Retailers and brands have an opportunity to provide positive escapism for shoppers, as Daymon reports. This article first appeared in ESM September/October 2022.
In the previous Daymon Retail Insights report, we explored how retailers are seeking to cultivate memorable experiences for consumers, providing joy, fun and escapism while also fitting into their daily routines – a mega trend known as ‘JOYment’.
In this edition, we will explore three of the different journeys that JOYment can take in terms of consumer engagement, starting with one of humanity’s most basic needs.
In a stressful world, consumers seek comfort in familiar routines and habits, many of which are driven by the products that they use daily. This can be interpreted in many forms – flavours that recall special moments in their lives, aromas that evoke visits to certain parts of the world, or textures that appeal to their senses. At the same time, they are looking for products that meet demand for health and wellness, and/or the sustainability credentials that are important to them.
The Seeking Comfort trend has been borne out by innovations such as plant-based frozen yoghurts, which appeal from both a taste and texture perspective, and are more sustainable than traditional ‘treat’ products. Elsewhere, snackable smoothie bites, such as those developed by US manufacturer Simply Gum, meet consumers’ need for guilty pleasures that are more natural and rich in nutrients.
Another example of the Seeking Comfort trend appeared during the most difficult months of the pandemic, as retailers rallied to ensure that locked-down consumers could savour special moments together. The ‘Christmas dinner box delivery’ service implemented by Morrisons in late 2020 offered shoppers convenience and security during an uncertain time, and also contributed to a significant online sales boost at the retailer.
Another aspect of the JOYment trend that resonates strongly with shoppers is that of Little Luxuries – taking time out to enjoy a moment of pleasure, which again meets their nutritional and environmental standards.
Novel product innovations that meet this demand include plant-based desserts, a subcategory that is seeing increased premiumisation within the wider plant-based category, and one in which indulgent flavours and textures marry closely with health and ethical considerations.
Elsewhere, sweet spice grinders, which add notes of chocolate, caramel or cinnamon to hot beverages (taking the spice grinder out of its traditional savoury segment) is another product to watch, as is cocoa-origin focused chocolate confectionery, which provides an enriching experience that goes beyond flavour and texture by giving consumers a taste of different cultures.
Those seeking luxurious meat or seafood alternatives are also catered for with the emergence of plant-based smoked salmon – Israeli startup SimpliiGood recently developed a smoked salmon SKU from algae spirulina that mimics the taste and texture of the real thing.
Rise Of The Aficionado
One of the biggest trends to emerge out of the pandemic was the level to which consumers sought to learn new skills and become more self-sufficient, which in turn led to a surge in at-home cooking, baking, and arts and crafts.
While COVID-19 has largely subsided, these skills remain in vogue, with at-home cooking gaining a resurgence to the increased cost of living. Tying in with the JOYment trend, this has seen the emergence of a new breed of consumer Aficionado, who is eager to learn and share knowledge.
Picking up on this trend, while also offering greater convenience for shoppers, no-bake snack mixes, such as those developed by Trader Joe’s in the US, offer an at-home baking experience without the need to use an oven, extending a traditional bakery segment into new areas such as healthy snack bars. DIY sauce kits, which take the hassle out of preparing authentic sauces from around the world, are another innovation along the same theme, combining consumer demand for at-home creativity with the opportunity to discover new flavours and textures.
Elsewhere, product innovation has also focused on how consumers cook, with opportunities to imbue new flavour profiles as part of the preparation process. US-based manufacturer Kingsford recently launched a range of charcoal briquettes for the barbecue that are mixed with spices – in Garlic Onion Paprika, Basil Sage Thyme, and Cumin Chili variants – which the manufacturer says can “take grilling to new heights with [their] rich, full-bodied flavour and aroma”.
The continued growth of meal kits is also worth a mention here – while during the pandemic, eating at home was very much the new going out, meal-kit manufacturers have sought to embolden this trend in the period since with internationally-focused meal kit solutions that are also an affordable alternative to eating out; ideal for the cost-conscious shopper.
According to Daymon, private brand is well-placed to expand this segment. Meal kits currently on the market are almost entirely focused on Mexican food, while across the entire meal kit category, private brand accounts for just 13.7% of market share, presenting an opportunity for further growth.
As the past couple of years have shown, the consumer landscape is constantly changing, with the global pandemic making way for concerns about inflation and food security, not to mention geopolitical turmoil. All of this is having a negative effect on consumer confidence; hence it is important for retailers and brands to find new and innovative ways to surprise and delight consumers, offering them moments of JOYment.
As this trend evolves, increased demand for the unexpected along with the need for multi-sensory experiences offers retailers the chance to develop more interactive and personalised concepts, opening up new opportunities in point of sale and enabling them to further their customer loyalty ambitions.
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