Global Consumer and Food Trends

Consumers are trading down and food styles are changing. Ken Dowling explained these trends to delegates at the International Egg Commission (IEC) London Meeting 2009.
calendar icon 15 July 2009
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Ken Dowling from Grey Worldwide, also spoke at the IEC London Conference. He provided further information supporting previous speaker, Richard Lewis, and reinforced the message from Dean McKenna from McDonald's Restaurants, that it is vital that businesses recognise and respond to these consumer trends and demands.

Mr Dowling discussed the current trend for consumers wanting to be seen to be acting frugally. He emphasised the dramatic growth in own label brands, explaining that people are still spending money on the products they need but rather than choosing the more luxury end items, they are opting for the lower cost own label brands. According to Mr Dowling, people are no longer 'trading up' instead they are choosing to 'trade down'.

"Consumers are demanding greater transparency in their shopping choices."

Mr Dowling also explained that food styles have changed. There is an increased trend in cooking together and eating as a family. Consumers are buying ingredients to prepare complete meals rather than single items. This shift in consumer behaviour has lead to a change in advertising methods; businesses are watching their consumers, and reacting to their demands. Hybrid advertising has increased; rather than simply advertising one ingredient, the retailer is currently advertising the items required to produce the whole meal. For example, a soup manufacturer is currently advertising a recipe, part of which is the soup but the advert is deliberately aimed at helping the consumer produce the final complete meal.

Another recent trend to emerge is the trend to buy and eat local. There has been resurgence in buying from local shops and farmers' markets. Mr Dowling's experiences developing communications strategies for some of the world's leading brands support Dean McKenna's stance: consumers are demanding greater transparency in their shopping choices, wanting to know where products are sourced, and want to be able to trace produce back to find out which pesticides were used and on which farm. Mr Dowling explained that these trends are apparent throughout the entire food industry, including eggs.

Further Reading

- You can view other papers presented at the IEC London Meeting 2009 by clicking here.

July 2009
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