5 Ways Lifestyle Choices Are Driving CPG Product Development

Stuart Elmes


People used to brag about liking a popular band “before they were cool.” But as everyone shifts to curated playlists, finding the Next Big Thing at an independent record store has become a dated conceit that reveals a lack of digital savvy. It isn’t a stretch to say that lifestyle trends are quickly becoming the new way to assert your cultural awareness, and wellness is the new rock and roll. From keto-diets and intermittent fasting to fermented foods and microbiomes, the next time you attend a party you’re more likely to talk about how you’re maintaining your health and figure than the songs that have been blasting through your earpods. And smart brands are taking notice of the cultural cachet of wellness, and designing products that capitalize on the lifestyle choices that are captivating consumers. With that in mind, let’s take a look at 5 trends driving CPG product development in 2019.


1) Microbiomes: Building From The Inside Out

5 ways lifestyle choices are driving CPG product development

Bacteria used to be a dirty word, conjuring up images of illness and ooze. But scientists have spent the past two decades discovering that the 10,000 or so bacteria, viruses, fungi, protozoa and various other micro-organisms inhabiting our bodies are crucial to every aspect of our health, from our weight to our mood. If you want to learn more about the concept, we’d recommend this article, but for our purposes, we’ll be focusing on the boom in fermented food products. 

Fermentation produces bacteria called probiotics which help our digestive processes, reduce inflammation, and benefit the health of our guts. Not every fermented food contains probiotics since bacteria can be killed by heat and other types of sterilization. But our growing knowledge of the microbiome has led to a proliferation of fermented products on grocery store shelves. Kefir, yogurt, kimchi, miso, and kombucha have all become markedly more popular, with Forbes noting a 149% increase in sales of exotic fermented foods in 2018. Pepsi is moving to take advantage of the trend by launching KeVita, a kombucha drink, and we’d expect more brands to roll out bacteria-rich products in the coming year.


2) Hold The Sugar

5 ways lifestyle choices are driving CPG product development

With obesity on the rise around the globe, consumers and governments are increasingly looking for products with no added sugar. The UK has introduced a sugar tax on soft drinks, joining 30 other jurisdictions around the world in taxing the emptiest of empty calories. A growing number of countries have added “traffic lights” to packaging in order to make consumers aware of the sugar content of the products they buy. Increasing numbers of companies are turning to plant fibers to provide the binding qualities which allow products to remain on shelves, and offer a pleasant “mouth-feel” without the detriment of weight gain and increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Coca-Cola has launched “Coke+” a zero calorie cola that contains dextrin, a dietary fiber that some claim can absorb fat. Brands like Fever-Tree and Cape Line are also offering low-calorie alternatives to traditional cocktail mixers. Meanwhile, ketchup makers are experiencing sales growth as they tinker with their formulas to reduce sugar. Consumers might not mind sugar in their cakes and candies, but they’d like to reduce the amount of sugar lurking in the products that aren’t considered indulgences.


3) Hold The Booze, Too

5 ways lifestyle choices are driving CPG product development

A survey by a leading alcohol industry newsletter found that 52% of adults who drink alcohol are currently trying, or have tried before, to reduce their alcohol intake. The study from the International Wine and Spirit Record also found that “at present, the low- and no-alcohol sector is poorly served, with few clear category leaders... in the U.K., for instance, low/no alcohol brands represent only 1.3% of the country’s total beverage alcohol market. In the U.S., that number is even smaller, at 0.5%.” 

With an under-served market of health-conscious young people who are ready to experiment with new alternatives to beer, wine, and spirits, most analysts predict strong growth in the alcohol-free and reduced alcohol sectors. Forbes magazine predicts double-digit sales growth across most categories of the low/no alcohol beverage sector in the next three years.


4) Plant-Based Eating Will Blossom

5 ways lifestyle choices are driving CPG product development

Food Navigator USA identifies the surge in plant-based eating as a “megatrend” which is entwined with the movements toward clean-label products, wellness, e-commerce, and sustainability. A recent study by the International Food Information Council found that 21% of American had an improved opinion of plant-based protein products, and 69% were trying to consume more. Meanwhile, new product introductions for plant-based proteins have grown at a rate of 69% over the past 5 years, dovetailing neatly with increased demand. The internet is full of lists of innovative vegan and vegetarian protein products, and with the incredible success of products like the “impossible burger”, we can safely conclude that product innovation in this sector is likely to be met with a hearty response from consumers.


5) Your Ideal Diet Is In Your DNA

5 ways lifestyle choices are driving CPG product development

Companies like Habit, Profile Precise, and Nutrigenomix are attempting to use your genetic profile to determine what you should and shouldn’t eat. If we look at this trend in concert with the proliferation of meal planning services like Blue Apron and Les Comis, and the success of personalized food subscription services like Candy Club, Graze, and Nature Box there appears to be an opportunity to offer scientifically based, individualized meal plans along with a high degree of convenience. We expect more FMCG products to be personalized to a customer's needs, and to deliver customized meals and snacks tailored to the dietary preferences and lifestyle choices of busy consumers.

What This Means For Brands And Marketers

5 ways lifestyle choices are driving CPG product development

People are increasingly concerned with eating natural, healthy, preferably sustainable food. This is bad news for the makers of some snacks and popular processed foods, but it also creates a tremendous opportunity. Creating quality advertising content that educates your audience is a great way to provide value, and build trust-based relationships with your audience. Making your content shoppable is a must since it will give consumers an easy way to try these new products and experiment with lifestyle trends before they scroll through to the next ad, article, or video. If you’re interested in using cutting edge shoppable video and unique add to basket technology, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us!