29 April 2022

Our April Roundup: Inflation, effective organic claims, Ramadan and collaborative solutions for climate change

Catch up with the news that piqued our interest in April – from the disparities accentuated by inflation, inspiring Ramadan advertising and exciting collaborations against climate change.

Christina Carè

Sevendots, London

4 minute read

Catch up with us on your April CPG news.  If you missed it, we also published our take on the CPG response to Ukraine including insights as a result of surveys we conducted of US and UK consumers. It’s worth a read! Now for the roundup:

Caviar and canned tuna: Top Fed official points out income-based inflation gaps.

From the New York Times

Insight into the way inflation is measured and reported. In particular, an elaboration on the problem of measurement when comparing luxury and every day basic products, which skews the understanding of real inflation.

Sevendots Partner Andrea Bielli says:

“Inflationary pressure will likely contribute further to rising inequalities. Affordability will continue to be an important element to consider for brands also because it plays an important role towards trust. This is a space where retailers are traditionally much more active.”

Andrea Bielli

In short:

“Tuna may go up sharply in price amid a fish shortage that increases costs of production, for instance, whereas caviar, as a luxury good, may have higher profit margins to begin with and increase less. Or there may be more substitutes for caviar.”

What can companies do to respond to the inequality that will only grow as inflation takes?

BlackRock ‘Anticipates’ 75% of Portfolio Edging Toward Net Zero by 2030

From Sustainable Brands

BlackRock expects 75% of its corporate and sovereign assets with “align with science-based climate goals by 2030”. It’s a big claim, and there are criticisms – Reclaim Finance says there is a big risk for BlackRock providing cover for the worst polluters to continue as usual, and the company must provide detail of how companies are actually achieving targets.

CEO Larry Fink said:

We expect to remain long-term investors in carbon-intensive companies, because they play crucial roles in the economy and in a successful transition… a portfolio fully divested of [carbon-intensive] sectors in the near term may be at odds with enabling an orderly transition to a net-zero economy in the long term.

In short: BlackRock’s commitment seems impressive, but it also continues to “hedge its bets” against decarbonisation. Will this be enough to make a change with urgency?

Specific claims like ‘cruelty-free’ are more effective than USDA organic label: survey

From Food Dive

A survey of 2,500 people showed that claims like “raised without antibiotics”, “hormone-free”, “all natural” and “cruelty free” were more influential than the “USDA Organic” label in purchasing decisions.

In short: the USDA has some education to do in collaboration with CPG companies to provide clarity through labelling and marketing. More transparent label claims increase sales.

Unilever Doesn’t Have a CMO Any More—Here’s Why

From AdWeek

Unilever announced its most senior marketer, Conny Braams, would be elevated to a new position as chief digital and commercial officer. Post-pandemic, this role reflects the changing nature of consumer behavior, including the move towards “digital identities to shop, play and interact” presenting new opportunities for marketers. Alongside these opportunities, Braams has publicly called for measures to address “brand safety, ad fraud and declining consumer trust.”

Sevendots Partner Colin McAllister says of this change:

“A logical transition of roles from Marketing to Marketing  and Digital and then to Digital and Commercial – and all in a very short period of time. In the end it’s all about generating growth and recognizing that this can only come by combining forces and staying close to consumers at all times.”   

Colin McAllister

In short: Conny Braams has had a role change at Unilever, reflecting the interconnected nature of digital marketing and commerce.

Why every little detail mattered for Tesco’s first major Ramadan campaign

From The Drum

Tesco created its first Ramadan-related OOH campaign, centring on Iftar.

“Created in partnership with BBH, the digital billboards show empty plates filling up with food as the sun sets. The slogan reads ‘Together this Ramadan‘, while below is the line: ‘In honor of everyone fasting, these plates only fill up as the sun goes down‘.”

The aim to represent the Muslim community authentically meant going into real detail, with everything from table runners, plate patterns and even nail varnish up for discussion.

In short: Tesco launched a thoughtful campaign for Ramadan, demonstrating how to create a campaign that is authentic and accurate to a community.

Design leaders at Microsoft, General Mills, and PepsiCo announce ambitious plan to fight climate change

From Fast Company

Design teams from General Mills, Logitech, McKinsey & Company, Microsoft, Nedbank, Nestlé, PepsiCo, Philips, and the Royal College of Art, have come together to work on designing climate solutions.

“Designers can sign up to give five days of their time to develop a scalable solution. From there, they collaborate with other designers, businesses, and NGOs to refine the ideas. The best ones are then funded under the premise that they will eventually be produced (and made open-source and license-free).”

The article highlights how several of the companies involved have had a ‘poor environmental track record’. This represents action in the right direction.

In short: An alliance between companies, representing “more than $400 billion in revenue, almost one million employees, and 5,000 designers” are coming together to work on collaborative solutions for climate change.

War in Ukraine creating devastating food crisis

From Supermarket News

We’ve had a piece last month on food insecurity, and here is yet more on the problem that is growing due to the invasion of Ukraine. On April 6th, the UN’s World Food Programme’s Agriculture, livestock and foreign agriculture subcommittee met to discuss the issue. You can watch video footage here:

In short:

“According to the Global Hunger Index, 47 countries have high levels of hunger in 2021. The war in Ukraine is estimated to bring this number to more than 60 countries in 2022.”

That’s everything from the month of April. What news piqued your interest from the CPG industry this month? Talk with us on LinkedIn.

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