Connecting with the Mindful Consumer

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Last week Innova Market Insights presented their top 10 food trend predictions for 2018.  Top of the list was the growth and emergence of the ‘mindful consumer’.

The mindful consumer is one who places increasing emphasis on the importance of knowing what is in the food they purchase and where it has come from.  They are choosing healthier foods more frequently, and are significantly influenced by ‘real’ ingredients and ethical claims.

Mindful consumers are moving away from marketing gimmicks and over-exaggeration of health related claims while moving towards companies that are communicating authentically and honestly and with genuine values around the food they produce.

This trend is reflective of a growing global consciousness around how our lifestyles are impacting the environment around us.  Across many sectors we are taking more responsibility for our consumption habits and pulling back on excesses and waste.  The significant growth in popularity of the Keep Cup following the ABC’s War on Waste program earlier this year is a good example.  Once the spotlight was shone on the lifecycle of a disposable coffee cup, demand for the Keep Cups increased 400%!

There is a greater recognition of the effort and resources that go into producing food and an increased appreciation of the energy it takes to get food from the farm to the table. 

Emergence of a more mindful consumer however is more than a ‘trend’.  Rather, it is a shift that reflects the expression of more intentional behaviour across many of our lifestyle habits.  It is a change that has relevance for all food growers, providers and makers. 

Connecting with a more mindful consumer in 2018 makes good business sense.  Here are five ways to consider doing this:

  1. Audit marketing messages – are you encouraging over-consumption and excess by using words such as 'massive', 'big', 'large' or 'stuffed'? Are there more mindful terms you can use to communicate value?
  2. Educate consumers –  are there opportunities to be more open and provide a greater level of detail about the processes and production techniques used to bring your food to market? Or could there be something about the sourcing of your ingredients that would provide greater peace of mind?
  3. Lead the way - what can you do to demonstrate a proactive approach in this area? Can you encourage re-use or re-purposing of your product's packaging? Can you provide ideas to inspire healthier eating habits? 
  4. Review portion sizes – a more mindful consumer is more conscious of wasting food.  How can you make it easy for them to eat enough to feel satisfied without over-indulging or having to throw food away?
  5. Re-consider price as a barrier - mindful consumers are prepared to pay more for products that meet their values.  Is price stopping you from innovating? Are there changes to your ingredients that would improve the health of your product that aren't being made because price differences are perceived as a barrier?

The rise of a more mindful consumer is a positive shift that raises the bar for food providers.  When it comes to product development and marketing, it is a reminder of the importance of maintaining an honest and genuine approach to continue to enhance the way we operate and communicate.  Keeping pace with consumers by creating a company culture that values and inspires a conscious and more discerning approach will pay back when aiming to meet the needs of this increasingly thoughtful market.