A rejuvenated sense of purpose regarding environmental issues is now prompting many Australians to take positive action to be more sustainable when it comes to product packaging.
Mintel’s 2019 Global Food and Drink Trends reveal that when it comes to Australia, 32 per cent of urban Australians prefer products that are sold in eco-friendly packaging. The global market intelligence agency which surveyed 1,500 Australians aged 16+, also found that 34 per cent of urban Australians prefer to buy products that are produced using sustainable sourcing methods.
Mintel’s food and drink predictions for 2019 explore new trends in sustainability, health and wellness, and convenience, sharing insight into market forces driving growth and influencing consumer behaviour. It contains analysis from more than 15 countries and predictions based on insights by more than 90 Mintel analysts and thought leaders, representing expertise in food and drink industries across Europe, Asia Pacific, and the Americas.
Associate consulting director, ANZ for Mintel, Shelley McMillan, said the trends are largely being driven by younger generations. “Australian i-Gen consumers, more so than any other generation, prioritise the importance of sustainability and environmental practices of brand,” she said. “In particular, 16-to-34-year-old urban Australians have significantly higher purchase intent regarding food products with a carbon neutral claim versus other age groups.
“The definition of sustainability is changing to encompass the entire product lifecycle from ingredient sourcing to package disposal or reuse. This more circular approach will require companies, retailers and consumers to embrace their roles in the sustainability cycle in the near future.”
Sustainability will be one of the big three food and drink trends for Australia covered by McMillan in a keynote presentation at the upcoming Naturally Good Expo, on June 2–3 at Sydney’s International Convention Centre. The annual event is the Southern Hemisphere’s largest natural, organic and healthy products trade show featuring more than 360 exhibitors and 20 presentations from influential leaders.
McMillan will address the key issues of evergreen consumption – the circular view of sustainability spanning the entire product lifecycle; trends throughout the ages – how food and drink is building on today’s dialogue about wellness and solutions for healthy ageing; and elevated convenience – how upgrades in convenience to match the premium expectations of consumers in the on-demand age.
Regarding the issue of healthy ageing, Mintel research shows that compared to a year ago, 70 per cent of urban Australians aged 55 and older are now either spending more or about the same on healthcare products.
“Younger consumers are now looking for products that help them manage their stress and sleep better – new formats and ingredients show future opportunities,” said McMillan noting that half of Australian metro consumers are planning on getting more sleep in the next 12 months.
“The category of ‘edible beauty’, also known as nutricosmetics or ingestible beauty, is also one of the hottest concepts in the beauty industry and quickly moving from the supplement segment into the food and drink space. In Australia, 56 per cent of urban consumers consider diet to be a factor that can impact the appearance of skin.”
Another key observation is that consumers are now seeking to save time without any sacrifices. Some 57 per cent of urban Australians consider ‘healthy food’ products as one containing all-natural ingredients. McMillan said the packaged food and drink is being challenged to make improvements to keep up with a combination of modern preferences including healthy eating priorities, quests for “foodie”-inspired flavours, interest in personalisation, and competition from speedy delivery services.
“Meal kits and food service-inspired beverages have led the way for premium convenience food and drink with two in five urban Australians saying that convenience, as in ease of ordering, influences their decision to buy one everyday product over another.
“Today’s consumers need to save time throughout the day. This creates opportunities for brands to develop healthy, flavourful, customisable and quick products for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and dessert occasions.”
Automation has also set new expectations for retail with 31 per cent of urban Australians having made a purchase through an online retail site or app such as Amazon or eBay. Online shopping and delivery have attracted consumers who need quick and easy food solutions. “A new generation of automated convenience stores is accelerating the pace of grab-and-go even more. Integration with technology makes automated retailers potentially faster than fast food, drive-thru or ordering for delivery.”