Who dares predict the trends of 2021?

Who dares predict the trends of 2021?

Typically, at this point in the year, many are predicting trends for the New Year. What 2020 has taught  us is that life can fundamentally change - very quickly - and that the  ‘trend-spotting playbook’ is easily ripped up! This year, the world of commerce witnessed monumental change and much of the retail industry had to adapt how it interacted with consumers practically overnight.

Consumers picked new brands and tried alternative products for reasons from stock availability or conscious living,  to supporting local business and brand ethics. They sought security, familiarity and comfort and  made nostalgic product choices. In food, the value of the product experience was enhanced as consumers craved the enjoyment of sharing moments with loved ones. The FMCG sector (categories that are in-home focused, at least) have delivered to these needs and so have been resilient in 2020 (some sectors have positively thrived). Businesses who have held the consumer at the heart of their product development priorities, and so reflected in their innovation choices, continue to demonstrate success.

Market insights signal functional food products, environmental impact, traceability and personalised nutrition to be among the top trends for 2021. We recently conducted client interviews with sensory scientists and product developers within leading FMCG companies and they highlighted several important needs, as they plan for 2021:

* Having stand out products in the market space.

* Maintaining consumer preference whilst balancing cost reduction.

* Being agile and fast to market.

* Innovating and investing in sensory and consumer research to underpin.

* Having trusted agency partnerships to facilitate new and improved research approaches which deliver increased value and new benefits.

The surge in NPD activity is hugely encouraging for the research sector as we move through into 2021. By continuing to stay closely connected to the consumer we can navigate the changes confidently as we emerge from a monumental year.