In India, 46 percent of consumers worry that life will not be the same as it was before the pandemic. For instance, a period of time that saw lockdowns, food panic buying and homes becoming offices impacted consumer behaviour in a multitude of ways, including food becoming more than a source of sustenance, but also a source of reassurance.
The change in consumer behavior can be classified into three key trends that are will dictate how the industry will respond, according to Mintel Global Consumer research on the holistic consumer.
In Control - ‘In Control’ explores how consumers are dealing with pandemic-induced feelings of uncertainty and now desire to take control in the ways available to them. Brands can empower consumers to do this within their food or drink purchases through transparent detail on their products.
Heng Hong Tan, Mintel Food & Drink Analyst, APAC, said “Consumers want more control over their wellbeing with 8 in 10 Indians* say they are eating healthily all or most of the time. Food and drink brands have the complex task of conveying clear and reliable guidance so that a product will meet consumers’ health priorities. They can empower consumers to make the right health choice by giving clear on pack detail linked to dietary requirements.”
In addition to well-being, Mintel Global Consumer research shows that 86 percent of Indian consumers agree that brands should show their impact on the environment on food or drink labels (e.g. carbon footprint, Eco-Score).
“Consumers will expect more transparency about a brand's climate-friendly and ethical commitments. Brands can win trust with third-party verification or measurements via rating systems which, in turn, can also help consumers make informed choices,” Tan added.
Enjoyment Everywhere - ‘Enjoyment Everywhere’ explores the notion that consumers want to break out of their confines and will have a newfound appreciation for occasions when happiness, fun, or playfulness can be found in everyday items and activities after enduring long periods of lockdowns. Food and drink brands are well-positioned to offer experiences that cannot be replicated online.
“Consumers will be open to food, drink and foodservice that engages more of the senses to trigger emotional connections. Food and drink that captivate the senses can appeal to the unexpected and the intriguing.
“At the same time, the metaverse offers a new arena for brands to engage with consumers. In India, the majority of consumers (88 percent) say that they have played games on a tablet, laptop or desktop, according to Mintel Consumer Data. Brands can join the gaming trend and ‘game-ify’ everyday activities like cooking in the digital realm where consumers can connect or bond with another,” continued Tan.
Flexible Spaces - The pandemic left consumers craving for human connection, which, at the same time, delivers them the convenience of online shopping. ‘Flexible Spaces’ explores how consumers have been forced to rethink their work and play spaces due to changing consumer lifestyles.
63 percent of Indian shoppers find grocery shopping at neighborhood stores ‘fun’. Blending the best of physical and online spaces will be key in creating spaces for brands to interact with consumers going forward.
“We will see retailers redefining their approaches to space and selling to accommodate a more diverse consumer base, facilitate deeper consumer-to-brand connections and unite those that share common passions in both physical and online environments. As technology becomes more advanced, these blended worlds will coexist more seamlessly,” Tan further stated.
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