Sustain Weekly — Introducing ‘M’ — The Urban Superfood Shopper.

“Don’t count the days, make the days count” — Muhammad Ali

Which water did you look into further?

  1. Detox Water
  2. Birch Water
  3. Maple Water
  4. Cactus Water
  5. Artichoke Water

Artichoke? Birch? — No? Why? Are you not feeling hipster enough?Last week, I wrote about the emerging varieties of water and plant and tree based beverages. Then, during the week, I researched further into the emerging trends in the beverage markets and how some of them are designed and packaged into selling into a specific demographic (20s to 40s). New food and beverages that are lining up at the supermarkets today are different from what you saw 10 years back. We have a new category: ‘superfoods’. I’ll name a few and you tell me when you first heard of it — Greek Yogurt, Quinoa, Kale, Chia, Kefir etc.

But before that, back to tree-based water

The most popular today is still coconut water here. Vastly popular in South Asian countries that it is not even promoted as a health drink. But, it ranks way above than other tree waters in our regions — maybe because we don’t have birch or maple trees growing in our part of the world!

The water from the sap of the birch tree is not new. It is nutrient rich and locals have been extracting it for centuries. Similarly, maple tree water has been in use for a long time. But all these tree waters are hitting the store shelves today because there is a small, significant and growing urban audience for superfoods today.Let’s call the dominant persona of this segment as ‘M’. ‘M’ has an elastic perspective of pricing unlike the generation before. So, ‘M’ buys a $700 phone and assumes that he won a great deal and ticked off all of ‘Fast, Good, and Cheap”. Only thing is $700 is not cheap by any standard. Similarly, for tree waters, the price for a pack of 12 bottles: Birch tree water: $42; Maple Water: $35; Cactus Water: $40; Coconut Water: $25; Detox water: $20 is not cheap.

The elasticity in the perception of what is cheap and what is not has led ‘M’ to buy expensive super foods because he perceives them to be quick and effective, and worth the price. This is the same way he sees Quinoa, Kale, and anything that is promoted as an alternative lifestyle in terms of food. Companies love ‘M’ as the cost to market products to him is easier. M if the kind of person who buys Almond Milk instead of Cow Milk, even when it has no protein.

But, if you’re a shopper, but unlike M, who shops more for necessities and less for what all is on shelves, it will become increasingly difficult to dodge product placements and promotions.

Retail stores will start to change based on what is hip and trendy. To escape this marketing push, you have to start learning to dodge unnecessary products like how Ali dodged Dokes’s 21 punches in a corner. Pick what you need and dodge what you don’t. But, without ‘M’ as a trendy and hipster consumer, there is less food and retail shelf innovation. So, he’s a necessary evil. We’ll discuss more about this evolution of food as it applies to this generation in future weeklies. Till then, float like a butterfly — sting like a bee.

Some other things I found interesting from last week.

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News @Arcluster

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About me
I manage market research and consulting at Arcluster, an innovation design and market consulting company that does research and consulting on micro emerging markets and sustainable solutions. You can reach me on twitter at @anirmal or via email