Research reveals top consumer trends for 2014

LEADING MARKET research company Mintel has released its consumer market trends predictions for 2014, outlining four key areas likely to impact the UK.


Mintel’s latest report examined the areas of commercial opportunity for brands in the coming year, and what consumers will be buying into in 2014. Mintel’s Senior Trends Consultant Richard Cope outlines:


Internationalism on the Agenda


“After a period of Brand Britannia fever, driven by Olympic medals, Royal weddings and births, in 2014 it will be time for British consumers to look outwards at other countries. Next year’s sporting events, immigration legislation and pending referendums will put other countries’ products on the menu and Mintel’s research highlights that Brits are open, curious and savvy when it comes to buying into new, engaging or better value products from abroad.”


“Mintel’s research finds that in spite of recent events, ‘patriotic purchasing’ remains something of a myth and British custom is there to be won: 48% of consumers agree that ‘price matters more than whether a product is British’ and 30% say ‘I do not feel any loyalty to buying British food and drink’. Further Mintel research reveals that price comes before patriotism and provenance with 58% of consumers saying ‘the price and the quality of what I buy is what matters, not where it was produced’. Meanwhile, 54% of Brits say that they’re ‘just as interested in buying authentic products (e.g. French Brie, Parma ham) from other countries as from Britain’.”


“New legislation in 2014 will also raise the foreign influx and influence in the UK, piquing our curiosity in other cultures and causing us to re-examine notions of ‘Britishness’. The government is simplifying its visa processes for admitting Chinese visitors to the EU and in January 2014, temporary migration and employment restrictions on citizens of Romania and Bulgaria will be lifted in the UK. Mintel’s research highlights that the British are largely tolerant and open to embracing new cultural influences. Indeed, 74% of consumers say ‘Tolerance of others is an important part of British culture’ and 50% agree with the statement that ‘Being British is now as much about embracing different cultures as it is about sticking to British traditions’, compared with 20% who disagree. This is borne out by further Mintel research – where just 8% of diners have visited a Polish restaurant but 42% are interested in doing so and an impressive 12% of the UK population say that they celebrate Hanukkah, Ramadan or Diwali.“


Club Tropicalia


“The World Cup is going to make the world fall in love with all things Brazilian. The country’s place in the cultural and commercial spotlight has been a long time coming: it has not hosted a World Cup since 1950 and it’s almost as long since the 1950s Bossa Nova and 1960s Tropicalia movements brought its music to a global audience. This time around the showcase of Brazilian commercial cultural exports will encompass everything from food to fashion to beauty products.”


“When it comes to food and drink, UK consumers are open to new tastes from around the world, as some 50% of wine, 42% of beer and 40% of spirit drinkers agree with the statement ‘I like to try drinks from different countries’. Its early days on the product launches front, but Brazilian UK product launches include Brazilian Pão de Queijo – or Cheese Bread – Mix, Antarctica’s Guaraná soft drink and Brazil’s national beer Brahma. As an accompaniment to watching football, Cachaça has enormous potential, with Velho Barreiro and Sagatiba the brands to look out for – and with Mintel research showing that the market in Brazil is in decline as consumers there trade up to imported alcohol, there is also a strong export opportunity. In addition, the caipirinha cocktail now comes in many guises with Cachaça substituted by vodka (a caipiroska) and rum (a caipirissima). Brazilians are also passionate about meat and churrasco chain restaurants like Rodízio Rico, Rodízio Preto and Braza have the potential to appeal to those 60% of UK consumers who have not but would like to visit a South American restaurant. There’s also potential for Açaí berries – eaten as both an exercise fuel and relaxing snack in Brazil – as well as Brazilian branded coconut water products.”


A Private Function


“With the launch of Google Glass and the fallout from the NSA revelations, surveillance and data monitoring will continue to be big news in 2014. We’re going to see consumers looking for greater privacy – but also greater functionality – from their data as they bid to take further control of it to help them to streamline their lives and better analyse themselves. All of this is raising discussion around data privacy, but also its value and usability.”


“Mintel’s research shows that intrusion and privacy are indeed issues for brands to heed; indeed, 23% of consumers say they ‘find video adverts that target you according to your internet activity off-putting’, whilst 59% of consumers agree that online advertising that is based on their browsing history makes them feel uncomfortable and 19% are concerned about how aggregators use personal data. Yet consumers are embracing self-analysis, with 9% of health-conscious consumers having used online health trackers to help them stay on track. Beyond the cutting-edge areas such as wearable tech, the greatest opportunity for self-analysis could lie in the humble loyalty card – something that 66% of UK consumers use according to Mintel’s research.”


“The next stage is for grocery brands to offer positive data surveillance for customers – in the form of opt-in nutritional analysis services. Mintel’s research shows that the will is there amongst consumers: 17% of consumers say they like the idea of information on their receipt informing them how healthy their shopping basket is, whilst 36% of UK grocery shoppers say they would be.”


Healthy Fuels


“In the coming year we will see consumers moving away from caffeine and further towards functional green vegetable drinks. In late 2014 new EU food and drink labelling legislation (the Food Information Regulation) will extend beyond the current situation, where drinks containing more than 150mg of caffeine per litre (mg/l) are deemed to have ‘high caffeine content’, to ‘require additional caffeine labelling for high-caffeine drinks and foods where caffeine is added for a physiological effect’. This is going to place pressure on the energy drinks brands and in the run-up to this legislation we’re going to see a new wave of competition from natural and vegetable drinks launches.”


“According to Mintel’s research, UK consumers would appear very open to the prospect of new ‘healthy’ launches within the energy drinks sector. Indeed, some 38% of UK consumers agree that ‘fruit and vegetable juice blends are healthier for you than pure fruit juice’. At Mintel we’ve already seen a host of global new launches in late 2013, including the launch of Coca-Cola life in Argentina (2204268), a low-calorie carbonated drink ‘naturally sweetened with Truvia’ – packaged in green as a distinctive move away from red. Indeed, in the UK alone new product launches of drinks with a no additives or preservatives claim grew 56% over the past five years to 2012. Meanwhile, new UK drinks product launches with a low/no/reduced sugar claim increased 63% over the same period.”


“In 2014 we’re going to see a lot of launch activity from brands in a bid to react early to this pending legislation. The big opportunity here is that both non-users and users of the current energy drinks brands appear ready to try a new alternative: Mintel’s research shows 34% of energy drinks users claim they ‘worry about becoming reliant on them for an energy boost’, whilst 37% of non-users cited the fact that ‘they contain too many artificial ingredients or colourants’. In contrast, there appears to be a bright future for energy drinks with a natural, functional dimension, with 72% of consumers saying that ‘there should be healthier (eg sugar/calorie-free) varieties’, 71% that ‘there should be more drinks with natural colourings/flavourings’ and 41% that ‘It’s worth paying more for added benefits (eg added vitamins)’.”