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At Identica, we continually monitor emerging trends to make sure we remain alert to opportunities for our clients, in particular in the area of alcoholic drinks, a category of interest to our team, both professionally and personally.
There are five macro trends that we think are currently having a major influence on the drinks’ category now, and will continue to do so. In the following pages we explore the impact these five major trends are having.
1- The Age of Wellness
There’s an increasing focus on building and maintaining healthy bodies and minds to equip us for the challenges of modern life. When it comes to alcohol this is driving total abstinence in alcohol for some, but for others low alcohol and alcohol alternatives, such as guarana based drinks are hitting the mark. We think this trend is also driving a ‘drink less but drink better movement’, creating more and more premium alternatives for consumers to try.
2- The Experience Economy
For a variety of societal, cultural and economic reasons, consumers are increasingly looking for new experiences, driving what we call ‘the experience economy.’ In the drinks’ category this is creating a demand of increased theatre and ritual at the moment of consumption; ‘drinks drama’ in the form of drinks with spectacular presentation and those with challenging flavours and tastes, as well as the continual quest for the new and the novel.
3- Back to Basics
Increasingly consumers want to know where products come from, what’s in them and who is behind them. We think this is in part driving the increasing interest in artisanal drinks – in particular beers, small batch products, and ideas such as raw sherry.
4- Easy Drinking
Consumer demand has lead to an increased use of convenience formats (more drinks in cans such as wine) and formats where a a professional standard product can be enjoyed in the comfort of your home, a trend pioneered by out of category brands such as Nespresso. This trend translates beyond pack also, through drinks with unchallenging tastes where consumers don’t need to struggle through a bonding process, for example alcoholic sodas.
5- Do Some Good
Consumers want to be reassured that their consumption choices are not only good for them, but aren’t damaging the world around them. In addition to recyclability of packaging we expect to see an increase in brands to show a social side, helping consumer tackle some of the pressing environmental and social issues that face us all. Thanks to additional research conducted at the Haas School of Business at Berkeley in California, we know millennials understand this, as “more than nine in ten millennials would switch brands to one associated with a cause.”
Olive Ridley Brewing Co. support the conservation of Olive Ridley turtles by pledging a proportion of their profits to a dedicated charity
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Over the past 200 years we have seen the status of dogs rise from an expendable worker, to an indicator of wealth and even a glamorous accessory. Where we stand today, many pets hold such a great importance in their owner’s lives that we often hear them being referred to as ‘a part of the family’, they are pampered and loved as one’s own child. At a quarter of the annual cost of raising a child, it’s no wonder why people are seeing pet ownership as a viable alternative. 44% of millennials are unsure about starting their own family, owning a pet however gives that same sense of responsibility and care whilst maintaining some respective financial stability. This begs the question, if pets are replacing children, how does this affect the pet product industry?
P E T F O O D S
Knowing that our attitudes as pet owners are moving further towards ‘pets as family members’, it makes perfect sense that the average kibble is not enough for a pet that is deemed an integral part of the family unit. In recent years, we have seen a huge incline in upmarket pet foods, from holistic treats and chews to luxury meals fit for a king (Charles cavalier spaniel). This expanse in the market has opened doors to branding that aims to entice the owners in the same way they shop for their own meals, trends we see in human food branding is reflected in luxury pet foods. Say goodbye to stock images of dogs and cats running around, and hello to kitsch illustrations and model-esque portraits.
It’s not just the packaging that is reflecting our own consumer habits; some products are going as far as replicating foods that we eat ourselves.
D R I N K S
Many people like to enjoy a glass of wine or a bottle of beer at the weekend (and most often a lot more than just the one), but how can you sit there sipping on yours knowing that your poor cat or dog is going without? Well, there need not be a worry now that pet wines and beers have been hitting the shelves. The line between luxury and novelty thins as the position of pets within the family gains gravitas, but this erosion of boundaries has opened opportunities to treat your tailed friends to the same tipples that we use to unwind after a long week. Matching the aesthetic of our own human versions, they are appealing and attractive – just be sure not to mix up your feline wine with your own!
S U P P L E M E N T S
With increasing life expectancy of our pets, their longer lives come with problems not too uncommon to our own species. The inevitability of ageing brings many ailments and troubles, like joint pains, arthritis and cognitive dysfunction amongst many others. For us, the current approach appears to be a preventative one. Adding supplements and vitamins to our diets and daily routines prepares our bodies for the struggles ahead so it only seems natural that we’d do the same for our pets. Supplements for joints, digestive systems and even anxiety are available for our furry friends, and to no surprise they’re branded in a very similar way to the human counterpart products. Predominantly recognisable by the happy, healthy looking cats and dogs featuring centre stage, the design further reinforces the idea that pet brands are moving in a direction very reminiscent of products we’d buy for ourselves. All we can hope is that we don’t get them mixed up with our own, but then again what damage can a couple of dog vitamins do? I for one would love some added shine and lustre to my coat.
L E I S U R E
With activities like pilates, kickboxing and CrossFit more accessible than ever and taking favour over spending the evening at home after work, it begs the question: What do we do with our furry friends whilst we’re out doing the downward dog ourselves? Well, it would seem that’s no longer a worry, thanks to Doga. Dog yoga is the practice of standard human yoga routine, with a couple of poses that involve holding your pooch – but the majority of the class gives them the freedom to just roam around. Apparently there are great benefits for the doggie and the owner. Are classes like this a further indicator of the growing relationship between owners and their pets? The involvement of pets into these leisure activities is a prime example of how they’re becoming more and more like companions as time goes on.
F A S H I O N
Another way in which our pets are being anthropomorphised is in the world of fashion. Although some breeds of dogs do need extra layers to keep them toasty (especially in UK winters), it’s fairly indubitable that they look a little on the silly side. However, this hasn’t stopped the world of doggy fashion from blowing up, we can now spend our year planning for the New York Pet Fashion Show, and regularly see our woofing wonders accompanying models on the catwalk at fashion weeks all around the world. Designer clothing for dogs and cats is on the rise, but is this a reflections of our relationship with pets being more accessories (circa Paris Hilton 2010), or is it a representation of people feeling that their little ones genuinely deserve handmade haut couture?
It seems pretty apparent; that as our attitudes towards our pets change and they take a more substantial position within our families, the way we market and brand pet products has also become more anthropomorphised. It’ll be interesting to see how this further evolves, maybe soon we’ll see doggie cinemas and sushi bars for cats?