08 November 2022

Our October Roundup: health performance and wellness, price management and the future of retail for Gen Z

The health credentials of CPG products exposed, alongside a tricky moment in price management, the latest in regenerative agriculture efforts, growing scepticism over sustainability claims and the future of retail as seen by Gen Z.

Christina Carè

Sevendots, London

5 minute read

Welcome back to another monthly roundup!

The US Access to Nutrition Index 2022

From Access to Nutrition

In this report, Access to Nutrition presents its report which benchmarks the “performance of the eleven largest food manufacturers active in the US to deliver healthy, affordable food and beverages enabling consumers to reach healthier diets and to prevent hunger.” While the companies they assessed have a focus on nutrition in their strategies, commitments do not always equate to action, and there was little evidence of real change in healthiness of foods on offer.

In fact, the report finds that:

Only a third of companies’ combined sales value for 11,041 products is derived from products meeting the “healthy” threshold.

While consumers continue to seek out healthy options, many CPG companies in the index claim a commitment to an offering without demonstrating real progress. This might be a missed opportunity, leaving space for smaller brands to give consumers what they want.

Nearly Every Cultivated Food Startup In Asia Just Signed A Historic Nomenclature Agreement

From Green Queen

Words like “lab-grown” meat, “clean meat” and “cell grown” have been bandied around by cellular agriculture producers. But in the Asia Pacific region, an agreement has been reached: the category is “cultivated”.

The agreement includes the Good Food Institute APAC, APAC Society for Cellular Agriculture, and more than 30 other key industry stakeholders including multinational companies Cargill and Thai Union as well as regional coalition groups including China’s Cellular Agriculture Alliance, Cellular Agriculture Australia, the Japan Association for Cellular Agriculture, and Korean Society for Cellular Agriculture.

The hope is that with greater alignment on nomenclature, and funding coming in strong, producers will be able to align more clearly internationally, working together to solve protein production concerns.

Beyond Meat’s plant-based steak launches at more than 5,000 stores

From FoodDive

Beyond Meat becomes the first US manufacturer to launch a plant-based steak product at scale. The product is described by Food Dive as ‘fairly clean-label’, made from what gluten, fava bean protein and canola oil.

The company has battled supply chain issues and price aversion from consumers, as well as unmet taste expectations. While aware of the propensity of consumers to turn away from the entire plant-based sector if they have a bad taste experience, the Beyond Steak is betting on its unique offering. Steak is still a ‘prized meat-eating experience’ however, so the bar is high.

Tony’s Chocolonely announces price drop in UK as inflation worries bite

From Confectionary News

The impacts of the war in Ukraine and rising inflation have impacted brand pricing, but Tony’s Chocolonely has implemented a price drop from £3.49 to £2.99 effective 1st October.  The move is in direct contrast with other chocolate brands who have raised prices. Sevendots Partner Colin McAllister had this to say:

“Tony’s continues to challenge the industry, as it has been doing from day one. In this case, by lowering prices, they may be combining a more pragmatic need to remain affordable for consumers who are short of money with a higher-level commitment to staying true to their mission. Either way, they could well win – both in respect and in sales.”

Colin McAllister

Tony’s Chocolonely acknowledges the strength of its mission to make ‘all chocolate 100% slave free’. By growing the company, more profits can go to farmers – they believe, “There’s more than enough money in the cocoa value chain, it’s just going to the wrong people.” To this end, selling their product and making a continued profit is important to the larger mission.

Still feeling good: The US wellness market continues to boom

From McKinsey

In this research, consumer interest in wellness is confirmed to be growing across six dimensions: health, fitness, nutrition, appearance, sleep and mindfulness. Despite a lot of innovation, this piece suggests that there are many consumer wellness needs still not being met, particularly for Millennial and Black consumer. With the lines between wellness dimensions becoming less distinct, there are opportunities to provide a range of products that help serve several demographics as well as several needs at once.

In particular, 37% of surveyed consumers felt a desire for more products and services in sleep and mindfulness. Personalization has a particularly important role to play from a marketing perspective. The piece also includes several key trends that are worth a look.

How Consumers Really Feel About Sustainable Products

From Progressive Grocer

Green claims are subject to increasing consumer scepticism, a new study finds. While 32% of respondents say they take the environment into account when purchasing, 37% felt that green alternatives “just don’t work as well”. More than half felt environmentally friendly alternatives cost too much. Tim Kenyon, VP at GfK Consumer Life has said:

“Simply doing good things does not mean that companies get a pass on the basics of everyday value and quality.”

Regenerative agriculture seen as answer to averting Africa’s growing food crisis

From Reuters

An analysis into the role regenerative agriculture will play for Africa, where 65% of land is degraded and the risks continue to rise across the continent. According to the World Economic Forum, 228 million people in Africa face chronic hunger. RA holds a lot of potential:

“[RA] could increase yields by 13% by 2040, while also creating five million new full-time jobs in farming, processing and supportive industries. In the same time frame, if 50% of Africa’s farms adopted these techniques, the additional carbon benefit alone could equate to 4.4 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (GtCO2e) – almost 10 times South Africa’s annual emissions.”

Buy-in must be reached from smallholder farms, as Africa has over 350 million of them. This is the key to real change at scale. Restore Africa is the new project set to restore 1.9 million hectares of land across six African nations. By connecting multiple stakeholders, the project touches upon so many needs across communities – there’s much more detail int eh article if you click through!

How Does Gen Z View the Future of Food Retail?

From Progressive Grocer

In this piece, Progressive Grocer shares insights from their Grocery Industry Week. Gen Z panellists agreed that convenience, value, location and environmental sustainability were amongst the top reason to choose a specific grocer over another. However, physical stores still had a place in Gen Zer decision making.

Sevendots Partner Eugenio Perrier had this to say:

“When it comes to Gen Z, there are plenty of stereotypes that could undermine the strategies of CPG companies, including the notion that Gen Z only wants to work from home, shop from their smartphones and buy sustainable products. The reality is way more complex for this cohort, who appreciate meeting face to face with their peers, visiting brick and mortar stores to carefully choose their groceries, and who are growing sceptical about the functional performance of sustainable product options…”

Eugenio Perrier

There was also a lot of love for TikTok, where Gen Zers go to find recipe ideas. Making more use of such platforms to deliver key information and make it easier for Gen Zers to discover what they need appear as opportunities for retailers and brands alike.

How PepsiCo is working to convince its farmers to embrace regenerative agriculture

From FoodDive

In this piece, we have a discussion of PepsiCo’s Pep+ sustainability platform, including its commitment to spreading regenerative agriculture practices across its key ingredient footprint and improving the livelihoods of over 250,000 suppliers. While it can be tough to get long-time farmers who have held certain practices for generations on board, the results are already beginning to demonstrate the value of new efforts to farm more sustainably.

“The CPG giant is making a point to stress the economic benefits of regenerative agriculture to its suppliers. Savings from reducing the use of synthetic fertilizers, herbicides and insecticides can help drive profit, it said in its “Positive Ag Supplier Playbook” published in May. The company pointed to Mexico’s sugar cane industry seeing yields increase after embracing a regenerative approach.”

Another element of this work is to educate consumers, sharing more transparent information about their supply chain. A whole host of other efforts goes into this programme, and you can read more at the link above

There you have it, the roundup from October. We hope this has helped you feel more up to date with what has been happening this month.

Want to share a piece that is inspiring you in next month’s roundup? Let us know on LinkedIn.

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