04 October 2023

Our September Roundup: Shrinkflation warnings, Gen Z trend reporting and a new plant-based collaboration

In this month's roundup, we explore Carrefour's plant-based venture with major food companies and new Shrinkflation labelling, a ban on unsubstantiated environmental claims in the EU, changing UK shopper habits, and new reporting on Gen Z trends.

3 minute read

Welcome back to our monthly CPG news roundup. Here’s what you missed form the industry in September.

France’s Carrefour puts up ‘shrinkflation’ warning signs

From the BBC

French supermarket Carrefour began putting stickers on products they identified as having suffered ‘shrinkflation’, namely smaller packet content with no reflected price change. Products included Lipton Ice Tea, Lindt chocolate and Viennetta ice cream, alongside 23 others. Sevendots Managing Partner Andrea Bielli comments:

“Manufacturers in Europe are still feeling the pressure on their margins due to consistent increase in COGS. Even if the majority of consumers claim they would prefer smaller sizes at the same price vs. the same size at a higher price, this activity has to be managed very carefully both in terms of impact of the pack reduction but also in the way this is communicated.”

Andrea Bielli

Indeed, a lack of clear and transparent communication is seemingly at the heart of the matter. Consumers are increasingly aware of shrinkflation, and resources like this Shrinkflation Tracker are popping up to help consumers track changes. Labelling and open communications regarding changes are encouraged to help manage consumer expectations.

Voxburner Youth Report 2023

From Voxburner

The Voxburner Youth Report covers all the latest trends in youth culture. In the effort to better understand the Gen Z demographic, this report sheds light on all the latest developments and research on this audience, including trends including the rise in vaping over alcohol consumption, concerns that the younger generation has over the online wellness community, and the way interest in experiential brick-and-mortar offerings are changing. Our Innovation Specialist from sister company The Red Flower Factory, Gaby Carruthers, has this to say about the report:

“This report covers many Gen Z trends which are impacting CPG, including the ‘sober curious’ movement, experiential brick-and-mortar, online wellness and the drive for more relatable influencers. It echoes much of what we’ve seen in recent TRFF Vibechecks – well worth a read to understand the latest in the lives of Gen Z.”

Gaby Carruthers, Innovation Specialist

Shopping habits have changed for good, says Aldi

From the BBC

Retailer Aldi has suggested that shoppers are buying more own-label products than ever before. Own name products are now more than half of everything shoppers buy by value, according to this article. Aldi is now the UK’s fourth-biggest supermarket, and alongside Lidl, is the fastest-growing of the supermarkets.

The article suggests that while brands are the ‘lifeblood of innovation in the food and drinks sector’, they will have to work harder to persuade shopper that products are worth paying more for, in the midst of the cost-of-living crisis and food price inflation that rose 13.6% this year until August according to the Office for National Statistics. Sevendots Partner Colin McAllister says of this news:

“Aldi continues its highly successful expansion into geographies such as UK and US. There are a number of factors behind the success, but among these, we have the turnaround in consumer perceptions of Private Labels as cheaper but of inferior quality compared to branded products – Aldi is proving that is clearly no longer the case.”

Colin McAllister

‘Companies need to re-assess the way they communicate about their purchase of carbon credits’: EU agrees ban on ‘climate neutral’ claims by 2026

From Food Navigator Europe

The EU has agreed to ban general environmental claims including ‘environmentally friendly’, ‘natural’, ‘biodegradable’, ‘climate neutral’ or ‘eco’ that are not substantiated by proof of ‘recognised excellent environmental performance’. This will come into effect by 2026.

This extends to a ban on sustainability labels that are not based on certification schemes or established by public authorities, applied not only to food and beverage products but across sectors including clothing and home appliances. This will particularly challenge the way companies communicate about their purchasing of carbon credits to offset emissions, and challenge companies more broadly to communicate with greater authority and authenticity.

Carrefour launches plant-based venture with major food companies

From Just Food

Unilever and Danone are teaming up with Carrefour to help drive sales of plant-based products. Their joint aims include testing out innovation in tastes and flavours, organising promotional campaigns, offering customer recipes and good practice advice on developing plant-based alternatives.

According to the piece, Alexandre Bompard, the chairman and CEO of Carrefour, said: “We want to offer a plant-based alternative offer that is up to the climate challenge, by reducing the carbon footprint of our food, but also the challenge of inflation, by offering a healthy and balanced [option] at affordable prices.”

Sevendots Partner Elisa Costa says of this news:

“Making plant-based alternatives tastier and more affordable is essential for broader consumer adoption, but it’s a real challenge. It’s great to see a main retailer joining forces with manufacturers to address this in a systemic and integrated approach. This could re-accelerate the growth of the category and support our planet.”

Elisa Costa

Though the French government is looking at plans to ban animal-derived names for plant-based foods (like ‘steak’), which might hinder plans, France remains the fifth-largest plant-based food market in Europe and sales are growing.

That’s it for another month! We will be back with the latest industry news that catches our eye next month.

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