Impulsive brand switchers. Racially diverse. Male. Are these the demographics you’d most readily associate with natural products?
Probably not, but start thinking now about these non-endemic shoppers as the natural products industry broadens to attract entirely new categories of consumer. Take #Young4ever, a consumer segment identified by New Hope Natural Media with every bit as much market potential as those go-to moms orchestrating the diets inside their family unit. #Young 4ever is 56% male, 50% single, and unapologetically fad-focused for that next new health ingredient or trend sure to impress friends at the gym. This is where Millennial meets hipster meets natural in a very unexpected way.
The great expansion beyond price in natural products opens the door to rooms inside the consumer psyche long since ignored by conventional CPG. Slowly but surely, lifestyle and quality, nutrient-density and “free from” attributes gain equal relevance alongside price right at the point of purchase. That’s why everyone’s turning those packaged foods around to scan the labels. Once the tyranny of price yields a bit of power, we expect to see entirely new and unanticipated codes of commerce gain purchase in the market.
Convenience matters, right? Of course, but then how best to explain the success of DIY mushroom kits and hydroponic mini-farms? Or backyard chicken coops and rooftop gardens? There’s even a wave of homebrew mixers storming the market in 2014. Companies like Owl’s Brew, Pok Pok Som and Sodastream don’t go all-in on the dogma of convenience by letting consumers back into the equation. Turns out, we kind of like making stuff after all, especially foodstuff.
The unexpected motivations of consumers now sniffing at the edges of natural products give credence to new product introductions around ethnic cuisines and a growing market for “stealth health.” Don’t call it healthy, don’t call it nutritious, but bake those into the formulation and lead with the mainstream affinities for taste and fun. Consider Goodie Girl Cookies with the tagline “just the right amount of wrong.” It’s delicious first, gluten-free second.
For more on the unexpected motivations of the new natural products consumer, we'd recommend a full download of the 2015 NEXT Forecast, now available.