After three days and more than 46,000 steps logged on my pedometer, it’s safe to say that I saw my fair share of natural and organic products at Natural Products Expo West (page 14), which took place last month. With so much information to digest, one might think that I would want a break from consumer trend information, but that is far from the case.
While reviewing the emails that populated my inbox during my travels, I stumbled across a release from Information Resources Inc. (IRI) highlighting research released by the market research firm and The Boston Consulting Group (BCG).
In the release, the firms noted that although 2016 was a sluggish year for U.S. sales of consumer packaged goods (CPG), the growth that has taken place came from two separate (and somewhat contradictory) consumer desires: convenient nutrition and indulgence.
“Our research shows that the growing popularity of convenient nutrition and wellness remains one of the most powerful trends in the U.S. consumer packaged goods industry,” said Jim Brennan, a BCG partner and coauthor of the study, in a statement. “But this does not mean that American consumers’ craving for indulgences has diminished.”
In the non-alcohol space, the release noted that functional beverages were one of the hottest categories in 2016, with brands promoting health improvement, energy boosts or weight management as product attributes. The plant-based food and beverage market also performed well in the various company-size categories that the firms tracked. The firms did note that sluggish growth in 2016 for overall CPG sales was due to price deflation rather than lower unit sales.
As entrepreneurs look to enter the CPG market, information like this can be confusing. Consumers want food and beverages that support overall health and wellness, but they still have to indulge perhaps when they unwind from work or are dining out. For those that don’t perfectly fit into either spectrum, it begs the question: where is the middle ground?