MINTEL | "Simple flavours can appeal to consumers who are looking for ways to stretch their dollar and keep their pantry stocked with versatile meal essentials. Macroeconomic issues, such as inflation, rising food prices and supply chain shortages, will put new pressure to find value in food and drink products.
Now is the time to push flavours that offer value
Value will be essential for many US consumers as we move through this next phase of the pandemic, especially as economic experts predict inflation and food companies consider price increases.
Already, brands are cutting back and prioritising core product lines to cope with labor shortages and supply chain issues. However, this could be an opportune time to refocus on flavours that can offer consumers the most value when shopping for food and drink products.
In November 2020, more than a third of US adults said higher grocery bills were the top factor to negatively affect their finances during the pandemic, according to Mintel research on consumers and the economic outlook. With inflation higher than it has been in the past 10 years, there will be a need to provide consumers with products that can help stretch their budgets.
Price will be a deterring factor for flavour experimentation
The greatest barrier to trying new flavours is price, which holds true across various age groups. While older consumers tend to be more conservative when trying new flavours, the youngest generations crave new flavour experiences, which need to be met with affordability and value.
Lean into flavours that are familiar and easy to prepare
Recent launches from Kraft Heinz and General Mills are making new flavours versatile and budget-friendly.
KD Flavour Boosters in Canada brings new flavours to a pantry staple – mac and cheese. A US launch is anticipated in 2022.
BuzzFeed‘s Tasty paired up with General Mills to launch budget-friendly Tasty Dinner Kits. Each kit includes seasoning, sauce and a rice or pasta base. All that is left is to add a protein and a vegetable of choice.
Versatile flavours – especially in long-lasting formats – will support consumers’ needs
Due to COVID-19, long-lasting has become an important factor for more than a third of US consumers when shopping for food/drink. Think neutral or plain flavours for long-lasting products.
‘A longer shelf life to reduce waste’
Daily Harvest Frozen Mylk Triangles. Consumers mix this product with water at home to make ‘milk’, one 7 oz serving at a time. The brand claims the frozen product lasts for six months “so it’s always on-hand when you need it.”
Just one ingredient: organic gluten-free oats
JOI Organic Oat Milk Powder. The brand claims that its oat milk powder is a sustainable, affordable and customizable alternative to liquid oat milk. The powder has a shelf life of nine months and does not require refrigeration.
Shelf-stable reduces spoilage in the supply chain
Kencko Dried Smoothie Mix. Kencko‘s website states “We capture the nutrients of fresh produce in a shelf-stable form, reducing spoilage in the supply chain and helping consumers to waste less.”
Supply shortages will push consumers to ask for more versatility from their food
Support creative and thrifty consumers with products and flavors that will work across a range of recipes. Social media is a powerful tool that can provide recipe inspiration to avoid food waste.
Pain Jacquet shares an easy waffle recipe using bread (France).
Pain Jacquet shares bread eclair recipe (France).
Brioche Pasquier suggests to dip brioche in mascarpone and strawberries to make tiramisu (France).
What we think
Help thrifty consumers find flavours they not only trust and feel confident about but also ones that they can use again and again. Innovating with simple flavours will give the consumers the flexibility they need during difficult economic times."
Stephanie Mattucci is the Associate Director, Food Science at Mintel. Prior to Mintel, Stephanie worked as a food scientist in R&D for an ingredients company.