The ongoing economic and political troubles in Brazil have created an environment that is not overly favorable to food and drink categories. Despite these macro-level issues, food and drink manufacturers have many opportunities to extend their brands and to strengthen connections with Brazilian consumers. To help navigate the market, Mintel has identified four trends that will impact the industry in 2016.

Thirsty for More

Pressure on the environmental resources needed to grow, process and cook food and drink will continue to affect manufacturers and consumers alike.

As the country continues to endure its worst drought in 80 years, Brazilians are gaining a better appreciation for sustainability measures than ever before, this 2016 Brazil Consumer Trend explains. When it comes to food and drink, the drought has impacted supplies and costs of domestically grown ingredients, including wheat and sugarcane. Natural resource issues as well as economic complications, such as inflation, have caused prices to rise. Higher food prices have been noticed by 42% of Brazilians, according to Mintel’s Consumer Spending Habits Brazil 2015 report.

Sustainability is becoming a point of promotion for brands across industries, and Brazil will likely see more campaigns and products that help consumers be more environmentally friendly in the coming year and beyond. For example, Triciclo installed reverse vending machines in Sao Paulo where residents can trade empty bottles and cans for discounts. In the foodservice industry, not-for-profit organization Food Bank launched Gourmet Waste, a project that incentivizes restaurants to use commonly discarded items, such as fruit skins, seeds and vegetable stalks, in new dishes. Brands also can consider programs similar to Argentinian bread company Fargo’s promotion of bread as a tool to clean one’s plate, which the brand explains can save up to one liter of water when washing dishes.

Health for All

Brazilians are health conscious, but not everyone can afford premium-priced better-for-you food and drink all the time, creating a need for healthy products that are also affordable.

83% of Brazilian adults agree it is worth spending more on healthier food options

Brazilians identify price as the most important influencer when considering where they choose to grocery shop, as well as what they purchase in categories as varied as fruit juice, coffee and processed meat. Coinciding with budget-consciousness, concerns about personal health and wellness have many Brazilians looking for better-for-you options, some of which carry higher prices. Our Healthy Eating Trends Brazil 2015 report indicates that consumers do justify the cost of better-for-you items, as 83% of Brazilian adults agree it is worth spending more on healthier food options.

However, Brazil’s ongoing economic struggles suggest that more manufacturers need to create reduced or enhanced products that retail for affordable prices. Low-priced healthy options can keep consumers active in a category. According to Mintel’s Cookies and Crackers Brazil 2015 report, nearly one-quarter of Brazilians who eat cookies or crackers think the products are not as healthy as other snacks. However, lower-income Brazilians (socio economic group DE) are more likely to have a lower frequency of cookies/cracker consumption because they think the products are too expensive. In this category, and many others, lower-priced better-for-you products have the potential to find a wide audience.

Based on a True Story

Brands have an opportunity to romance consumers with more details about products in order to retain – or gain – their place on shopping lists.

As Brazilians are keeping a careful eye on both their budget and their diets, brands have to do more to capture consumers and foster loyalty. “Based on a True Story” is one of Mintel’s 2016 Global Food and Drink Trends, and notes that consumers around the world want to know more stories about the origin, ingredients or inspiration of the products that they’re buying. Aligning with this trend, Nestlé brand Ninho milk introduced its new lactose-free product with an ad featuring three mothers who had requested lactose-free products for their children.

While consumers are interested in learning more about products, so many products are making similar claims that the resonance is being diminished. For example, terms like “premium” and “gourmet” are being used widely and by many beer brands, making those claims less meaningful to consumers. Thus, products must make authentic claims and share true stories to solidify their product’s place on shopping lists, especially when budgets are tight.

Alternatives Everywhere

Consumer interest in free-from products has led to demand for more products that substitute allergens and other dietary staples.

12% of Brazilian yogurt consumers would like to see more options of vegetable-based yogurt

Free-from foods, such as lactose-free products, are finding a wider audience as free-from foods are seen as being beneficial to more than just people with allergies, intolerances or sensitivities. In fact, only 10% of Brazilians who consume milk agree that no/low lactose milk is only for people with health problems. Similarly, our Bread and Baked Goods Brazil 2015 report shows that a mere 6% of Brazilian adults who eat and buy bread and baked goods agree that gluten-free bread is only suitable for people who are gluten intolerant.

Likewise, the audience for products that substitute meat, dairy and other traditional dietary staples is starting to expand beyond vegetarians, vegans and people who follow specific diets. This trend is growing from a small base in Brazil, as 12% of Brazilian yogurt consumers would like to see more options of vegetable-based yogurt, such as soya yogurt. Similarly, just 8% of Brazilian adults did not report eating any type of surveyed processed meat. Programs such as Segunda Sem Carne are trying to inspire more meat-free occasions. Segunda Sem Carne is a global campaign that creates educational materials about the wide-ranging effects of consuming products from animal origin with the goal of encouraging people to forgo meat one day a week.

Jennifer Zegler is a Global Food & Drink Analyst at Mintel. She joined the Mintel Food & Drink Platform after her tenure as a dedicated Beverage Analyst on the US Mintel Reports team. She researched and wrote many of the category reports with a focus on both alcohol and non-alcohol segments and packaging. During her career, she has also written for several food and packaging magazines covering the US snack food, bakery, confectionery, meat, and packaging industries.

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