The last few years have seen the development of several new consumer trends.
The first one is the realisation of our impact on the environment and how it is important to preserve Mother Earth’s resources. People are more aware of their carbon footprint and are willing to make better choices.
The second trend is the multiplication of industrial scandals, for example in the textile or the consumer goods industries. As a consequence, consumers demand a better traceability of the products they buy.
Finally, people have become more willing to take care of their health by consuming better products and living a healthier lifestyle.
These trends have given consumers the will to be more educated about the ecosystem they live in.
They want to make more sustainable choices which will have a better impact on the environment, their health or society in general. As a consequence, new tools have appeared to help them in this journey. Digital has certainly played a key role in the democratisation of these new trends and values.
In the consumer goods industry, such tools can be apps, websites or blogs that can help consumers make their way across the aisles of supermarkets. People can now easily make the difference between the “good” products and the “bad” ones.
One good example would be Yuka. Yuka is an app which allows you to scan the product you are planning on buying and then giving you information about its impact on your health. A product can be “bad”, “good” or “excellent”. In addition to Yuka, many blogs or social media accounts with the same philosophy have been created.
Following these new trends and the rise of information flows, FMCG companies have seen their reputation being endangered. Consumers are now able to make the difference between two kinds of brands:
- the brands that use healthy ingredients and put their customers at the heart of their values,
- the brands that prefer to make choices based on budget restrictions and delivering a product that will appear as healthy but is not.
Companies are now having to change their business model and focus on giving their customers better products.
Recently, Carrefour, one of the biggest French supermarket chain has launched a new communication campaign called “Act For Food”. With this strategy, the company is promoting a new business model: a better traceability of their products and organic foods without any additives or controversial ingredients. Alexandre Bompard, their CEO, wants Carrefour to be “the world leader in the food transition for everyone”. This surely has helped them improve their reputation over the last few weeks.
On the other side, some companies have greatly suffered from the gain of knowledge of consumers. In general, candy companies have not made a lot of efforts to take advantage of these trends and restore their image. The most significant example is Mondelez International ranking 71 out of 100 on Barron’s “World Most Respected Companies” in 2017. They are not far from Monsanto or Goldman Sachs who are known for having a terrible reputation. The large snacks company is suffering from customers reading labels more carefully. They are now being threatened by new smaller companies promoting organic and healthier snacks.
The trends mentioned above have truly transformed the landscape of consumer goods companies. The latter have at their heart keeping a good reputation. By allowing consumers to be more educated, digital is challenging FMCG companies to provide better products.