How the French use online platforms for grocery shopping ?

How the French use online platforms for grocery shopping ?

Food & Digital JDN#Events


MARCH, 2016

On April 4th 2017, all the actors of the French FoodTech were set up at the Maison des Champs Elysees to share the latest news about the industry and grocery shopping.

The most eagerly awaited moment of the day was the presentation of the CCM Benchmark Institute study on Food & Digital in France.

Source: CCM Benchmark

What are the new online consumption practices in France, in 2016?

This online study is based on a panel of 1040 web users, released in December 2016 using the quota method of sampling. “Food & Digital study CCM Benchmark Institut”

Audrey Fauconnier, project manager of the panel in charge of the study, has provided us with full data about the new consumer behavior trends in 2016.

42 % of web users have already done their food shopping using an online supermarket.


Also, we notice that the top three products most purchased online by the web users, in 2016, are of the snacking and soft drinks type.

On the other hand, 43 % of web users have already made their food shopping on another online marketplace that is different from an online supermarket.

  • E-commerce dynamic for online grocery shopping.

Today, two trends stand out: 19% of e-buyers believe they will do more online grocery shopping in the future. In addition, 17% of non-e-buyers would be ready to try the online grocery shopping experience. In this way, the future outlook for e-commerce food shopping growth is optimistic.

  • Online grocery shopping: buying or not?

Recent Blog Posts

Is premium the future of FMCG?

Consumers are looking for premium brands and premium brands are the most successful worldwide. Premium products grew by 21% in Southeast Asia, by 23% in China between 2012 and 2014 and 26% in the USA from Apr 2015 to Apr 2016 across the home care and personal care...

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Is premium the future of FMCG?

Is premium the future of FMCG?

Consumers are looking for premium brands and premium brands are the most successful worldwide. Premium products grew by 21% in Southeast Asia, by 23% in China between 2012 and 2014 and 26% in the USA from Apr 2015 to Apr 2016 across the home care and personal care categories, (Nielsen, 2016a). Different factors helped the growth of premium products:

  • Economic growth of middle class: Middle class is massively growing especially across emerging countries (Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, etc) and by 2030 (Reuters, 2012) will almost count 5 billion people worldwide (two times the current middle class population). This will encourage people to access a many different products and to expand their shopping basket with highest probability to trade up for premium products.


  • Urbanization: many people will move from the countryside or rural areas to cities and towns (from the current 2 billion to 5 billion by 2030, Nielsen, 2016b) gaining access to more services who will help to raise the premium products consumption. For instance, even more people will access Internet to be informed and buy and even more people will access convenience store or specialised stores to purchase premium products.


  • Digitalization: At the beginning of 2017 more than half the global population uses a smartphone, almost two-thirds has a mobile phone, more than half of all mobile connections are now ‘broadband’ and arond 20% of the world’s population shopped online in the past 30 days (We Are Social, 2017) Thanks to this data and thinking about the massive digital future growth more and more consumers will be affected by the effects of the omnichannel. The combination of different and many touchpoints any time and anywhere will make information more accessible and, as a result, many consumers more influenced by advertising, educational information, promotions, etc.


  • Wider offer available (private labels and brands). If in the past only manufacturers offered premium brands in last 10 years we saw a new phenomenon showing how even retailers could launch premium labels on the market moving from aggressive promotion and discounting to better and higher quality in their offer (especialy on food and beverage).On top, we can also talk about the rising of local brands and smaller countries which, although a different impact depending on the countries and regions, massively contribute to increase the percentage of premium products on the market.


1. What are consumers looking for?

According to Nielsen (2016a) many reasons encourage consumers to buy premium products. Results are different across different countries, regions and consumers generations:

  • Overall there is no always a correlation between highest incomes and premium products purchase rate. Indeed, the study (Nielsen, 2016a) shows how in many countries and regions a better salary doesn’t always influence the attitude to spend more.
  • Price is not the only attribute consumers link to premium products. Only 31% of global respondents declared to think about a premium product when the price is high. On the other hand quality and performance are considered a plus. Quality and performances change depending on the product category we are talking about. For food quality is made by the ingredients used to make that product, while for a home care product by the effectiveness of a formulation. Other factors are the design or the brand name. The bottle design for a detergent or the brand awareness might be decisive to encourage consumers to purchase a product in a certain category regardless the quality and the performance. Even sustainable attributes are relevant especially among the youngest generations (Millennials and Generation Z).
  • Social aspirations and status are important: many respondents, especially in emerging countries, declared that buying premium products increases their self-esteem, feel them better or more confident about themselves as individual or as members of social groups.

2. Private Labels vs brands: what’s the status?

The relevant growth of the premium fmcg products on shelf has been also facilitated by the launch of premium private labels. From the report (Nielsen, 2014) we can see how Europe, North America and Oceania, are the main region wolrdwide in terms of private labels presence. In Italy (Il Sole 24 Ore, 2016) premium and bio private labels products generated €1.32 billion (13.2% of the total private label segment value of the market in Sept 2016, respectively + 14% and +16.1%, vs Sept 2015). On the other hand low cost private labels lost share (-22% in value vs Sept 2015) only representing 2.6% of the total private label segment.

Figure 1: Premium Private Labels products in Italy, branded “Top Esselunga” 

premium products in italy prodotti_top


Local retailers massively invested in brand management and innovations in recent years building a high brand equity across different categories, with the main goal of creating store loyalty and getting better trade terms conditions vs manufacturers. However, there are categories (such as personal care) showing highest and similar value share across different regions around the world.

For brands the premium fmcg path is almost mandatory. Brands should continue to raise investments in brand management through marketing investments in communication and innovations, to better communicate the uniqueness of their value proposition and make their brand equity stronger. In order to do so, heavily marketing research investments looking for new and unmet needs among consumers are required to get the right consumer insights.

However perception of brands vs private labels even for premium products changes depending on the region and on the country. In Europe, Latin America, North America and Oceania, there is a high qualitative perception of private labels, considered as key SKUs able to drive brand differentiation and store loyalty. On the other hand the situation is completely different in Africa, Asia and Middle East, where consumers show the highest willingness to pay premium prices for brands. Most of the respondents still consider buying private labels too risky.


3. Management Implications


  • Only some products can be upgraded (Nielsen, 2016a): Personal Care is the main category across many regions showing highest differentation and innovations rate vs other products categories. Regardless this trend, differences and opportunities across categories are different depending on the country and on the region. Premium perceptions are not the same worldwide for all products and categories.


Figure 2: Premium’s Value share per Category across different global regions (Nielsen, 2016a)

Premium products growth

  • Think global act local: Differences are relevant depending on the market and the region we are taking into account. This implies how even marketing strategy should be locally adapted to support the launch of a premium product on the long-term, depending on the market area to be served.


  • Focus on digital and optimize your in-store visibility: In order to get highest results and makes the product successful an excellent quality, distribution or price are not enough. Firms and professionals need to find the right communication. Depending on products peculiarities firms need to find a balance between touchpoints showing highest awareness and trials (typically TVCs and high store visibility) and touchpoints showing a high degree of persuasion (e.g. digital). In many cases both brands and private labels are still struggling to achieve these goals.





Il Sole 24 Ore (2016), Private Label, la corsa è premium, December,

Nielsen (2016a), Moving on Up, December

Nielsen (2016b), The Dirt on Cleaning, April

Nielsen (2014), The State Of Private Label Around The World, November

Reuters (2012), The Swelling Middle,

We Are Social (2017), Digital in 2017: Global Overview

How FMCG brands can win with their own e-commerce

How FMCG brands can win with their own e-commerce

FMCG brands need to enhance their online presence

Although the relevance that physical stores still play for FMCG brands, manufacturers need to enhance their online presence through a successful e-commerce model. On one hand even though online sales are currently representing only 3.7% of the total (offline and online) global FMCG sales (Kantar 2015) if FMCG players will be able to overcome the main barriers are currently blocking the e-grocery success the online grocery sales might have the potential to rise to 28 % if 60 % of global households would buy online at least once a  month (Kantar, 2015).

This growth will be facilitated by the rising of Internet users globally[1], by a better and superior customer service (e.g. thanks to the enhancement of the last-mile delivery autonomous ground vehicles[2]) and by solutions will be able to deliver amazing experiences and fun to consumers (e.g. the experience of virtual stores in South Korea or the availability of smart electrical appliances – e.g. smart fridges or smart washing machines).

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Sum up :

• Online shoppers look for a selling model based on cost, time, availability and fun

• FMCG companies can overcome some of their barriers through the e-commerce

• FMCG companies need to take into account local differences across categories, consumers and retailers [/mks_pullquote]

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In order to reach these goals manufactuers have a wide range of choices available. Most of them are improving their online presence through better websites (most of them also finally optimised for mobile devices) and a better usage of e-mails and social media (e.g. through targeted campaigns and initiatives).

That said, among manufacturers only few players in few markets are currenly selling their products online through their online proprietary website with a DTC (direct-to consumer) model.

The aim of the article is to show the advantages and disadvantages of the direct-to consumer models (i.e. the possibility to create and sell their own brands and products online) and in the end, the management implications concerning the usage of this model.

1. Direct-to-consumer (DTC): advantages and disadvantages

The FMCG industry is mainly affected by the following peculiarities:

  • Non durable and low value products
  • Low-switching costs
  • High purchase frequency
  • High impulse purchase

This four peculiarities imply a high competitive marketplace, where competition is high (both manufactures and retailers are offering their own brands), where it is hard to create brand loyalty (because of the low switching costs and impulse purchase) and where it is always more complicated to increase prices and getting higher margins.

For this reason consumers can have a wide range of choices available to satisfy their needs and, at the same time, even manufacturers can have different options to sell their products.

Historically physical stores represent the main selling channel for manufacturers. Since the physical surfaces belong to retailers, over the years, their power highly increased, while the one of manufacturers massively reduced, by forcing most of them (especially small and medium firms) to produce for retailers. However, the rising of the Internet allowed manufacturers to get a new channel to exploit, despite some barriers must still take into account.

Nowadays the online FMCG marketplace is quite fragmented across different regions and countries, due to cultural, local, legal and technologic differences. That’s why solutions implemented by FMCG manufacturers are different accordingly.






The following table tries to show the main advantages and disadvantages of a direct-to consumer model (Table 1).

Table 1: Advantages and disadvantages of a direct-to consumer model (Source: Techingrocery, 2016)


Among advantages FMCG manufacturers can build a direct relationship with consumers. Indeed they can get a better knowledge of their consumers, getting valuable information to better invest in innovation, communication, distribution and measuring the ROI, building brands, testing new products, pricing, etc.

Moreover, with the higher power of retailers (e.g. the launch of private labels), the rising of competition (more local brands) and the last distribution trends (e.g. physical store downsize) the online channel allows FMCG manufacturers to solve some of the main issues they have in-store (i.e. troubles to increase prices, to list products, to leverage a repeat purchase, to reduce the impulse purchase…) with the competition and the market.


Regarding the disadvantages, the channel conflicts with all retailers (bricks-and-mortars, click-and mortars and pure players) are one of the main risks. Indeed, since retailers are still the main buying channel for consumers (both offline and online), especially for the wider range of products available, they could react delisting products or getting better trades terms. Being online also implies different supply chain models; indeed, if in the past manufacturers were used to sell a double volume of products to retailers, with the e-commerce the order from consumers will be only a small fraction sold to retailers. Other risks concern the probability that consumers might compare prices (e.g. dynamic prices) more easily, as well as the risk of a price fragmentation. Indeed compared to a physical store, where prices to compare are limited at the physical space available, the online marketplace allows consumers to check an unlimited number of prices and products across different websites. Regarding the price fragmentation, it is quite high the risk that consumers will find different prices in the physical store and in the online website, creating confusion and reducing the trust of consumers towards brands. Indeed, while in-stores prices are quite different and flexible across locations in the same country, online prices are the same among all consumers that live in the same country.

Last but not least the channel cannibalization and the consumer experience. Regarding the channel cannibalization, firms are both offline and online might have internal problems. For example managers (responsible for different channels) might have different goals in terms of volume sales, even to the detritment of others managers. Thus, the responsible of a specific account (a traditional retailer) with a remuneration based on sales results towards that account (a traditional retailer) might impact on the goals of the manager in charge of the direct-to-consumer website.

In the end the consumer experience. Nowadays there are no existing apps or devices that are able to replace the powerful sensory experiences (this is especially true for fresh food) and the human interaction that physical stores can provide. Furthermore, consumers like visiting stores with the family or with friends and have fun by doing shopping. For this reason retailers are increasingly investing  in digital innovations to improve the in-store experience (e.g. through virtual reality or beacons).


2. Management Implications


  • Take into account cultural and local differences among consumers and retailers: differences across countries and regions are quite varying and require specific actions. For instance in the UK the main channel is the “indirect e-commerce (i.e. selling products through clicks-and-mortar stores and pure-players)”, where retailers show a high power even online. In emergent online markets, as Italy, FMCG manufacturers decided to focus on all existing channels (even launching direct-to-consumer products), because the online channel is not well-developed as in the UK for example. Even retailers peculiarities and differences (e.g. in terms of trade terms costs) should be take into account and might vary depending on countries and regions). Regarding consumers, try to adapt your online service to local peculiarities (e.g. offering specific payment methods)
  • Take into account differences across categories: not all categories show the same online growth. Among varying categories food and beverage products are the smallest category, while consumer healthcare products (e.g. razors, creams, OTCs, etc.) represent the main one. Consumers still show uncertainty to buy fresh food and beverage online), where the sensory experience still plays a key role.
  • Successful e-commerce models focused on cost, time, availability and fun: In terms of cost and time consumers find more convenient buying online, since they can save relevant costs (e.g. transportation costs and time, finding more convenient prices having, at the same time, a wider range available). That’s why it is also essential offering different delivery options. In terms of availability consumers can buy online whenever they want with a wider range of products. They can also customise their purchase solution, choosing for the one they need in a specific moment. In terms of fun consumers require amazing experiences online. For instance Peapod’s virtual stores in the US are able to simulate the store experience making funny and unique the buying experience.
  • Take into account analytics, content and targetization: Analytics is essential to figure out new consumer and shopper insights that might help crucial implications in terms of branding, communication, innovation, etc. Content is also relevant: internal information, ratings and reviews, tutorials, mobile applications, etc. are key to add value to the shopper experience. Last but not least targetization: a right targeting approach allows manufacturers to better reach targets with different socio-demographic and psychographic characteristics . This is needed to reach mass audiences online and getting a right ROI.
  • Build a right organisation: developing its own e-commerce implies a more structured organisation (PwC, 2012), where digital shopper marketing teams should cooperate more closely to the marketing teams and along with traditional shopper marketing teams in order to create a better coordination to take advantage of resources might be used in common to take different actions (traditional shopper marketing teams to drive traffic in-store and post-purchase, while digital teams to increase the shopping cart and drive traffic in the e-commerce website)

[1] Kantar estimated that global Internet users will be 48 % of the total global population in 2017 (Kantar 2015)

[2] Mckinsey (2016) estimated that autonomous vehicles (including drones) will deliver approximately 80% of the total B2C items (across to all existing B2C categories) sold online.



Kantar (2015), Accelerating the growth of e-commerce in FMCG

McKinsey (2016), How customer demands are reshaping last-mile delivery

PwC (2012), A strategy for omnichannel success




The future impact of mature consumers in the FMCG industry

The future impact of mature consumers in the FMCG industry

Considered one of the top trends will shape the FMCG industry in 2017, mature consumers phenomenon may have important implications for FMCG, where both manufacturers and retailers need to rethink their products and services in order to be more attractive for the mature segment

In 2015, around 1,6 billion people worldwide aged 50 and over and by 2050 this number might double by approximately reaching 3,2 people (AT Kearney, 2013).

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Sum up :

• Mature segment will represent a key segment in coming years

• Many FMCG manufacturers and retailers are already massively investing for mature consumers

• Mature consumers are not all the same [/mks_pullquote]

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Therefore, what it is sure, it is that FMCG professionals will face with a population that will be healthier, older and even wealthier. Indeed, R&D improvements in the drugs production, clinical trials and medical researches progresses in the fight of serious diseases will allow people to live longer and healthier. This fact will have relevant implications in terms of wellness; firstly people aged 50 and over will increase their presence at work, by representing a relevant share of the total workforce, especially in developed countries. Secondly by working longer, and by continuing to earn and spend wages, they will represent the richest segment in many countries.



1. What mature consumers want

A research made by AT Kearney (AT Kearney, 2013), with a sample of 3,000 consumers (aged 60 and over) interviewed, shows all consumption characteristics of the segment:


  • A clearer and easier product packaging: for many consumers the pack of many products would not be clear enough. Most of them claim to have a better product description in the front of pack where, often, the label showing the type of product is too small and not visible. Moreover even the packaging itself would be too complicated to open in many cases, by generating confusion for mature consumers.


  • Need of more assistance and services inside the stores: many mature consumers would like to get more help from clerks inside the store (most the products are hard to reach on shelves, because they are either too high or too low). This need is against what we are recently looking at (i.e. many retailers which are dawnsizing their stores, especially in developed countries, by also reducing the number of employees). They would also claim the need of more services (i.e. more places to sit down and where they could relax throughout their shopping experience as coffee areas) even in the so-called proximity stores (the preferred store format by many consumers interviewed)


  • Shopping behaviour is different vs younger generations: although the differences across markets and global regions, mature consumers show a different buying behaviour. They would be more willing to spend more for branded products (and less for promo items and special offers) by also purchasing a smaller number of items. Additionally they would prefer shopping during weekdays, early in the mornings and with more frequence during the week since they love shopping by looking at it as an alternative way to spend their free time


  • Technology is always more relevant: the number of mature consumers facing to the Internet and to the digital devices world is increasingly growing. Across many markets consumers claim to start shopping online (through home delivery service) and most of them would like to be well informed at home and in-store during their shopping experience.


2. Are FMCG companies and retailers really paying  attention to matures segment?

Procter and Gamble divested all its food and beverage brands by focusing more on beauty and personal care brands: In 2014 P&G announced that it would have sold around 100 brands (i.e. Pringles to Kellogs and pet food brand sas Iams, Eukanuba and Natura to Mars and Spectrum Brands from across its portfolio to focus on its top most profitable brands. With this choice P&G would be focus more on beauty and personal care brands (at the top of the mature consumer shopping list). Pantene, for example, shows and important range of Age Defy, a specific range focused on 50 or older women, offering shampoos, conditioners and advanced thickening treatment


Pantene age defy


Unilever is increasingly becoming a personal care companies. Indeed, although Unilever massively divested in the Foods business as of 2014 by selling 7 foods brands just in 2014, it always remains the main congloemerate company in FMCG. The following graph 1 shows this trend at Unilever, representing the food category decline in terms of turnover in 2015 vs previous years.

Graph 1: Unilever Turnover trends across the last 4 years within the 4 Unilever categories

Graph Unilever data

Source: Unilever Annual reports (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015)

Dove, for instance, launched Pro Age, offering body wash, cream and deodorants for women between 50 and 65 years old.



L’Oréal showing an important range of products for mature consumers, especially with L’Oréal Paris, offering anti wringle creams, hair colour and hair care products. Thanks to the 2015 massive campaign “L’Oreal Paris Age Perfect campaign”, showed how mature consumers represent a massive opportunity to boost sales in coming years.

L’Oreal Paris Age Perfect campaign


Many retailers across many markets in order to value the proximity service in center urban areas are offering a free (or in many cases a cheap) home delivery service (depending on the final shopping bill) both if they shopping in-store or online. Most of them are also investing to semplify their online service as well as the usability of their applications and websites to make easier the navigation for baby boomers and more mature consumers.

Carrefour express Italia


Others try to better satisfy simple but relevant needs for old consumers. Main example are the Japanese supermarkets where the local giant retailer Aeon launched floors inside their supermarkets fully thought for the mature segment: larger aisles, more accessible shelves, relaxing areas inside the store, personal shoppers help consumers to pick up the shopping until the parking and escalators are slower to avoid accidents.


A customer shops for vegetables at an Aeon Co. supermarket in Chiba, Japan, on Tuesday, April 1, 2014. Japan's economy will probably withstand a sales tax increase that takes effect today as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe prepares economic stimulus measures and companies raise wages, the country's new bank lobby chief Nobuyuki Hirano said. Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg



3. Management Implications


  • Mature consumers need different and specific strategies to be satisfied: from a manufacturer perspective older consumers need to have easier packs and clearer information on them. Even the communication should be direct and simple, without being so much refined. From a retailer perspective mature consumers need bigger stores with more services inside. Online they need something easy and quick to be used and understood
  • Mature consumers are not all the same: as per other important segments what we generally showed above does not reflect the overall market. Significant differences remain across consumers coming from different markets, with a different age, education and digital access. Just to stay in Europe we cannot classify equally 50s British consumers with 50s Italian consumers as consumers are equally browsing online and buying FMCG products online
  • Mature consumers represent a significant growing segment for coming years: in order to raise sales and value FMCG manufacturers and retailers will need to dedicare more energies and time to this segment, the only one growing (especially in developed markets) both in terms of number of people and in shopping value. As mentioned in this article, mature consumers will represent the main workforce and the richest segment for next decades, especialy in developed markets.



AT Kearney (2013), Understanding the Needs and Consequences of the Ageing Consumer

Unilever Annual Reports (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015)

Top 10 food trends in Europe

Top 10 food trends in Europe

Top 10 food trends in Europe:

Dried vegetables, protein-rich yogurt, burger without beef. These products are not only the core of organic shops, they become alternatives increasingly popular with consumers who aspire to a generally healthier diet … even if sugary is still a venial sin assumed. Overview of these top 10 food trends observed in Europe with Innova Market and Nielsen insights.

1 – Go with Transparency

27% of Europeans would like to stop eating transformed products. Consumers want a clear list of ingredients and transparency of the recipe. Some supplier don’t hesitate to highlight the recipe. In France, Marie made the brand name of one their product “All Simply “, where the ingredient list intends to be as short as reassuring. In US, for jerky products, local producer, Wild Merman, highlights  the nutrition facts.

top10food_marie        salmonjerky_1

2 – Go with Flexitarian

The soft vegetarian which consume meat in small quantity, has grown by 25% between 2011 and 2015. Vegetable Nuggets for kids, vegan salami and other alternatives are under expansion. Retailer like Carrefour adopted this trend with its private label “Carrefour Veggie” in France. In US, Hilary’s Mediterranean vegan burgers were recognized as a lighter and healthier version of a fried falafel.

top10food_veggie       hilary veggie

3 – Go with“0%”

There is now 12% desired gluten-free products, with an increase of 30% between 2011 and 2015. If these customers still a niche, the image is such that some products naturally gluten or lactose, even boast of his absence! The offer is growing, Innova Market’s insights noted, indeed a huge 26% increase of products bearing the words “without” the last four years. Recently in UK, Coca cola launched its new brand ‘Coca Cola Zero Sugar’ to highlight the fewer calories. In 2020 they target more than 50% of their sells from Diet coke range. Bjorg, widely known for their Gluten-free assortment, are present in 1/3 home in France.

top10food_zero top10food_bjorg

4 – Go with Natural Process

Key success is to enhance naturalness of the products, betting on natural and ancestral manufacturing methods. Fresh prepared goods are highly valued by retailers. Nestlé yogurt brand “La Laitière” use this image of ancestral fabrication indicating that only the fermentation participated in rendering its dairy product. Private label as “Carrefour Lunch Time” highlights this natural made image.

top10food_lalaitire top10food_salad

5 – Go with Vegetables & Fruits

These plants have never been so good news! If their benefits are globally well communicated, its hegemony is now spread in many product categories. For example fruit juice, a quarter of new products marketed in 2015 has at least one vegetable in their composition, against 16 % in 2011. Another trend that follows, the soup acquires acclaim . In Spain, the cold & hot soups are increasingly premium, like the brand Tio or Mucho Gazpacho

vegetable souptop10food_tio

6 – Go with Labels

The origin is a new recurring motif in the marketing of food products. Recognized labels linked to the origin of products tend to comfort consumers. The development of protected geographical indications (PGI) help brands to seduce shoppers. In France, as each year, Herta (Nestle) and Fleury Michon still the most loved brands, their labels play a large part of this success.

top10food_ham top10food_herta

7 – Go with Local

Local taste preference dominates: Local companies often have a deeper understanding of consumer tastes in their market and can respond more quickly to changing needs. Local products are a great way through which to differentiate, able to reinforce the link with local farmers and producers and provide a guarantee of food security. Retailers know how to link local farmer to shopper mostly through private label. Carrefour has one especially for Italy (Terre d’Italia) and France (Reflets de France). Virginia Tea company is a popular start up which promotes the American East Coast tea with an exclusive local sourcing.

top 10 food trends  top 10 food trends


8 – Go with Protein

Rich-protein products keep healthy. These products, originally created to satisfy athletes, are now desired by the mass market. Rich protein yogurt are a good example in terms of diversification as Danone did with Light & fit assortment. In a more local format, Think Jerky got funded in two month in 2015 by proposing a creative and healthy snack offer.



9 – Go with Fun

In 2020, Millennials will be the largest group of shoppers worldwide. Global mobile penetration will be 70% and the main influencing device will be online video. Buzz create an emotional link with the product, well-executed humor appeal, enhances recollection, evaluation and the intent to purchase. Doritos Roulette is a famous case, containing some ultra-spiced chips, makers claims they are the hottest sold in the UK. Jelly Belly is also well-known among younger in this concept, they even created a board game with their candies. In YouTube they are both doing the buzz with more than ten millions views.

top10food_jelly top 10 food trends


10 – Go with Exoticism

Discovering new foreign flavours still a famous trend and constantly renewed. Exotic products remain a niche market which contributes to renew the offer. It’s important for retailer and supplier to find the exotic touch of the moment. As Asian flavours are quite trendy in Europe nowadays, Unilever with his local brand Conimex in the Netherlands and global brand, Knorr Asia.



Source: Innova Market Insights, Nielsen, Kantar TNS, top 10 food trends

Pet food category: the significant growth

The significant growth of the pet food category



One of the most growing categories in recent years is pet food. GfK (2016) estimated a 4% YoY sales growth in 2015, with a total market value of  $70 billion, with NAM and Europe representing 67.14% of the total global market

Pet food market size worldwide (Source: GfK, 2016)

1. Sum up: Pet food Market 


• Shoppers show a human buying behavior even for pet food products

• The retail environment is highly fragmented

• Pet food online sales are increasingly rising across the total FMCG online sales

The main reason for the growth of this industry is due to changes of consumer habits.

In this sense, it is increasing the number of consumers who are considering pets (mainly cats and dogs) as part of their family (up percentage points in 2015 vs 2007, Nielsen 2016). It is not a case that in a recent research (Nielsen, 2016) made in France and USA, both French and American said :

” They’d willing to give up chocolate in order for their pet to have high-quality food”

and some Americans with a Netflix subscription would be willing to cancel their subscription to better satisfy their pets needs.

The findings of the research (Nielsen, 2016) clearly shows how, in general, pet owners are trying to replicate their consumption style and lifestyle when they have to shop for their pets. Indeed:

  • Natural foods is growing and it is becoming the main reason to believe for many brands: consumers claim to prefer natural ingredients vs scientific claims describing some industrial manipulation with the ingredients. Especially American declared to be strongly against GMOs or claims that can be close to GMOs meaning. That’s why all claims that inform pet owners of natural attributes and ingredients are better performing than claims that inform about a scientific additive or formula included in the SKU.


  • At the same time, the research also riveals how many consumers (especially French) are concerned about the lack of enough information on pack regarding the origins of the ingredients and a clear nutritional table. Overall we can affirm how pet owners feel highly responsible of the health and the well-being of their pets.
Pet food market size worldwide (Source: GfK, 2016)
  • Peculiar innovations show some constraints: pet owners see with confidence the possibility to replicate some innovations got a good success for humans with pets as well (e.g. fruit or vegetable chews). On the other hand this does not mean that all new products successfully launched for the human consumption might also be successful for pets. Indeed some consumers revealed how they would never purchase extreme flavors currently included in some SKUs (e.g. chicken with curry sauce) for their pets.

2. Retail upgrade


The retail environment is highly fragmented and it changes depending on the market and the region we are talking about. Globally there is an equal division between value sales shares belonging to traditional retailers (convenience stores, discounters, hypermarkets, and supermarkets) and shares belonging to specialized retailers (from pet supermarkets chains to farmers&feed and veterinary clinics).


Pet food market: Retail Channel overview (Source: GfK, 2016)

Both channels (traditional retailers and specialized retailers include e-commerce websites. Euromonitor (2015) estimated that online pet food sales represented 5.3% of the total online grocery sales in 2015 (vs 4.4 % in 2014). Reasons for the rise of the e-commerce in the pet food industry are due to great advantages that pet owners find when they purchase online (i.e. buying huge volumes of products with convenient prices by comparing prices across different websites). In this case, they can have enough stock available for a longer period.

Moreover, consumers who buy online show a relevant trust for brands although they are aware that products are not fresh. It is not a case, indeed, that among the top 10 Fastest Growing FMCG brands (Fortune, 2016) we find four pet food brands (Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Purina, Nature’s Variety, and Taste of the Wild).

3. Management implications


  • Category upgrade, but limited space for “radical innovations”: the category shows high growth perspective even in terms of innovative solutions. Products containing natural ingredients can get back high performances from the market. However far-out options and solutions might not be accepted in the market because might be considered risky for their pets.
  • Pet owners purchase products for their pets depending on their personal consumption style and lifestyle: since consumers are taking care of pets as other human members of their family by now, FMCG brands might successfully replicate similar actions and strategies already used for human brands, even for those of pets.
  • Online pet food market is rising (especially for branded products): data shows how pet food online sales are growing globally. In the US (the first market worldwide in the industry), branded products were among the best-selling FMCG online products in 2015. As for consumers, even FMCG firms might get many advantages. According to Nielsen (2015), these advantages mainly concern the high margins available thanks to the lower shipping costs and, eventually, some discounts.


Source :

Fortune (2016), Amazon Helped Make This One of the Fastest-Growing E-Commerce Categories Last Year, February

GfK (2016), Pet foods trends shaping the world, January

Nielsen (2015), The future of grocery, April

Nielsen (2016), The humanization of pet food, March




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