Global Food and Drink, Beauty and Personal Care, and Household Care Trends. How the challenges manifest within each category varies, but the data, insights, and expert recommendations are applicable and actionable across all end-use categories, package formats, and regional markets,” continued Luttenberger.

Food and drink packaging trends

“Although costs of living are rising globally, consumers will not be motivated solely by low prices in 2023. They will find value in affordable food and drink that promises clarity, nutrition, and versatility. Package manufacturers must enable clear communication of added-value nutritional content and provide efficient portioning and product preparation. Clean packaging designs that highlight natural ingredients and health benefits will stand out to shoppers. In the future, brands seeking to be trusted partners in the kitchen need to take energy consumption into account and deliver packaging that enables energy-efficient cooking.”

Beauty and personal care packaging trends

“Post-pandemic consumers are seeking experimentation, social responsibility, and value from brands in-store and online. Package manufacturers must deliver physical, emotional, visual, digital, and environmental attributes that mesh with consumers’ changing lifestyles. Packaging remains not only a constant but an integral part of the beauty consumer experience—whether through new eco-responsible structures and materials, 100 % product evacuation dispensing systems, messaging about eco-attributes, or messaging about a brand’s values. Companies must create strategies that embrace next-generation package technologies to connect with consumers at retail, at home, and in any/all channels they prefer.”

Household care packaging trends

“The inward focus on one’s self and the planet has become intertwined with saving money in the household care space. That triad of forces has created new opportunities that will redefine the definitions of responsibility and value. Companies must invest in innovations that optimise such parameters as cube efficiency, weight reduction, materials management, extended shelf-life, and end-of-life or second-life scenarios. The key to delivering the next generation of household care packaging will be simple design, convenient dispensing, and an overt display of environmental and social responsibility.”

*A PESTEL analysis is a framework used to analyse and monitor the macro-environmental factors that have an impact on an organisation, company, or industry examining the Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Environmental and Legal factors impacting global packaging evaluations, planning and decision-making.

The use of vitamins, minerals, and dietary supplements (VMS) among Americans is on the rise. According to new research from Mintel, among the 78 % of Americans who are vitamin1 users, a third (34 %) have increased their usage since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, including nearly half (47 %) of Millennials. In line with consumers overall, Millennials say supporting their overall physical health (66 %) and immune system (62 %) are the top two reasons for VMS use. However, Millennials (43 %) prioritise VMS use to support their mental well-being more than consumers overall (34 %).

While sales of VMS surged during the pandemic, increasing an impressive 22 % between 2019-20 to reach USD 31.52 billion in 2020, growth leveled out in 2022 when sales grew an estimated 4.1 % to reach USD 35.64 billion. Sales are set to grow a further 5 % in 2023 when the market is expected to hit an estimated USD 37.44 billion.

Dorothy Kotscha, Health and Wellness Analyst, Mintel Reports US, said: “While the pandemic negatively impacted multiple areas of consumers’ lives, the shift it created in how consumers view and approach their health has benefitted health and wellness brands, particularly within the vitamin, mineral, and dietary supplements (VMS) space. Immune health concerns no longer only hold seasonal significance and consumers have a heightened focus on the importance of both physical and mental well-being. As greater attention is placed on one’s mental health, VMS brands can tap into this trend by focusing on formulas that contain brain-boosting and mood-regulating ingredients such as magnesium, vitamin D, curcumin, and L-theanine.

“Our research shows that consumers are taking lessons learned from the pandemic to create health routines around VMS products; however, there are signs of fatigue within the market. Usage of multivitamins, for example, has remained flat over the past year, indicating that interest is being directed elsewhere. Brands will need to focus on innovation and emerging health concerns in order to embrace changing consumer sentiment. Ingredient transparency will be increasingly important as consumers seek to understand the role ingredients play in their VMS products.”

Consumers show interest in single-letter vitamins and supplements

The majority of consumers take some sort of vitamin or supplement: 78 % take a vitamin and 64 % take a supplement. While use of vitamins remained flat over the past two years (77 % in 2021), usage of supplements increased by 13 percentage points, up from 51 % in 2021. Specifically, single-letter vitamins and mineral supplements have seen a gradual uptick in usage over the last five years: single-letter vitamin use increased from 47 % in 2018 to 52 % in 2022, while mineral supplement use increased from 33 % to 42 %. Mintel research shows that consumers are looking to optimise their health by focusing on vitamins and minerals they may be lacking for a more personalised approach, rather than a one-size-fits-all multivitamin.

“Customisation and personalisation are more important than ever as consumers are increasingly interested in broadening their approach to health. Single-letter vitamins may erode the widespread usage of multivitamins as consumers desire greater control over their VMS regimens. Major VMS players should take a close look at ways to offer customised products in a variety of formats and distribution channels in order to optimise the way that they meet their customers’ unique needs,” concluded Kotscha.

1Including multivitamins (products that contain a combination of vitamins in one), and one- and two-letter vitamins (products that contain only one or two specific letter vitamins such as vitamin C tablets)

Despite being digital natives, Gen Z consumers have started to exhibit some self-awareness and are questioning if all-encompassing tech usage is good for them. New Mintel research indicates that while 51 % of Gen Z Canadians (aged 13 – 17) cite a desire to integrate more tech into their lives, nearly the same percentage (47 %) also agree that social media and large amounts of tech usage have a negative impact on their mental health. In fact, 47 % say they are trying to limit their social media usage.

When examining the platforms that Gen Z uses, all of them rely heavily on visual interaction: Mintel research shows Gen Z Canadians engage with YouTube the most (77 %), followed by Instagram (75 %), Snapchat (58 %), and TikTok (52 %).

Michael Lloy, Senior Technology Analyst, Mintel Reports Canada, said: “Our research shows that due to significantly more time spent on these platforms, a portion of Gen Z has become more aware of their mental health and are exploring ways to reduce their usage of social media. This indicates that there is growing discontent among younger consumers about the negative effects that social media has on their lives, which may prompt radical behaviour shifts away from social media as they age. This will require brands to think strategically about how and where they market to Gen Z consumers as they age in order to develop and sustain an engaged and loyal audience.”

Reduced screen time in favor of better mental health

Gen Z consumers use of social media is a behavioural trait that sets them apart from other demographics. They are a heavily plugged-in generation with 51 % saying they are on the hunt to find technology to make their lives easier, more efficient, or more exciting. What’s more, 64 % say they engage with social media more than TV/movies.

However, nearly half of Gen Z (47 %) agree that social media has a net negative effect on their mental health and nearly all (95 %) agree that mental health is just as important to maintain as physical health.

“Gen Z reducing their screen time due to mental health concerns presents an opportunity for brands to lean into the visibility of their values in order to be seen to support causes that Gen Z cares about. Both Millennials and Gen Zs are heavily plugged-in generations, but there are a few, notable differences when it comes to social media. First, while Gen Zs are digital natives, most Millennials are not, and this informs the speed at which each generation adapts to new technology. Life stages are another piece of the puzzle. Millennials are a split generation. Some Older Millennials are married, homeowners, have children, or some combination of the three, while some Younger Millennials are closer to Gen Z in their life stages. These key differences will be important for brands to remember as they market to Gen Z consumers moving forward.”

The metaverse fails to make an impact

Since its launch in late 2021, the metaverse has been a popular topic for brands but has made less of a splash among consumers. Mintel research shows only 3 % of Canadian Gen Z consumers actually use the metaverse and 26 % have never heard of the metaverse before now.

“As many Canadian consumers are getting back to their pre-pandemic lifestyles, including in-person gatherings, the lack of eagerness to interact with the metaverse has been evident. Overall, only 15 % of consumers, on average, can even envision a world where they interact using the technology, meaning brands that currently or plan to leverage the metaverse in their marketing strategy have some work in front of them in order to convince consumers of the metaverse’s usefulness and applicability to their daily lives,” concluded Lloy.

Consumer fears over climate change have escalated around the globe over the last year. According to new research from the 2022 Mintel Consulting Sustainability Barometer, the number of global consumers citing climate change as a top three environmental concern has risen from an average of 39 % to 46 % between 2021-22*.

In addition to climate change, concern over water shortages (up from 27 % in 2021 to 31 % in 2022) and food shortages (up from 17 % to 23 %) have made the most significant gains in terms of environmental priorities in the past 12 months as extreme weather events and the conflict in Ukraine make these troubling realities more commonplace.

Climate change remains the world’s highest environmental priority with nearly half (46 %) of consumers globally citing it among their top three concerns. Air quality (eg exhaust fumes, industrial emissions) (36 %) and plastic pollution (eg ocean plastic) (33 %) complete the world’s top three environmental concerns; however, concerns about plastic pollution are down slightly from 36 % in 2021.

Growing awareness is evident as just under three in five (58 %) consumers globally agree that extreme weather events (eg flooding, heatwaves) in the country where they live encourage them to personally do more activities to protect the environment. And it seems helping the planet brings with it a feel-good factor as an overwhelming 68 % of consumers globally say doing things that benefit the environment makes them feel happy. While 38 % say they want to show other people how they are doing good for the environment (eg by sharing on social media). A further 24 % say they have researched their annual carbon footprint (eg with an online calculator or app).

While environmental priorities have shifted in the last year, consumers’ sustainable behaviours remain focused on simplicity and frugality: recycling packaging (59 % in 2022 v 60 % in 2021), meal planning to avoid food waste (53 % in 2022 v 52 % in 2021) and reducing clothes buying (50 % in 2022 v 52 % in 2021) remain the top global sustainable behaviours 2022-2021. Furthermore, global consumers’ optimism has stalled with 55 % believing that if we act now, we still have time to save the planet, compared to 54 % who said the same last year.

The second annual Mintel Consulting Sustainability Barometer features research and insight on consumers’ sustainability attitudes, behaviours and purchase preferences across 16 countries*. It offers recommendations for companies and brands based on best-in-class innovations, communications and campaigns.

Richard Cope, Senior Trends Consultant, Mintel Consulting, said: “The fact that concerns around climate change and water and food shortages are being prioritised ahead of previous preoccupations with waste and plastic pollution points towards the emergence of a more informed and hardened global consumer. Soaring temperatures, extreme weather events and disruptions to food, water and energy supply chains have given consumers a harsh reality check, hurting their health and wallets, and activating them in the process.

“In the meantime, escalating activism, regulatory reaction and the sheer scale of the challenges ahead and solutions required have educated global consumers enough to sniff out greenwashing campaigns and there’s no going back from that. This means companies will increasingly need to assert—and clearly communicate—the truly impactful actions they are taking to reduce emissions, rather than simply offset them or dip their toes into populist ‘plastic free’ campaigns. This growing awareness around resource inputs and emission and waste outputs will also spell the end for ‘environmentally friendly’ as a credible marketing term.

“Our research shows that the majority of consumers continue to see recycling and mitigating waste as important sustainable behaviours. This tells us that simple, frugal behaviours are the most popular among consumers which underlines the fact that brands’ sustainability initiatives need to deliver on value and convenience. Looking ahead to 2023, expect to see resource (food, water, money) conservation ascend further up the agenda and the use of economising technology refurbishers and urban peer access sharing economies to grow. For consumers, the connections between saving the environment, its resources and their money will strengthen.”

*1,000 internet users aged 16/18+ across 16 countries were surveyed in April 2022: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, South Korea, Spain, Thailand, UK, US; 500 internet users aged 16/18+ across 16 countries were surveyed in March 2021 with Indonesia and Mexico replaced by Poland and Ireland.

Mintel has today announced three trends set to impact global consumer markets in 2022. From technology that predicts the success of potential romances to brands tackling COVID-19 ‘survivor’s guilt’ and eco-anxiety, this year’s trends include:

  • In Control: In times of uncertainty, consumers crave a sense of control over their lives. Brands can deliver the information and options that consumers need to feel like they’re in the driver’s seat.
  • Enjoyment Everywhere: Having endured lockdown, consumers are eager to break out of their confines and explore, play and embrace novel experiences, both virtually and in the ‘real’, physical world.
  • Ethics Check: While many brands have made their voices heard on controversial topics, consumers want to see measurable progress against their goals.

Dana Macke, Director of Mintel Trends, Americas, comments on how the trends were developed, as well as how they will impact markets, brands, and consumers in 2022 and beyond:

“As experts in what consumers want and why, we’re best suited to accurately predict the future of consumer behavior and what that means for brands. In 2019, we took a bold, new approach to predict the future of global consumer markets and expanded our outlook to 10 years. Mintel’s 2030 Global Consumer Trends – known as the seven Mintel Trend Drivers – were developed as a living, growing prediction model that will adapt to the unforeseen. As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded, impacting nearly every industry worldwide, our consumer expertise and prediction model meant we were well placed to analyze how it would impact markets. Not only did our 2030 predictions hold true, but the pandemic accelerated many of the shifts we foresaw.

“Looking ahead to 2022, our trend analysis and prediction research are grounded by observations of the seven Trend Drivers over the last 18 months and backed by Mintel’s robust consumer and market data, predictive analytics, action-oriented insights and expert recommendations. We put everything into context to better understand what it means for—and how it could inspire—our clients’ business decisions across industries, categories and demographics, and amid global themes and times of uncertainty.”

In Control

“Feelings of precariousness and financial insecurity both created, and exaggerated, by the pandemic mean that consumers are looking for a sense of control over every aspect of their lives. But misinformation is making it harder to carry out the necessary research to make informed decisions. Consumers need clarity, transparency, flexibility and options to make decisions that suit their individual changing needs and circumstances.

“Brands will need to work harder to deliver reliable information and balance censorship and authenticity. The race for the fastest delivery will evolve to focus on being more flexible, giving consumers more control over when products arrive to fit around their schedules or to match their other specific needs. Consumers’ desire to know potential outcomes will manifest in the development of predictive technologies that can anticipate adverse events. From diseases to likely death dates to relationship outcomes using compatibility profiles, technology will evolve to grant consumers the power to plan with peace of mind.”

Enjoyment Everywhere

“Consumers are seeking sources of joy as the continuing pandemic and other local and global crises have caused them anxiety and stress. Many may be feeling a kind of ‘survivor’s guilt’ and, as a result, brands are recognizing the importance of uplifting people by giving them permission to feel happiness once again.

“While the stress caused by the pandemic may no longer be central to consumer needs for fun and escapism, they will continue to seek enjoyment and playfulness. As brand interactions through campaigns, apps and transactions take on more and more gamified elements in response to consumer interest, expect to also see pushback against it and the instant gratification it offers. This tendency will rise from consumers taking a more mindful approach to pleasure and enjoyment.”

Ethics Check

“Consumer demand for, and expectations of, brands’ ethical commitments are evolving. They have moved beyond simply wanting brands to ‘be ethical’ and are demanding to see measurable, transparent and consistent actions from those they choose to support. Consumers will look beyond a brand’s achievements and strengths; businesses will need to be transparent about their weaknesses, too, where and why they fail and how they plan to address these issues in future.

“All the transparency in the world doesn’t necessarily help consumers to understand the impact of a brand, which is why it’s key to use metrics that accurately reflect the problems brands are trying to solve. If a company isn’t properly measuring what they aim to fix or change, it’s difficult to determine whether progress is being made, let alone communicate that progress in a way that consumers will understand,” concluded Macke.

‘No added sugar’ claims are growing in Europe, with the UK leading the charge as it has the highest proportion (15 %) of European food and drink launches carrying this claim in the past five years, followed by Germany (13 %) and France (10 %). In Poland, ‘no added sugar’ claims have doubled since 2016, reaching 9 % of food and drink launches in 2021.

According to Mintel’s latest consumer research, almost three out of five (59 %) French and German consumers are trying to limit their sugar intake, rising to 65 % of respondents in Poland and 67 % in Spain. However, over half of German (54 %) and (53 %) French* consumers simply prefer eating less indulgent products instead of consuming more ‘light/diet’ alternatives. This is especially true for carbonated soft drinks, with Polish (38 %)** and German (37 %)** consumers being the most likely to agree that ‘better-for-you’ carbonated soft drinks do not feel like a treat.

Neha Srivastava, Food and Drink Patent Analyst at Mintel, said:

“The pandemic has amplified the need for indulgence, influencing consumers’ choice of food and drink. At the same time, the pandemic has seen people place a higher priority on their health by, for example, reducing their sugar intake – but they don’t want to compromise on taste.

“Food and drink companies are starting to pay more attention to cutting sugar from their products. Based on the percentage of granted patents currently active in Europe, France and Germany are among the top five leading countries with the majority of patent grants related to sugar reduction, each accounting for 5 % of all global patent grants. Recent patent activity related to sugar reduction varies from improving the taste of sweeteners to innovating new techniques to reduce the production cost of rare sugars.”

Functional fibre and next-gen stevia could appeal as natural alternatives

Functional fibres in low/reduced sugar food and drink launches are on the rise, increasing globally from 11 % in 2015 to 19 % in 2020. Inulin is the most common functional fibre in low/reduced sugar products, with product launches containing inulin having tripled in the past five years, rising to 9 % in 2020 from 3 % in 2015.

With 63 %*** of Germans concerned about how sugar reduction in food and drink is achieved, combining fibres with sugar to reduce overall sugar content could be an option worth exploring as an alternative. This could also appeal to the 29 %**** of Brits that are interested in more fruit juices, juice drinks and smoothies with high fibre content.

Alternatively, stevia as a plant-based sweetener has the potential to appeal to European consumers as a sugar substitute. In fact, 63 %*** of Germans have no concerns about the amount of plant-based sweeteners (such as stevia) used in food and drink.

Neha Srivastava, Food and Drink Patent Analyst at Mintel, said:

“Consumers are aware of the importance of fibres in maintaining gut health. Brands can leverage this awareness by repositioning them as a multifunctional health ingredient that helps reduce sugar content in food and drink whilst improving gut health.

“Stevia continues to gain traction in food and drink launches because of its naturalness and zero calorific value, but its bitter and lingering aftertaste remains a significant barrier. Recent patent innovations to improve taste issues and physicochemical properties, like purity and solubility, to produce next-generation stevia may help overcome the challenge.

“Innovators are looking for alternative approaches, such as the use of sweet flavouring agents and aromas as a promising option to reduce sugar content in new food and drink products – especially in dairy desserts. This can be a promising option to reduce sugar content by providing sweet perception in brain cells.”

*987 internet users aged 16+ who try to eat/drink healthily, France; 1,955 internet users aged 16+ who try to eat/drink healthily, Germany; 997 internet users aged 16+ who try to eat/drink healthily, Spain; 988 internet users aged 16+ who try to eat/drink healthily, Poland; March 2021
**1,000 internet users aged 16+ in Poland and 2,000 internet users aged 16+ in Germany, December 2020
***2,000 internet users aged 16+, Germany, June 2020
****2,000 internet users aged 16+, UK, October 2020
*****1,000 internet users aged 16+, Italy and Spain, September 2020

The now, next, and future of the global food and drink industry

The events of 2020 caused a fundamental reset in human behaviour. Recognising this transformation, Mintel’s 2021 Global Food and Drink Trends are inspired by recent shifts in consumer purchases and attitudes across industries. Through collaboration with consumer analysts and insights from Mintel Trends, a global team of food and drink experts have identified new opportunities in line with three of the Mintel Trend Drivers: Wellbeing, Value, and Identity.

In 2021 and beyond, expect food and drink companies to create mental and emotional wellbeing solutions, deliver on new value needs, and use brands to celebrate people’s identities.

Feed The Mind

Innovative food and drink formulations will offer solutions for mental and emotional wellbeing that will create a new foundation for healthy eating.

Quality Redefined

Brands will be challenged to respond to new definitions of trust, quality, and ‘essential’.

United By Food

Food and drink brands can balance a person’s need to feel unique and special with the desire to be part of communities of like-minded individuals.

Please download the free 2021 Global Food and Drink Trends here.

Mintel, the experts in what consumers want and why, has announced seven trends set to impact global consumer markets in 2021, including analysis, insights, and recommendations centered around consumer behavior, market shifts, innovative brands, and opportunities for companies and brands to act on in the next 12 months:

  • Health Undefined: An awareness of wellbeing is at the forefront of consumers’ minds, but a playbook doesn’t exist. Brands have a responsibility and opportunity to set new rules.
  • Collective Empowerment: Consumers around the world are making their voices heard loud and clear in the push for equity, agency, and rights.
  • Priority Shift: Consumers are seeking a return to the essentials, with a focus on flexible possessions and a reframing of what ownership actually means.
  • Coming Together: Consumers are coming together in like-minded communities in order to connect with and support each other, driven by the impact of the global pandemic.
  • Virtual Lives: Physical separation due to the pandemic, increased need for escapism, and improved technology are driving consumers towards digital experiences.
  • Sustainable Spaces: COVID-19 has subtly but significantly shifted consumer awareness of our relationship with the spaces in which we live, accelerating demand for sustainability.
  • Digital Dilemmas: While there are many benefits to a more digitally-connected life, concerns about its negative impacts are putting consumers in a predicament.

Please download the FREE 2021 Global Consumer Trends under

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated Canadian usage of e-commerce with online grocery being one of the main benefactors. The latest research from Mintel reveals that by mid-April, almost four in 10 (37 %*) Canadians were shopping more online, with 22 %* of Canadians specifically noting they were buying more groceries online due to COVID-19, including 10 %* of seniors (those aged 65+).

Physical grocery stores have a big challenge to encourage consumers to come back into stores and spend time inside. Mintel’s research shows that as of mid-April, 70 %* of Canadian shoppers were making less frequent trips to the grocery store than usual and in the middle of July, 71 %** were limiting the time they spent in the store. Consumers were also doing what they could to protect themselves: 67 %* said they were taking extra precautions when shopping in stores, e.g. wiping down their carts, keeping their distance from other shoppers. These protective behaviours are continuing, at the end of July, half (50 %***) of Canadians continue to be worried about the risk of being exposed to the virus, driving two-thirds (64 %***) of consumers to limit the time they spend in-stores.

Carol Wong-Li, Associate Director, Lifestyles and Leisure said:

“The challenge grocery retailers face now and in the months to come will be to convince consumers to come back into stores and shop for longer periods of time. Encouraging consumers to do so will have a positive impact on the ‘act of discovery’. Consumers will need to be encouraged to slow down and re-engage in spontaneous behaviours like browsing and trying new products, reminding them that shopping pre-COVID was a leisurely enjoyable activity, not what it is considered now – more ‘mission-minded’ with safety remaining at top of mind for consumers.

“The current uncertainty surrounding the virus remains unhelpful to the grocery shopping experience as much of it tends to be tactile, using touch and smell to assess the freshness of produce or sampling. Grocery retailers will need to replace the tactile experiences with more visual incentives to gain people’s interests, which will open up opportunities to enhance the in-store shopping experience in a safe way. Examples include providing QR codes that can be scanned by mobile phones to access full recipes or how-to cooking videos. Ultimately, leveraging platforms popular with Canadians like scannable signs that bring up recipes and/or cooking videos on Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube will work well to enhance the shopping experience while in-store.”

A renewed appreciation of shelf-stable products

The essential nature of food at home has not been lost, as of the beginning of May, almost half (48 %****) of consumers said they had made groceries a higher spending priority at the height of the pandemic, while over a quarter (28 %*) agreed that they were less-budget conscious than usual when it came to buying groceries. Shelf-stable products became a star performer, with 43 %* of Canadians saying they were buying more groceries that would stay fresh for longer like frozen, canned and boxed food.

“An area that was once stigmatized for being less healthy, the centre of the store where shelf-stable items tend to be, has been revitalized due to the uncertainty associated with the pandemic. Preventative measures put in place, like mandatory restaurant closings, led Canadians to cook more from home – providing a boost to shelf-stable products,” continues Wong-Li.

Stressed out Canadians indulge in comfort food

The link between food and comfort is undeniable amongst Canadians: nearly half (46 %*****) of Canadians eat comforting foods as a way of managing stress. During the pandemic, the importance of food in addressing elevated levels of stress was seen with a third (33 %*) of Canadian women reporting that they were eating more indulgent food like chocolate, ice cream or pizza to help them cope with the situation.

“As the uncertainty of the pandemic is set to be the reality for the near future, functional claims – including specific ingredients that help with stress relief or improving sleep – will matter more to consumers now and in the months to come,” concludes Wong-Li.

*500 internet users aged 18+, April 13-17, 2020, Global COVID-19 Tracker – Canada
**500 internet users aged 18+, July 13-17, 2020, Global COVID-19 Tracker – Canada
***2,000 internet users aged 18+, July 23-31, 2020, Global COVID-19 Tracker – Canada
****500 internet users aged 18+, May 11-15, 2020, Global COVID-19 Tracker – Canada
*****According to Marketing to Gen Z – Canada, June 2020

Consumers’ health status, personal interests and life priorities continuously change with age. Demanding lifestyles of Thai consumer combined with early signs of ageing often trigger middle-aged consumers to become more concerned about their health, nutrition and resulting in increased interest in using functional food/drinks.

Latest research from Mintel, the world’s leading market intelligence agency, highlights that for 84 % of Thai consumer health is a top priority, and even more so for consumers aged between 25-44. Among millennials aged between 25-34, over a  quarter (28 %) of consumers rely on products with added nutritional benefits to balance out their indulgence intake and 34 % of consumers in the same cohort seek out the latest information on health and nutrition information.

Pimwadee Aguilar, Associate Director for Food & Drink, at Mintel said:

“The degree to which consumers choose to engage with functional food and drink products varies depending on life stage and lifestyles. The increase in health awareness often takes place after the first signs of health decline. As simple signs such as facial fine lines usually appear at around the age of 25, it is at this stage when consumers are really motivated to review their diet and attempt to improve it either through conventional foods, supplementation or medicine.”

“With consumers seeking convenient ways to make up for their imbalanced lifestyle, brands in the food and drink space have an opportunity to tap into this need state to help consumers feel at their best despite their busy schedule. To find success in functional food and drink business, brands need to develop products that provide customised benefits to fulfill the needs of different demographic groups.”

Performance enhancement is the key target benefit

Thai consumers are looking for ways to improve performance and delay the degeneration of health. Mintel research highlights that the top three benefits consumer look for in functional food and drink products include brain health (62 %), eye health (55 %) and skin health (53 %)and that boost energy. However, 53 % of consumers prefer getting nutrients through regular food and drink rather than through those with fortifications and this increases to 66 %, among consumers aged 45+.

“Despite the significant demands for functional food and drinks with benefits for brain/eye health and energy, within the last three years the Thai market has experienced very stable growth in product launches that cater to these needs. With new ingredients and product varieties that can deliver these benefits, there is still a large opportunity for business growth. In Thailand, ‘naturally functional’ ingredients or products are perceived to be better than ‘added nutrition’ among consumers. Brands can appeal to consumers, especially adults with food and drink products with functional benefits from natural sources as they convey ‘healthiness’ more strongly than those with synthetic ingredients. Product formats such as beverage powders and yogurts which can easily fit into many meal occasions, and presents an opportunity to penetrate exceptionally well with consumers as they contain ‘familiar, real-food’ qualities. Energy drinks and those with electrolytes, on the other hand, are consumed less, mostly due to their ‘overly processed’ image. To win consumer acceptance, manufacturers need to develop products which provide functional benefits, yet maintain ‘real food’ look and taste,” said Pimwadee.

Beauty inside out

Consumers want to look their best, even amidst busy lifestyles, as Mintel research reveals that over half of consumers look for skin health (51 %) and over a third of consumers seek products that aid weight loss (37 %). The interest is high, especially among female consumers, in functional food and drinks products that offer for skin health (63 %) and weight loss benefits (45 %). Finally, Thai consumers say they are aware and have consumed collagen (73 %) and antioxidants (72 %).

“Urbanisation has resulted in consumers leading hectic lifestyles which often increases their chances of physical and mental burnout and premature ageing. As a result, early signs of ageing on the face and body are triggering consumers, especially females, to seek solutions to delay the decline. Collagen and antioxidants are the most popular functional ingredients among consumers as they seek ‘quick fixes’ to improve physical appearance and delay ageing. Food and drink can play an important role in beauty as ingredients for healthy skin such as collagen are seeing high awareness and usage. It is essentials for brands to lead in educating consumers about ingredients and benefits the product delivers and offer convenient, effective and tasty beauty and weight management solutions to consumers,” concluded Pimwadee.

The latest research from Mintel* reveals the online grocery market is forecast to grow by 33 % in 2020 to reach an estimated value of £16.8 billion, up from £12.7 billion in 2019. This phenomenal rise follows four consecutive years of slowing growth: in 2019 growth fell to a historic low of just 2.9 %. The market is set to be worth £17.9 billion by 2024, growing by 41 % over the five year period.

Online shopping behaviour as a whole

This comes as Mintel reveals a dramatic change in online shopping habits over the COVID-19 lockdown period, habits that Mintel believes could prove lasting. In the very early days of the spread of the coronavirus in the UK, before social distancing measures were announced, 7 % of Brits increased the total amount of online shopping (both food and non-food)**. In the space of fewer than two months, online shopping has seen a dramatic boost with the number of consumers who say they’ve increased their online shopping rising to 36 %***.

Meanwhile, 50 % of Brits have tried to limit the time they spend in-store, while a further 9% have used click-and-collect more ***.

Nick Carroll, Associate Director of Retail Research at Mintel, said:
“Over the course of just a few months, COVID-19 has had a seismic impact on Britain’s grocery sector. The pandemic is giving a significant short-term boost to online grocery services, as shoppers look to avoid stores and limit their contact with the outside world. However, the impact will last beyond the crisis. Shopper numbers in the online grocery market have plateaued in recent years as retailers struggled to get new customers to try these services. The outbreak is bringing a new audience to online grocery, and this should boost the market long term with strong growth forecast through to 2024. While there is currently a significant disruption to the online grocery market, with some retailers not accepting new customers, this will ease in the short-term as more capacity is brought online.”

Over 65s still face challenges shopping online

The current guidelines, which ask those aged 70 and over to remain at home, mean that older shoppers are more heavily reliant on having groceries and other goods delivered. But while some older Brits are experienced in ordering online, they are by far the minority. Less than three in 10 (28 %) UK internet users aged 65+ were online grocery shoppers prior to the COVID outbreak****. However, Mintel’s latest research shows that 37 % of over 65s have increased the amount of online shopping they’ve done since the outbreak began***.

But while some Brits are going online for their grocery requirements, many are relying on the kindness of friends and family – as a quarter (24 %) of consumers aged under 44 say they have been helping friends/family and/or neighbours with their shopping.

Nick Carroll, Associate Director of Retail Research at Mintel, said:
“Older generations that had previously shied away from online grocery have, effectively, been forced to change their habits in the face of social distancing measures. While there has been a rise in online grocery shopping among the over 65s, the reality is a significant number of consumers in the older age groups have no experience shopping online for groceries and/or are not digitally native. There is a real need to ensure access to online grocery deliveries for older consumers. We’re seeing some retailers already thinking of easier ways to order goods, including phone orders for next-day delivery.”

* Mintel’s latest estimates as of 23 April 2020; subject to change based on ongoing research and economic shifts.
** Research conducted 28 February-13 March
*** Research conducted 16-23 April
**** Research conducted in December 2019

Innova Market Insights’ latest report on global flavour trends in the food and beverage industry highlights how it is no longer just about tantalizing the taste buds with a range of adventurous, innovative and reimagined flavours, but increasingly about how flavour use can complement and develop the storytelling behind products and brands. In fact, 56 % of consumers in a global survey agreed that stories around a brand influenced their purchasing decisions.

Consumers are increasingly captivated by the stories behind products and brands, and flavours have a key role to play in this, making Storytelling the first of Innova Market Insights’ Top Ten Flavor Trends for 2020. Other important trends include the rise in plant-based alternatives, wellness associations, macronutrient influences and flavours supporting textural developments.

Innova Market Insights Top Five Flavour Trends for 2020 are:

1. Storytelling

Increased consumer interest in the origin of their food and beverage products is resulting in ingredient provenance proving its worth as a key element of brand storytelling. Over 40 % of global consumers wanted to know the story around a brand because they wanted to learn where the ingredients were from, according to an Innova Market Insights survey. Storytelling strategies include a focus on authentic tastes, flavours and recipes, as well as uniqueness through ingredient provenance and artisan/small batch processing.

2. The Power of Plants

The use of plant ingredients and plant-based recipes is soaring across a range of food and drinks categories, with an Innova Consumer Survey finding that 3 in 5 global consumers are increasingly incorporating plant ingredients into their diets. Plant ingredients can provide a healthy and colourful touch, with the use of a multitude of vegetable flavours for a healthy halo, including on-trend purple potato as part of the purple vegetables trend.

3. Wellness Flavours

Pursuit of healthier lifestyles is not only driving the plant-based trend, but also the demand for flavours targeting more general wellness, both mental and physical. Botanical flavours are increasingly popular for relaxation, stress reduction and sleep enhancement, featuring ingredients such as lavender, CBD/cannabis and turmeric. Floral flavoured drinks increasingly have mood associations, being seen as potentially relaxing or energizing.

4. Macronutrient Challenge

Consumer perceptions of macronutrients in relation to health are also evolving. There is a need to maintain taste profiles while reducing sugar, calorie and/or fat content, with sugar seen as a particular priority. Active ingredients are also impacting product flavours, with high protein options, such as cheese, seeds and nuts, as well as the association of ‘source of vitamins’ claims with fruity flavours.

5. Tapping into Texture

Consumers are increasingly recognizing the influence of texture on eating and drinking experiences, with 7 out of 10 global consumers agreeing that texture makes food and beverages a more interesting experience. Meanwhile, 6 out of 10 said that texture claims influenced their purchasing decisions. As part of this, there is growing interest in flavours that create a richer texture experience, such as honeycomb and toffee, while the industry continues to experiment with nuts in a wide variety of applications, including crunchy flavors and smooth bases.

The other top trends identified by Innova Market Insights are:

6. Hello Hybrids

7. All Time Favorites

8. Triggering the Taste Buds

9. Brown Flavours

10. Flavours Unlimited

Mintel, the experts in what consumers want and why, has announced two trends impacting the global packaging industry in 2020:

  • Ahead of the Recycling Curve: Packaging manufacturers and brands must continue to develop and commercialize recyclable package innovations even if the capabilities to recycle them do not yet exist.
  • In-store Refill: The rapid growth of independent packaging-free stores is driving retailers across the industry to consider how to create simple, branded, and engaging refill opportunities in-store.

Looking ahead, Mintel Global Packaging Director David Luttenberger discusses the major trends influencing the packaging sector worldwide during the coming year.

Ahead of the Recycling Curve

“Despite the world’s wishes, single-use plastic will exist for decades to come. With a fraction of the world’s plastic waste actually being recycled, there is a dire need to explore technologies that are ‘technically’ recyclable now, and for the development of plastic alternatives – not just single-use plastics, but for all types of plastics and packaging. Time is of the essence; these technologies must be developed today, ahead of their ability to be recycled, rather than the other way around. But next-generation technologies are only small pieces of the greater equation that will address and solve the waste and recycling crisis. With all the will in the world, ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ is not universal; it’s hard to recycle if consumers aren’t first reminded to ‘return’ packaging to the proper recycling bin or store take-back system. The ultimate solution is brands, manufacturers, packaging industry bodies, governments and environmental non-profits working in harmony to better inform consumers, develop more easily recyclable packaging and establish better collection systems and recycling processes.”

In-store Refill

“Regardless of the material used, the next iteration of the circular economy is clearly focused on reusability, alongside recyclability. With single-use now a toxic phrase for many consumers, refillable packaging is becoming more and more commonly known and used. While consumers want packaging reduction that comes from reuse, they expect this to be a simple and mess-free transaction. But without packaging to serve as one of the main communication channels from brands to consumers, branding can become challenging. Brands should look to offer memorable experiences through refill in order to create brand engagement, with those bringing some theatre to the refill moment most likely to succeed. And whilst many smaller refill stores use Instagrammable containers (such as attractive heritage glass jars), if refill is to become mainstream, consumers will expect refillable options that are easy to use from start to finish. By meeting this need, brands have an opportunity to ensure that their message is maintained.”

To find out Mintel’s predictions for what consumers in 2020 (and 2030!) will want and why, and what manufacturers and brands must do now to stay ahead of the competition, download the free thought piece here.

As experts in what consumers want and why Mintel is best suited to accurately predict the future of consumer behaviour and what that means for companies and brands. Announced early in November, Mintel is taking a bold approach with its predictions about the future of global consumer markets by incorporating seven key factors that drive consumer spending decisions:

  • Wellbeing: Seeking physical and mental wellness.
  • Surroundings: Feeling connected to the external environment.
  • Technology: Finding solutions through technology in the physical and digital worlds.
  • Rights: Feeling respected, protected, and supported.
  • Identity: Understanding and expressing oneself and one’s place in society.
  • Value: Finding tangible, measurable benefits from investments.
  • Experiences: Seeking and discovering stimulation.

Here, Matthew Crabbe, Director of Mintel Trends, APAC, explores the seven drivers and how they will impact markets, brands and consumers over the next decade.


“Wellbeing is no longer about simply wanting to look after oneself in broad terms, nor is it about the extremes of a total lifestyle change. Instead, a holistic approach is becoming a key motivator of consumer behaviour, underpinned by convenience, transparency, and value. Over the coming 10 years, there will be opportunities for brands to become wellbeing partners with customers. While the mass-market and ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach will still have value, we will see further adoption of bespoke solutions. Clean air and water will become selling points, while conscious movement and mindful exercise will become as important as physical fitness.”


“The increased global population and climate crisis are forcing people to reduce their consumption, waste, and energy use. They are learning to share limited space more efficiently and to work more collaboratively. Better and more affordable telecommunication technology allows for flexible work conditions, as consumers increasingly become digital nomads. Over the next 10 years, social tensions will increase as competition for resources rises. This could result in greater stratification of society and failure to tackle the need for more efficient use of resources and better urban planning. There will be greater pressure on cities to continue to expand, encroaching into remaining wildernesses and rural farming areas, exacerbating the cost of producing food – making even basic products more expensive for most people.”


“Mobile technology continues to blur the lines between time, travel, and location for work, learning, and leisure. Elements of virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) will revolutionise industries like tourism and entertainment, while virtual esports will rival physical sports in popularity. Over the coming decade, consumers will push back against cashless payments and fully unmanned stores, demanding more privacy and seeking more ‘human’ interaction. We’ll also see technologies developed to mitigate the effects of climate migration and displacement, amidst the broader challenges of economic inequality and an ageing society.”


“‘Cancel culture’ is growing as consumers feel increasingly empowered to call out companies, brands, and people they disagree with, greatly shifting influence into the hands of the collective consumer. Youth activism will take the lead in drawing public awareness of causes and will push legislative leaders to develop and enact ideas to make real change. Meanwhile, a more human-centric approach to data is emerging, empowering people to control how their personal data is collected and shared. Consumers are beginning to realise the true value of this data and they are demanding more for it. Looking ahead, blockchain technology will change data ownership, empowering consumers to put the control back in their hands by determining who has access to their information online.”


“Consumers are moving away from the rigid definitions of race, gender, and sexuality, and a movement is emerging toward more fluid, self-selected identities. But as the movement grows, rising feelings of loneliness and isolation are making people feel like they are, in fact, losing their identity. While people are more connected today than ever before, feelings of loneliness and isolation are on the rise and will reach epidemic proportions by 2030. Expect to see companies, brands, social organisations, and governments create technology-based solutions to help combat this. And as identities change, so too will socialising. In the future, people will increasingly be living with members of their ‘tribe’ – dictated by their mindsets and hobbies – rather than their family.”


“The current era is one of excessive and unsustainable consumption. Social media’s ‘swipe up’ culture has perpetuated the chase for buying more and buying better. However, with climate change as one of the defining issues of modern society, consumers are taking a closer look at their own consumption habits. While consumers are in search of a more mindful approach to their spending, they also desire something that is authentic and unique to them. Expect to see a move towards slower, minimal consumerism that emphasises durability and functionality. Rapid urbanisation will shrink available space in the home, office, and shared environments, demanding consumers buy less ‘stuff’.”


“While the demand for stimulation is not new, the role it plays in consumer decision-making is evolving. No longer should ‘the experiential’ be diminished as a mere marketing tool or a fad; instead, consumers are experiencing powerful emotional connections to brands that are creating a point of differentiation. Technology is driving experiences, but the constant connectivity is also causing demand for offline interactions to become more extreme and boundary-pushing. Looking ahead, collective experiences will gain more and more popularity. People will start to redefine what experiences they want as individuals. This will include the experience of doing nothing as people make more mindful decisions about what to do with their time.”

Protein is an essential macronutrient, but latest research from the world’s leading market intelligence agency Mintel reveals that a staggering 85 %* of Indians aren’t able to correctly identify the key sources of proteins.

Moreover, a significant number of Indian consumers aren’t fully aware of the actual benefits of the macronutrient. While over one-third (36 %) associate protein with being beneficial for bone health, just a quarter (24 %) are aware that proteins help in building muscles and a fifth (19 %) with weight loss.

Even among consumers who are aware of protein sources, Mintel research reveals that a third (32 %) strongly agree that it is hard to know if they are getting enough protein from their daily diet.

Natasha Kumar, Food & Drink Analyst, India, at Mintel, said: “Our research indicates that the majority of Indian consumers are unable to correctly identify the sources of proteins, while a significant number aren’t aware of the actual benefits of the macronutrient. As such, there is a clear need for companies and brands to help consumers differentiate between the various protein sources and their associated health benefits. Companies and brands should not only emphasise the quality of protein consumption but the quantity as well as how it relates to the recommended dietary daily allowance of protein.”

Move away from fad diets

Meanwhile, Mintel research also reveals there is an opportunity for companies and manufacturers to move away from fad diets, and instead, target the general consumer with food and drink products with added proteins. While a fifth (21 %) of Indian consumers say that they have tried a high-protein diet in the past, over two-thirds (68 %) either agree or strongly agree that high-protein diets are just a fad.

“Packaged food and drink products with added protein should be targeted at the general consumer and not just those who follow a high-protein diet. Companies and brands need to take advantage of the behavioural changes of increasingly health-conscious Indians who incorporate high or added protein packaged food and drink into their everyday diets. Given that most consumers question whether they are getting the recommended allowance of protein in their diets, one way to appeal to the masses would be to include these claims in products that Indians already consume in their daily lives,” Natasha continued.

Introducing high-protein food and drinks in mass categories

Finally, Mintel research highlights that over one in four (27 %) Indian consumers strongly agree that there aren’t enough high-protein packaged food and drink products. Indeed, research from Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD) indicates that just 5 % of food and drink products launched in India between 2016-2018** featured high/added protein claims. Of this, 84 % were food products and the rest (16 %) were drinks. However, the growth of high/added protein claims is being driven by drinks, increasing from 8 % in 2017 to 25 % in 2018.

“Currently, high or added protein claims exist in very niche categories like cereal bars and meal replacement drinks, which tend to have smaller audiences in India. Companies, brands and manufacturers will stand to benefit from expanding these claims to more prevalent categories like milk, yoghurt, biscuits and snacks, all of which have a larger consumer base. Such added claims can also be essential in converting more consumers to packaged food from fresh food. For instance, added protein claims in yoghurt can be a way to lure consumers to opt for a packaged option over fresh homemade yoghurt,” concluded Natasha.

*3,000 urban Indians aged 18+
**January 2016-December 2018

2018 was a banner year for social commerce with the public listing of major players in the industry. In fact, social commerce has indeed assumed a crucial role in digital retailing as latest research from Mintel reveals that a whopping 87 % of urban Chinese consumers* have bought, sold or shared information on products or services through social commerce platforms.

Currently, preference for shopping via social commerce channels equals that of traditional ecommerce platforms (39 % vs 41 % respectively). Mintel research indicates an even more optimistic outlook for social commerce in the days ahead – as 45 % of Chinese consumers would like to use social commerce platforms more in the future, as compared to the 32 % who say the same of traditional ecommerce channels. In addition, over half (51 %) of China’s post-90s generation intend to use social commerce platforms more in the future; while just under a third (31 %) intend to shop on traditional ecommerce platforms.

Cici Wu, Research Analyst, Mintel China reports, said:
“Social commerce is playing a crucial role in the digital retailing industry, especially with the public listing of major players in the market in recent months. Essentially everyone in China is jumping on the social commerce bandwagon and showing great enthusiasm for the platforms by engaging in a variety of social commerce activities. Although more consumers today still prefer traditional ecommerce than social commerce channels, their expectations for the latter are more optimistic. Our research shows that consumers who are the future of China’s economy, specifically the post-90s generation, favour social commerce over traditional ecommerce platforms.”

Seizing the ‘He’ economy

Men appear particularly engaged in social commerce, a growing trend that brands in the space could play into. Indeed, Mintel research reveals that over half (52 %) of consumers who engage in selling activities on social media platforms are male, compared with 48 % of females.

Men demonstrate stronger purchase power in the categories of personal electronics (eg smartphones, gaming devices) (41 % male vs 25 % female), household appliances (eg rice cooker, vacuum machines) (34 % vs 28 %), health supplements (30 % vs 28 %) and virtual services (eg online course, financial services) (21 % vs 18 %).

Further showcasing the potential in tapping into the ‘He’ economy, Mintel research reveals that a sizable proportion of men are purchasing in categories that are traditionally female-led in terms of consumption; as many as three in five (61 %) male consumers purchase clothing, shoes and accessories from social commerce platforms, as compared to 68 % of female consumers. Meanwhile, 46 % of male consumers purchase household cleaning products, in comparison to 48 % of female consumers. When it comes to beauty items, over a third (35 %) of male consumers say that they buy beauty and personal care products, while 62 % of females say the same.

“Making profits from the pockets of women and kids is a business practice that many have left behind in recent years. A more free and fluid market has helped unlock the spending potential and consumption desires of male consumers. Men’s shopping carts are no longer filled with just electronics, sports or game gadgets, but also include beauty products, groceries and cleaning products—categories that have been traditionally consumed by women. To tap into the ‘He’ economy, brands need to understand the change in men’s consumption habits for further growth. They also need to show an unbiased attitude towards this change and, at the same time, bear in mind their concerns and desires as individuals as well as other roles they assume like a father or husband.” Cici continued.

Fashion and beauty embrace social commerce

According to Mintel research, clothing, shoes and accessories is the most consumed category via social commerce platforms with two-thirds (64 %) of social commerce consumers having purchased these products in the past year*. This is followed by beauty and personal care products (48 %), food and drink products (48 %), and household cleaning products (47 %).

“As two of the most dynamic categories in the social commerce world, the development of the fashion and beauty industries are being driven by fashion and beauty influencers, or KOLs (key opinion leaders). Some of these KOLs have teams who produce high quality content as well as facilitate collaborations between the KOL and the brand. However, as it is becoming expensive to collaborate with top-tier influencers, micro influencers who engage in social commerce activities to communicate with like-minded people may be the way to go.

“Collaborating with micro influencers could open up more possibilities for fashion and beauty brands to increase brand awareness and preference, particularly as their interests go beyond financial returns, and instead, are driven by their own passion. That said, rather than solely revolving around the use of KOLs, marketing strategies that are theme driven or carried out in coordination with other marketing approaches, will work to a brand’s advantage in the long run.” Cici concluded.

*3,000 internet users aged 20-49, October 2018

Mintel, one of the world’s leading market intelligence agencies, has announced four trends impacting the global packaging industry in 2019 and beyond.

  • Connected Packaging: Multiple technologies are enabling brands to connect physical packaging to the virtual world.
  • Closing the Loop: Brands have an opportunity to differentiate and ride consumer awareness of recycling issues.
  • Reinventing the Box: With online shopping set to gain further popularity, brands must fully establish an e-commerce packaging strategy.
  • Plastic-Free: As the momentum behind plastic-free supermarket aisles grow, brands need to consider what packaging solutions can give them shelf space.

Looking ahead, David Luttenberger, Global Packaging Director at Mintel, discusses the major trends influencing the packaging sector worldwide during 2019, including implications for consumers, brands, and manufacturers.

Connected Packaging

“Connected packaging is witnessing renewed interest, driven by growth in ownership of connected devices worldwide and advancement in technologies that link packaging to the online world. Brands have a wealth of options to connect virtually with packaging – from QR codes and other graphic markers to near field communication, radio frequency identification, bluetooth and augmented reality. A vital link between physical and digital shopping worlds, brands can capitalise on connected packaging to influence how they are viewed online, together with delivering engaging content and product-specific information to directly influence purchasing decisions.”

Closing the Loop

“Proclamations by brands and converters touting commitment to 100 % recyclable materials or packaging being 100 % recycled dominate industry headlines. But the reality that few of them have yet to fully consider is how, where, and who will be supplying and recycling these materials. Though recyclable packaging claims have become common, claims to include recycled content are still rare. Low availability of high-quality recycled plastic and concerns over food safety are hampering the use of recycled material in food and drink. And while recycling may be second nature to some, inconvenience and confusion surrounding recycling are a barrier for others. With no option to ship packaging waste off-shore and out of sight, we are likely to see fast improvements in recycling facilities. This will drive up capacity for high-quality recycled material. Going forward, brands have an opportunity to ride consumer awareness of recycling issues by being part of the solution and committing to using recycled material in new packaging.”

Reinventing the Box

“The rapid development of e-commerce has had more of an impact on the design of packaging globally than anything the industry has experienced in the past several decades. There are now limitless opportunities for brand marketers to think about the next generation of shelf presence, the ‘hero images’ on retailers’ websites, and the ‘unboxing’ experience. In e-commerce, brands are learning that messaging and branding should be split between the shipping container and the interior of the box – with the latter incorporating elements that give consumers a sense of delight and surprise when opening the parcel. While most consumers currently prefer to buy groceries in-store instead of online, the convenience of purchasing online will eventually spill over into food, drink, and household products. Only through an established e-commerce packaging strategy can brands design packs for the worst-case distribution scenario. Meanwhile, there will be huge financial, social, and brand equity gains to be made in the e-commerce packaging arena just by exploiting elements of package optimisation rooted in sustainability.”


“Marine plastic pollution has become one of the world’s most serious environmental problems, and there is a growing need for different attitudes to the material. New opportunities such as plastic-free aisles, package-free stores and alternative pack materials allow consumers to actively make choices about the plastic that is put out in the world. But these incentives are not without their own challenges. While plastic-free aisles reflect consumer exhaustion with excess plastic packaging, in reality, few would want to lose the convenience and benefits plastic packaging can bring. And while the term ‘plastic-free’ may appear to be a simple one, there is no universal definition; even plastic-free packaging often includes plant-based plastics, showing the lack of clarity in the plastic-free call. Brands should act now, either to ensure a place in emerging plastic-free zones by switching to acceptable pack materials, or by engaging with the debate, clearly explaining the benefits of plastic packaging to their product, and addressing plastic pollution concerns with appropriate end of life pack solutions.”

Texture continues its rise to becoming a central feature of food and drink innovation. According to new research from Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD), 20 % of food and drink launches in Europe in 2017 had a texture description, up from 17 % the previous year. This further cements the continent’s lead in usage of texture claims: Europe featured the largest share of global food and drink launches with texture descriptions since January 2016. Even the innovative markets in Asia Pacific saw less food and drink launches with texture descriptions, accounting for 14 % of global new food and drink products with texture claims in 2017.

Katya Witham, Global Food & Drink analyst at Mintel, explained the texture trend at Anuga FoodTec in Cologne:
“As the 2018 Mintel Global Food & Drink Trend ‘New Sensations’ describes, texture has a particular opportunity to follow the lead of colour, which has become an increasingly popular feature in food and drink formulations that aim to allure more of the senses. Food and drink products have used ingredients such as turmeric, matcha, and even activated charcoal to create vibrantly hued products that look particularly good in social media. While colour will continue to be important, texture is the next facet of formulation that provides consumers with interactive and social media worthy experiences.”

And interest in such products is evident across Europe. A sizable proportion of European consumers is open to trying unusual textures: 37 % of Spanish, 36 % of Polish, 26 % of French and 22 % of German and Italian (respectively) consumers say they would like to try food and drink products with unusual textures.

In Germany, interest is especially high in certain product categories. Three quarters (75 %) of German consumers are, for example, interested in sweet or savoury spreads with unusual or interesting textures. At the same time, 40 % of Germans would be interested in cooking sauces that bring different textures to a meal. Chocolate appears to be both especially prone to experimentation with texture and successful with this approach in Germany. Nearly half of Germans (48 %) have already tried chocolate with added texture and would be interested in trying it again, with consumers aged 16-24 even more convinced of the idea; 60 % have tried and would like to try textured chocolate again.

Katya closes:
“Texture will only become a more prominent feature in food and drink innovation in Europe. It is an especially important component for consumers who want a more tangible and interactive consumption experience. Products that appeal to multiple senses can provide consumers with escapes from the routine and stress of life, opportunities to make memories and generate share-worthy social media posts. The sound, feel and satisfaction provided by texture make it a trend to watch in 2018 and beyond.”

The growing appeal of leading healthy lifestyles has made its way to consumers in Southeast Asia and it seems the cornerstone of maintaining this is by following a healthy diet and exercise regime.

Indeed, new research from global market intelligence agency Mintel reveals that as many as three in four (75 %) metro consumers in Indonesia and two in three (66 %) metro consumers in Thailand say they aim to have a healthier diet in 2017*. Additionally, 58 % of metro Indonesians and 62 % of metro Thais say that they will definitely exercise more in 2017.

One of the key ways in which consumers in Southeast Asia are looking to adopt a healthy and balanced diet is by consuming food and drink that is high in protein. Indeed, there has been an increased interest in protein offering across the region. Mintel research shows that 64 % of metro consumers in Indonesia and Thailand respectively say that as part of their daily diets, they prefer to get their protein from foods that are naturally high in protein. Reflecting a growth in interest in protein consumption in Southeast Asian consumers’ daily diets, this figure (64 %) is a rise from 37 % of metro Indonesians and 41 % of metro Thais who said the same last year**.

Brands and companies have taken notice of this trend, however, innovation in Asia Pacific is falling behind; data from Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD) found that in the two years leading to July 2017***, there was a 26 % increase in the number of global food and drink launches carrying a ‘high/added protein’ claim. Comparatively, Asia Pacific saw a 5 % growth in the number of food and drink launches with a ‘high/added protein’ claim in the same time period.

Jane Barnett, Head of Insights, South APAC, at Mintel said:

“Improving health and fitness is now a key focus of consumers across Southeast Asia, particularly through their diets and exercise. Consumers in the region show continuous interest in proteins and are incorporating more of them into their daily diets and eating regimes. Much of this growth in demand is attributable to consumer belief that protein aids in the pursuit or maintenance of a healthy physique, and provides them with energy and satiety. While brands in Asia Pacific have taken notice of this interest, there is still more room for innovation within the region.”

According to Mintel research, 47 % of metro Thai consumers think that high protein food or drink assists with building muscle, while 37 % of metro Indonesians think that high protein offerings help in managing weight. Furthermore, just over two in five consumers in urban Indonesia (42 %) and Thailand (41 %) feel that high protein food or drink provides them with long-lasting energy, while four in 10 (40 %) metro Thais think that these offerings help them to feel fuller for longer.

Meanwhile, the aspiration to be healthy among consumers has also made its way into the beauty and personal care industry with launches that target niche sporting activities, giving rise to Mintel’s 2017 Global Beauty and Personal Care Trend, ‘Active Beauty’.

Mintel research finds that 58 % of metro Thais and 63 % of metro Indonesians believe that regular exercise is important for a healthy lifestyle. As consumers recognise the importance of staying active, beauty and personal care brands are formulating products to help them in their quest for health and fitness. According to Mintel GNPD, the number of global skincare products launched featuring the word “sweat” in the product description grew by 30 % between 2015 and 2016, while the number of these launches in the colour cosmetics category grew by a significant 81 % in the same time frame.

“The perception of Active Beauty within Asia first started out, and is still very much, centred on suncare. However, as sports and fitness activities move indoors, this segment will move beyond sun protection. While still a niche market in Asia and globally, there is definite growth opportunities for active beauty brands and products in Southeast Asia, especially as consumers continue to recognise the benefits of staying active.” Jane continues.

Aside from achieving a healthy body, it seems that it is also the mind that consumers in Southeast Asia are keen to look after. Over three in five (61 %) of metro Thai consumers believe that maintaining a positive mental state is an important factor to leading a healthy lifestyle.

“While there have been a couple of products across Southeast Asia’s sports, energy, and lifestyle beverage space that talk about the ‘mind and body’, there is definitely still space for brands and companies to expand into this area. Globally, we see a growing rate of products that aim to provide more of a holistic approach, incorporating a beneficial nutritional profile, as well as either enhancing a consumer’s mood or providing the elements needed to keep the mind sharp and focused.” Jane concludes.

*Polled in June 2017
**Polled in June 2016
***August 2014 to July 2017