From the consumer lens…
**INFLATION/ONLINE SHOPPING/COUPONS/BUY NOW PAY LATER (BNPL)/IMPULSE BUYING & SOCIAL MEDIA/SHOPPABLE CONTENT: Inflation prompts interest in food private labels (https://www.fooddive.com/news/private-label-demand-surging-as-inflation-rages-report/627939/). Inflation changes food buying for those most price sensitive: switching brands and where they shop (https://www.fooddive.com/news/how-food-inflation-is-shaping-shopping-habits/625235/) yet some places are placing a moratorium on small box discount retailers (SBDR) due to their link to food deserts (https://www.eater.com/23026173/dollar-store-general-food-deserts). Consumers may spend 1 1/2 times on online groceries vs. in-store (https://www.tastingtable.com/929795/online-grocery-orders-are-increasing-in-popularity-despite-inflation/). Coupons moving online make savings unavailable to some (https://www.cnn.com/2022/07/22/business/coupons-savings-stores-inflation/index.html). Grocery apps usage up/search for apps using the term ‘coupon’ usage (https://www.grocerydive.com/news/grocery-apps-usage-spike-q1/626382/). US consumers show a mix of responses to higher prices with those that can least afford it affected the most: food pantries strained, ‘lower-end’ diners changing their orders but better-off shoppers continue buying premium items (https://www.ft.com/content/ea4d6ee2-7cca-4081-a491-870d4045646b). BNPL (Buy Now Pay Later) for those with no wiggle room in their budgets: some use this “loan’ to buy food (https://www.cnn.com/2022/07/06/economy/buy-now-pay-later-bnpl-inflation-data/index.html). Impulse buys easier on social media – algorithms figures out your interests, product reviews from ‘real’ people influence you, videos more convincing than photos, link to buy online from SM site, tags – ‘As Seen on TikTok’ (https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2022/07/12/social-media-impulse-buy-instagram-tiktok/10013632002/). Another shoppable option arrives at Walmart, Target (https://www.grocerydive.com/news/tyson-foods-adds-shoppable-content-to-target-walmart-sites/626904/).
**MANUFACTURER/FAST FOOD NUTRITION GOALS/REDUCED SUGAR: Pepsico ahead of its schedule to to make drinks and snacks with less saturated fat in snacks, added sugar in drinks (https://www.tastingtable.com/921532/pepsico-is-slashing-its-unhealthy-ingredients-ahead-of-schedule/). Yum Brands (Taco Bell, KFC, others) makes progress on its nutrition goals for menu options (https://www.foodbusinessnews.net/articles/21811-yum-making-progress-against-nutrition-criteria-goal). CapriSun cuts sugar 40% with monk fruit…will other manufacturers follow? (https://www.fooddive.com/news/capri-sun-cuts-sugar-monk-fruit-reformulation/628191/).
**PRODUCTS THAT LOOK LIKE CANDY/FAIR FOOD/UNSAFE FOOD: Tide Pods not the only product that imitates food…we look for fun, food is fun, the ‘why’ behind the pods candy, colorful look (https://www.cnn.com/2022/07/16/business/tide-pods-laundry-detergent-history/index.html). State fair food in 2022…examples from Indiana, Minnesota, Texas (https://thetakeout.com/the-best-new-state-fair-food-menus-of-2022-1849169524), Wisconsin (https://wistatefair.com/fair/new-foods/) and Florida in 2023 (https://floridastatefair.com/fair/food/). A TikTok viral food video – pink sauce – has food safety experts concerned (https://www.health.com/news/pink-sauce-tiktok-food-safety-concerns). Two food safety experts (Risky or Not podcast) say it’s ‘risky’ and $$$$ ($20 for a bottle not including shipping costs of $10!). The experts note red flags…the label states ‘Not FDA approved,’ and ‘Keep refrigerated’ but it’s shipped in an unrefrigerated bag. Lest you think these experts are only about criticism one says he will reach out to the entrepreneur of the sauce to see if he can help her navigate the food safety aspects of selling this product. Listen to their 15 minute podcast (https://www.riskyornot.co/episodes/333-pink-sauce).
From the retailer/manufacturer lens…
SHRINKFLATION/CHIPOTLE & MCDONALD’S APPROACH TO PRICE INCREASES: Shrinkflation examples as of June 2022: Doritos bag goes from 9.75 oz. to 9.25 oz. but costs the same, Hersheys dark chocolate kisses go from 18 oz. to about 16 oz., 2 Reese’s peanut butter cups go from 1.6 oz. to 1.5 oz., Tillamook ice cream tubs go from 56 to 48 oz. and the company says that it was either decrease the size or raise the price, General Mills ‘family size’ cereals go from 19.3 to 18.1 oz., Quaker Life goes from’Giant’ (24.8 oz.) to ‘Family’ (22.3 oz.); Wheat Thins family size goes from 16 to 14 oz. w/about 28 fewer crackers; Gatorade’s redesigned bottle goes from 32 to 28 oz.; Chobani Flips go from 5.3 to 4.5 oz. (https://www.businessinsider.com/shrinkflation-grocery-stores-pringles-cereal-candy-bars-chocolate-toilet-paper-cadbury-2021-7). Pepsico talks of future ways to address inflation including smaller sizes of products (https://www.fooddive.com/news/pepsico-price-hikes-smaller-sizes-july-2022/627076/). Chipotle menu prices are cheaper than their counterparts – they’ve raised prices but less than competitors (https://www.tastingtable.com/931547/new-data-reveals-chipotle-is-10-cheaper-than-its-competitors/). McDonald’s ‘baby steps’ approach to increasing menu prices (https://www.cnn.com/2022/07/26/business/mcdonalds-menu-prices/index.html).
RECESSION STRATEGIES/REFORMULATION/WINNING BACK CUSTOMERS: How some food companies are considering how to operate id there’s a recession (https://www.fooddive.com/news/how-5-food-and-beverage-companies-are-preparing-for-a-recession/627418/).
Inflation means more packaged food reformulation – a survey finds more than half have had to change ingredients (https://www.tastingtable.com/929605/new-study-shows-inflation-is-forcing-brands-to-change-their-recipes/). Shortages of ingredients mean reformulation as much as 20 times (https://www.eatthis.com/news-general-mills-is-changing-its-ingredients/). Heinz trying to win back customers with lower prices/coupons (https://www.tastingtable.com/944355/why-you-might-see-more-discounts-on-kraft-heinz-products-soon/).