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Mintel, the experts in what consumers want and why, has today released the new edition of APAC Food and Drink Landscape. Centred on three themes: Inflation and Value, Physical and Mental Wellness and The Next Gen of Sensory Experiences, it explores the latest consumer trends and market developments in the region’s food and drink industry over the last 12 months.

Jolene Ng, Senior Global Food and Drink Analyst, Mintel, discusses strategies for brands to help APAC consumers manage the rising cost of living as value becomes the primary motivation for their purchasing decisions. This and other recommendations are grounded by research and insights from Mintel’s regional food and drink experts.

Inflation and Value

“Budget-conscious consumers will visit stores with cheaper prices and switch from their usual brands to save money on food and drink. This provides both a risk to grocery retailers that consumers will switch to better-value competitors and an opportunity to appeal to them by promoting savings worth a trip to the store. Price promotions for non-perishable essentials would be of particular interest to consumers as they gravitate towards shelf-stable and frozen items that can be stored for long periods of time. 

“Furthermore, indulgent categories will still be sought after. During the pandemic, we’ve seen consumers treat themselves for comfort. However, tightening budgets will call for more affordable treats. Retail brands thus have an opportunity to fill the treat void left by reduced out-of-home spending by providing food service-inspired treats at lower costs. 

“Inflation also presents an opportunity for private label salty snack category to innovate. Now is an opportune time for private-label snack brands to showcase product quality and position their offering as an affordable treat. Adding exciting flavour options and utilising digital technology will be key to growing and reaching a new customer base.”

Physical and Mental Wellness

“COVID-19 changed people’s daily routines, altering established sleep patterns for consumers of all ages. For instance, Mintel’s research on Indian consumers’ mental and emotional well-being indicates that 66% of Indian adults say that their sleep issues (eg insomnia, exhaustion) have remained the same or gotten worse during the pandemic. Therefore, consumers across demographics need food, drink and VMS solutions that address sleep patterns and issues to achieve robust mental health and wellness. In addition to sleep, brands can help consumers manage stress and anxiety with personalised nutritional support for hormone balance and optimal health.

“The rising edible beauty trend has also brought opportunities to the food and drink industry, as seen in China. The concept of beauty from within resonates with Chinese female consumers, as our research shows that 67% believe that beauty supplements also help improve overall body function. Food and drink products could leverage this existing consumer perception by offering holistic health solutions. Post-workout drinks with added beauty benefits, for example, could be of interest.”

The Next Gen of Sensory Experiences

“The cocooning lifestyle has led to the exploration of ways for consumers to enjoy bakery products at home. In Japan, ready-to-bake frozen products, especially those that can be toasted or thawed in a short time, have become popular for their convenience and longer shelf life. 

“There are many other ways to attract consumption for bakery products, but interesting visual presentation will be key as our research shows that 38% of Japanese consumers think that the presentation of a dish is just as important as its flavour. As an inherently indulgent category, brands will be expected to improve their health credentials and offer better-for-you options, particularly for the growing number of health-conscious consumers.

“Meanwhile, in the carbonated softdrinks (CSD) category, brands will be looking at ways to use flavours to help consumers express their interests and cultural identity. Floral and plant are novel flavours in CSD with the potential to grow, which can also be tied to local culture. For example, Sakura/cherry blossom is a floral flavour that is commonly associated with Japan. The approach of anchoring flavour with cultural references will also give a deeper meaning to the flavours beyond just taste,” Ng concluded.

 

Interviews with Jolene Ng, Senior Global Food and Drink Analyst, or other Mintel experts are available on request from the Mintel Press Office. Mintel’s 2022 APAC Food and Drink Landscape is available for free download here.