May 18, 2020

Jenny McMillan – Survival and success in our brave new world

/ news / thinking

The twin impacts of Covid-19 and the economic fallout from measures taken to contain it have created widespread uncertainty. Even so, amid the disruption clear trends and opportunities are emerging. In FMCG, we’ve had the advantage of trading through this early part of of the crisis. We believe it’s important to use that opportunity wisely, learn from it and share it. So here are four, hopefully useful, observations.

Something that leapt to the fore early on was hygiene, with sanitiser sold out and people sharing favourite hand-washing techniques. Despite the success of NZ’s single-minded focus on eliminat-ing Covid, that concern will linger. The ‘Wash your hands’ mantra will return, replacing ‘Stay at home’. Many have acquired a deep concern–even fear–of bugs and disease, and it will be promi-nent in their thinking for some time.

This generates specific issues and opportunities, plus wider consequences. It could well be that consumers will respond well to formal proof of hygiene or, in some sectors, a proof of current health status. Reassurance about process will be welcomed, while science and sanitation may outweigh the desire to be ‘natural’. People are also likely to be more accepting of wrapped goods and plastic coverings than before, for some time at least. Incorporating materials with sanitising properties is another thing to look at for packaging.

There has been a crisis in trust throughout the wider crisis, and that could manifest itself in a number of ways. We predict a growing concern with provenance: for traceability, especially coun-try of origin, and acutely so in food and personal products. New Zealand-made (and Australian) will have more equity than ever, and building trust in a product’s cultivation, manufacture and handling will require real focus.

This has implications for NPD and packaging, right down to things such as space and placement of pack copy.

Immunity and health
With contagion front of mind for months, concern with health, immunity and nutrition is inevitably heightened. This presents opportunities for products that can tell a story in this area, and again this has implications for how brands tell that story, including on-pack.

It’s also a factor to consider in NPD plans.

The new ‘shelf’
The massive growth in online food shopping, including meal kits, will have entrenched new habits. Even those consumers who have continued shopping in store have slashed their visits to super-markets. So the world of ‘shelf standout’ has irrevocably changed. Getting noticed and pur-chased in this new environment will require new thinking and new design approaches.

We’re already adjusting ours, and applying the results for our clients. If you’d like to know more, or simply talk about the implications for your brand, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

By Jenny McMillan, Brother Design
Originally Published on Supermarket News April 2020