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The Future Is Now... Food Finds, Part III

Rethinking the Pantry

The forced lock-downs, stay home orders and concerns over the pandemic move many consumers to re-think their eating habits and forced many to embrace cooking at home. This shift to daily life brought many more pantry staples into sharp focus. Shelf stability was and is a key factor in addition to nutrition and budgets. A surprising new space is found around elevating pantry staples to be aligned with a growing global interest in food culture. Consumers all over the globe eager to try and taste new flavors, spices and textures.

Not surprising, with all the uncertainty, 47% of consumers admitted to stocking their pantry more than normal. 64% of those consumers said they will continue this trend post covid 19. ( Many producers turned their focus to staples and how to reconnect with consumers or find new consumers. Here we explore some food finds that shift the way we think of staples.

Blurring meal boundaries

Nut butters are a growing category in the grocery space. Organic, small purveyors, and well established brands are bringing alternatives to the traditional standard - peanut-butter. Kellogg’s UK offers with peanut butter mixed with Crunchy Nut cereal. Providing the sensation of crunchy peanut butter with a lighter crunch.

US nut butter brand Once Again released a lemon-flavored cashew butter, claiming it tastes similar to shortbread, blurring the boundaries between breakfast, dessert and snack. Creating alternative flavor mash ups, New Zealand brand, Fix & Fogg, offers nut butters blended with seasonings like coffee-maple or honey-chilli.

Diversifying Shelf-Stable Staples

Acknowledging America’s increasingly multicultural consumer – 48% of US six to 21 year-olds identify as non-white (Pew, 2018) - new products coming online tap into flavor curious consumers and the increasing food culture. 65% of US consumers say they’re open to sampling new shelf-stable food brands during the pandemic (PwC, 2020). These numbers are enticing for producers to develop multicultural pantry products. Brooklyn brand, A Dozen Cousins, offers ready to heat (microwave-able) shelf stable bean-centric dishes with flavors inspired from Mexico, Trinidad and Cuba. According to founder Ibraheem Basir, he saw an opportunity to bring the flavors of his childhood growing up as a kid in Brooklyn’s Black and Latino communities to market. During Black History Month, the brand released a limited-edition series of three heirloom varieties of rice, each of which represented a different story from the African diaspora.

Upgrades for Familiar Products

Among industry experts, 43% predict nostalgic foods will remain relevant post-pandemic, while 58% of consumers will want novel products (Mattson, 2020). These numbers show there is room for refreshing tried and true products. Here we see some tried and true pantry brands that have updated their packaging to encourage experimenting with the product to create new dishes ultimately appealing to both early-adopters and new cooks.

In recent years we have seen new formats for sour cream and yogurt. These new formats tout, less mess, less wasted product and better control of portion sizes. Similarly, US brands Jif and Skippy bring squeeze tubes to peanut butter offering a new look at a proven product that is competing with alternative nut butters.

These staples go one step further tapping into the global food culture and experimentation. Prior to the pandemic, growing numbers of consumers globally were found to be eager to taste different cuisines, flavor, spices, and combinations of texture. These food finds tap into this evolving trend and connect it to cooking at home which has been accelerated due to lock-downs, stay-at-home orders and social distancing measures with minimal impact to household food budgets.

Looking forward to discovering more innovation!

Julie Dugas

One of the Heads

Studio | H2G

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