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Keeping up with the ever-changing consumer

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Keeping up with the ever-changing consumer

Consumer behaviours are forever changing. Between 2000 and 2008 consumers branded ‘Generation T’ were Time poor and cash rich shoppers. The economic crisis brought ‘Generation P’ in 2009-2014 when consumers were driven specifically by Price. The present day brings us consumers labelled ‘Generation C’ who expect the ultimate in Convenience.

Convenience in food can be so vast. It can refer to convenience in price, portability, ease-of-consumption or all of the above to squeeze into jam-packed calendars.

According to Canadean Intelligence Centre, 55% of European consumers say they do not have enough time to fit all of the activities they would like to in one day.

Our culture, demographics and economy are the main drivers behind these major consumer behaviour shifts.

Housing sizes are shrinking and the amount of single dwellers increasing. These consumers are likely to want single portion convenience meals or food items that are easy to prepare.

Fortunately, according to Trading Economics, EU unemployment rates are falling. They decreased to 10.4% at the end of 2015, the lowest level since 2011.

Due to increased employment andthe work-focusmentality that modern consumers have, people are working longer hours, commute longer and stress levels are increasing. As a result, consumers need quick, convenient, healthy and satisfying meals in order to get them through their hectic days. In 2025, millennials will account for 75% of the global workforce.

According to Smithers Pira, in 2014, 51% of consumers snacked three or more times per day on average, compared to just 21% just four years earlier.

Time-poor consumers need one more thing: inspiration. Gone are the days of long shopping lists planning out meals for the week ahead. Research shows three out of 10 shoppers don’t know what they’re having for dinner that evening.

Retailers and manufacturers need to be ahead of the game, ensuring they create innovative, enticing foods that will attract consumers to purchase in that split second of decision-making.

Although consumers are forward planning less, they are shopping around more and with an increase in the choice of foods on offer, consumers can afford to be more demanding. Technology is facilitating pre-shopping and price comparisons in-store and online, enabling consumers to find the best product and deal to be had. It’s safe to say this new generation of millennials are certainly not brand loyal; in fact, over the last three months one in five UK adults have used price comparison sites. Although consumers may be on the look out for these ultra convenient products, they also want them to come at a reasonable price.

Authenticity is key for millennials who demand complete honesty. 59% of shoppers trust the source of their food is correct, but millennials will not be caught out; they are clued up and looking for the healthiest and most sustainably manufactured option out there.

In today’s society, specifying something by gender is a thing of the past. It is forecast that gender labels will disappear with the interchanging of gender expression becoming the norm. According to Canadean Intelligence Centre, packaging designs will need to be reconsidered to avoid gender stereotypes. Tailoring products by gender take a back seat and will be replaced by customisation.

It’s all me, me, me with Millennials! They want personalisation and a personal shopping experience, buying unique products that they relate to and to engage with brands on social networking. Millennials want to feel special and unique – this is the generation obsessed with trend setting after all.

Packaging manufacturers need to be very aware of these millennial shopper behaviours and change packaging attributes accordingly in order to offer the ultimate convenience that this new Generation C shopper requires.

Packaging must focus on ease of holding, lifting, opening, closing and storage at home. Proactively finding easier ways for consumers to eat the product away-from-home, on the commute to work and making it as simple as possible to prepare.

Millennials also have a much more environmental mind-set, therefore refillable, reusable and recyclable materials are a must.

LINPAC has responded accordingly, incorporating many trends into our extensive ranges. Our Freshware® range includes salad and fruit boxes perfect for lunch on-the-go along with individual cake portion packs; ideal to avoid wastage and keep on the healthy diet path.

Other solutions include convenience-enhancing attributes such as easy-openability, resealable lids, packs that are easy to carry and solutions for simplifying food preparation. Not forgetting, environmentally friendly, supercleaned rPET ranges and recyclable EPS products.

Millennials value smart and efficient packaging solutions and with their global spending power estimated to have reached $2.45 trillion in 2015, it’s safe to say they’re worth the investment.

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