Insights for Retailers

Why retailers need to be tech-savvy

New research has revealed the impact innovative technology will have on where British consumers shop.

The research among 2,000 British consumers, published by Hitachi Consulting, exposes the attitudes to technology of different generations and incomes – identifying millennials as the group retailers can target to boost sales and grow market share.

Over two-thirds (69%) of respondents aged 24-35 claimed they would be more likely to shop with a retailer that was enhancing the shopping experience with innovative technology. This generation has also proved over the last 10 years that it is the most likely to change its shopping habits, with almost three-quarters (72%) stating their routine differs to a decade ago.

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Olive oil sales squeezed

Poor harvest conditions continue to provide a challenging backdrop to the olive oil market, according to the latest analysis of value and volume sales across Europe, including the UK.

Data analysts IRI says Europe is showing an average sales volume decline of -4.3% with Spain and Germany showing the biggest drop.

An increase in value sales of 6% year-on-year is explained by higher material costs and price inflation across the region.

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Consumers warm to healthy snacks

Health is currently driving innovation in the snacking category with 40% of UK shoppers happy to pay a premium for healthy or functional snacks, according to Nielsen.

The analyst’s report ‘Welcome to the Snacking Revolution’ says 41% of UK consumers seek out snacks with less sugar, 39% look for low fat, 41% want snacks for energy and refuelling, 43% are careful about the portion size and 40% expect to pay a health premium.

“The snacking category is currently worth over £18 billion, and growing at 0.3% in value. It’s an enormous category and an integral part of the store that drives basket spend,” says Joanna Parman of Nielsen FMCG and Retail.

Sugar tax hasn't changed habit of a lifetime

The UK sugar tax has had minimal impact on consumer behaviour since its implementation in April this year, according to Nielsen which says 62% of UK shoppers claim to have not changed their consumption behaviour in any way. Only one-fifth are checking sugar content on packages more frequently since the tax came into effect.

Prior to the tax being rolled out, the majority of the UK supported the government-imposed levy, and some even felt it wasn’t strict enough – 54% of respondents supported the tax, and since its implementation, 69% said it should be expanded to confectionery and biscuits.

Whatever next?

Highlighted by foodnavigator.com recently were several innovations that could give adventurous health stores even more of a quirky edge. Hand crafted Sea Chips salmon skin crisps, currently in Whole Foods and Harrods, caught the eye – the skin is often discarded yet is packed with nutrients. And Tyrell’s has come up with pink crisps combining the good old spud with raspberry and prosecco. Cheers.

Innovation is driving healthier crisps and snacks – Mintel report

The buzz around the health credentials of pulses looks to have made its mark on consumers, with half of savoury snack eaters deeming snacks made with pulses healthier than potato-based ones. This gives scope for manufacturers to explore healthier formulations of snacks, according to Mintel in its report ‘Crisps, Savoury Snacks and Nuts’.

Savoury snacks high in protein would appeal to 28% of UK consumers, says the report. High-protein claims have traditionally been seen in meat snacks, but have in recent years seen wider adoption by roasted beans and peas as well as nuts and seeds. Given the high interest, this is an area with scope for more NPD by suppliers.

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Consumers want healthier ready meals, more plant-based options

Brits love the convenience of ready meals but more of us are demanding healthier alternatives to meat. That’s the finding of a survey by Eating Better, an alliance of UK organisations with health, environment and resources perspectives.

UK spending on ready meals topped £4.7bn in 2017, making the UK the biggest ready meal market in Europe. Nine out of 10 of us eat ready meals or ready-to-cook products (Mintel).

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PARENTING: Reducing risk of childhood obesity by 75%

A study based on 40,000 individuals looked at the association between a mother’s lifestyle and the risk of obesity among their children aged between nine and 18.

The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, reported in the BMJ in July, found that mothers who maintain five healthy habits – eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, keeping a healthy body weight, drinking alcohol in moderation and not smoking – may reduce their children’s risk of becoming obese by 75%.

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PARENTING: Desperate parents need better snacks for toddlers

Stand-up comedian and writer Sam Avery is partnering with baby and toddler food brand Organix to find out what’s hiding in some baby finger foods and toddler snacks. As a parent he’s standing up for his children and saying no to junk.

Research by Opinium for Organix, conducted among 1,000 UK parents of children aged 0-3 years, revealed that 76% were shocked to discover that some baby and toddler snacks contain up to 30 separate ingredients.

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PARENTING: School holidays means 5x more sugar!

British parents will let their children consume up to FIVE TIMES as much sugar during the summer holidays as they would any other time, according to research. A worrying poll of 1,000 parents with children aged two to 17 found sugar intake will be hugely boosted during the break from school.

Unsurprisingly, ice creams and sugary drinks were named as the biggest culprits, with just one in 10 parents reporting their child eats more vegetable sticks over summer. A quarter of parents say their child eats far more sweets over the summer holidays than they ordinarily would.

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Emerging cosmetics industry trends – comment by NATRUE

Changing trends in the cosmetic industry impact the natural and organic cosmetic sector. These include areas such as clean beauty, conscious and ethical consumerism including vegan formulations, sustainability of raw materials and their sourcing and packaging.

Exclusively for Better Retailing Magazine, Cecile Zumbiehl of certification marque NATRUE, observes:

“An aspect that links these trends is a crucial change in consumer behaviour: they are always looking for new ‘green’ alternatives. The principle product categories for natural and organic cosmetics continue to be leave-on products such as face and body creams, lip balms, colour cosmetics such as lipsticks, and rinse-off products like shampoos and shower gels. In terms of claims driving new trends, anti-pollution has recently become one to look out for.

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Beauty and wellbeing findings by the Soil Association

Increased awareness of global issues through online media and exposés has resulted in consumer mistrust. Consumers are putting pressure on many different industries to conduct business responsibly. These are key findings in the Soil Association 2018 Beauty & Wellbeing report.

Accessibility of information, such as Netflix documentaries on health and global issues, has led to heightened awareness of these issues which is changing attitudes.

Initiatives such as the Sustainable Cotton Communique pledge by 35 brands to achieve sustainable cotton by 2025, are on the rise as consumers demand better business practise. Brand transparency continues to perform with prominence in labelling and supply chains.

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How to spot the sleep-deprived

Talking to imaginary pets, crying because the supermarket sold out of yoghurt and getting in the shower fully clothed are among some of the strangest things people have done when sleep deprived, according to a new poll carried out by BetterYou.

The survey of 358 people from across the UK found that poor quality of sleep was a common problem with over half (53%) claiming they struggled to nod off.

The search for a good night’s sleep is perhaps contributing to the amount of people self-medicating with nearly one in five admitting to turning to sleeping pills or alcohol.

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New figures on fibre intake and bowel function for women

Harvard Medical School recently reported that women who include plenty of fibre in their diet are a fifth less likely to develop bowel control problems as they age. Women eating more fibre were 18% less likely to have faecal incontinence (inability to control bowel movements) and a third (31%) less likely to have diarrhoea.

The research team investigated the effects of long-term fibre intake among 58,000 women taking part in the renowned Nurses’ Health Study. Those taking part were divided into five groups based on their daily fibre intakes. Those with the highest fibre intakes – 25g daily – had a faecal incontinence risk that was 18% lower than those with the lowest fibre intakes.

Fibre intakes in the UK are concerningly low. Latest data shows that women aged 19 to 64 years are getting just 17.4g daily. This is sufficiently lower than dietary guidelines which recently increased to 30g daily, indicating a large fibre gap.

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Consumers still struggling with ‘Clean’ label

Stephanie Mattucci, a global food science analyst at Mintel, has grappled with consumer attitudes to the burgeoning trend of ‘clean label’. Clean-related terms such as ‘clean eating’ or ‘clean label’ do not have formal definitions, she says.

It’s generally accepted that clean eating refers to eating whole, natural, unprocessed foods, and avoiding artificial ingredients and highly processed foods. Or in some cases, following diets such as vegan, dairy-free or gluten-free. This aligns with what consumers already consider healthy: natural, freshly made, organic, and preservative-free.

The concept of clean label has been used by the food industry for many years, but clean-related terms have now emerged as part of consumers’ vocabulary as a new way to say ‘healthy’, especially in the US.

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Kantar sees the fresh produce trend

A Kantar Worldpanel report says that, despite global FMCG growth remaining slow in 2017, retailers and manufacturers that adapt to meet macro-economic changes and shopper needs can still find ways to grow.

“Around the globe, consumers are becoming more health conscious,” says the report called ‘Winning Omnichannel: Finding Growth in Reinvented Retail’.

With people living longer and having more information at their fingertips, there has been heightened demand for FMCG products that promote healthy living or deliver added health benefits.

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Plan now for Organic September

Organic September encourages people to eat, drink, use and choose organic every September. 2018 is set to be the biggest yet, de-mystifying organic and showing consumers how easy organic food is to introduce to their daily lives.

The main thing to note is that it is completely FREE to join in and all businesses taking part will be given a “toolkit” of materials, both print and digital, to help support their Organic September activity, whether or not they are certified by the Soil Association.

For independents, there’s a free visual merchandising guide to help get the organic message across in the run-up, including a new point-of-sale toolkit, available in June, to help highlight organic products with clear messages for shoppers.

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Celebrate the success of Wake Up To Organic 2018!

Over 280 independent stores, cafes and farm shops across the country served up over 14,000 free organic mini breakfasts on Wednesday 13 June in the biggest ever annual event to help shoppers make the switch to organic at the start of the day.

With more stores taking part than ever before and every region of the UK covered, the UK woke up to celebrate organic with their local independents who served up lots of tasty treats, showcased local producers and shared what makes them happy about growing, making and selling organic food and drink.

The campaign was supported by a host of organic brands providing samples for stores to use on the day to create lots of tasty treats and many Organic Trade Board members running their own Wake Up events in the office or getting out and about to visit stores and get involved in the action.

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