5 Trends in Action: Food Matters Live!


November 27, 2018

by Ally Guppy

Food Matters Live took place in ExCel London last week packing over 140 talks, seminars and demonstrations on food, drink and nutrition into three consecutive days. For anyone who hasn’t heard of or been to Food Matters Live, it’s an annual event that showcases the newest trends and developments in product, pack, branding and consumer behaviour within the FMCG industry. It’s also a great opportunity to discover new and innovative brands who exhibit at the event, as well as networking with other attendees.

I had the pleasure of attending on Tuesday and Wednesday, leaving with bags of knowledge surrounding current trends and consumer behaviours (as well as a handful of goodies to snack on over the next few days!). This blog post will cover the key trends, and I’ve narrowed it down to my top 5.


Nucao Bars

It’s no surprise that one of the most talked about topics was plastic. We’re all aware of the problems caused by single-use plastic, faced daily with photos of plastic-filled oceans and beaches so covered in litter that you can’t see the sand. Research findings shared at Food Matters Live showed that consumers are taking this plastic problem into account when deciding which products to buy, meaning it’s something that brands need to be taking into consideration! Plastic-free packaging is on the increase with many companies choosing to use biodegradable or recyclable materials such as card. Nu+cao are an eco-conscious chocolate company from Dresden in Germany and are a perfect example of a brand that is using plastic-free packaging. The chocolate bars are wrapped in a biodegradable film made from cellulose, and the outer packaging is cardboard. They also go one step further; for each bar sold they plant a tree in the countries that need it most, helping the people to earn a living, prevent soil erosion and flooding and to absorb as much CO2 from the air as possible.


You may remember a time when focus was directed towards what wasn’t included in products (think ‘low calorie’ snacks and ‘fat free’ yoghurt). However, things are starting to look a little different now. With knowledge on nutrition easy to find and a growing focus on health and fitness, consumers are looking for what products do have in them. For example, many yoghurt brands now offer ‘protein yoghurt’ which has extra protein added to it, some juices are now clearly labelled as being ’high in vitamin C’ or energy bars state they’re ‘high in fibre’. Make the nutritional aspects of your product clear on the front of pack to tap in to this key trend.


BumbleZest Ginger JuiceBumbleZest BottlesLinking to the previous trend of nutrition inclusion, consumers are becoming more health-conscious and as a result are looking more closely at the ingredients listed on pack. Seeing an ingredient that they can’t pronounce or visualise in their mind can be off-putting to a consumer looking for a natural product that they believe will benefit them. BumbleZest is a great example of a brand that’s focusing on making natural ingredients clear to the consumer, so clear that the main message on each bottle clearly states the ingredients in large, bold text. On top of this, the benefits of each are listed on the side, for example ‘ginger, turmeric and collagen’ will ‘revive and restore’. This tells the consumer exactly how each drink will benefit them, without the need to Google any strange-sounding ingredients!


This is all about making a product or experience that’s personal to your consumers, making them feel unique, included or cared for. A well-known example of this is Coca Cola’s ‘Share A Coke’ Campaign; the iconic bottle personalised with names, which encouraged a bit of fun for consumers when purchasing. Personalisation can come in many forms, including macro and micro and needstate; for example, at a macro level you might make a gluten-free snack which is personalised to coeliacs, or a meatless burger for vegetarians or vegans. You could appeal to a particular needstate by adding a spoon to a yoghurt pot, appealing to those who snack on the go. Or you can go into even more detail like Luhv Drinks (photographed on the right) did, targeting consumers with specific health concerns by creating drinks with names such as ‘heart’, ‘skin’, ‘mind’, ‘awake’, ‘focus’ and ‘calm’. Pay close attention to your consumers’ interests and lifestyles and how your product could make their lives easier or better. What will make them want to share on Instagram? What they will feel proud to be eating or drinking?


Research shared at one seminar reaffirmed that white, clean labelled packaging cues healthy, natural, simple and good for you. However, it also indicated a risk of cueing ‘boring’ or ‘plain’. Without doubt, colours draw people in, and intense or bold colours can indicate intense flavour and experience. If a health-conscious consumer is looking for a snack that tastes good and is healthy, they’re likely to look at the ingredients list rather than judge healthiness entirely by pack. For some products like smoothies, salad dressings or sauces, nutritional value may be shown through the use of a clear bottle, allowing the colour of the product to speak for itself. The use of see-through packaging also links into the natural ingredients trend. Showing off your product in this way proves that you’ve got nothing to hide.

It’s always good to keep up with trends, both in pack and product, but it’s crucial to remember that to really succeed in market, the entire brand proposition must be aligned to your consumers’ expectations. An amazing pack might look good on the shelf, but if the product doesn’t deliver what you’re promising the odds will be against you when it comes to repeat purchase. Go beyond the graphic to create a truly meaningful experience for your consumer.

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