2020 was a difficult year for all of us. The COVID-19 pandemic changed where and how we work, the ways we parent and educate, and the ways we interact with our friends and family. Someday, we may look back at the changes we made in our lives this year as being bizarre, but many are here to stay. Adaptation on this scale leads to change, and that will certainly be the case when it comes to when, where, and how we enjoy our food.
As Chief Marketing Officer at Nestlé USA, I’m always looking out for how we can ensure we’re bringing you the best products we can, in the ways you’re most excited about. Here’s what we predict the future holds.
The At-Home Revolution Expands: Personalized, Premium, and Direct-to-you
Spending 2020 in our homes has meant discovering new mealtime options. A home dinner or cup of coffee used to be a necessity in between shuttling kids to activities or catching an exercise class. In 2020, Accenture reports that 62% of consumers are trying new recipes or cooking methods such as homebrewing. Those moments became a chance to experiment, spend quality time together, and give ourselves a moment of escape and self-care. That change in perspective has helped us form new habits that will be around for a long time.
That’s why at-home indulgence and premium foods are big trends to watch in 2021. A premium moment doesn’t have to mean paying a high price, it can be as simple as adding a little extra creativity into something you know well. Perrier, for instance, launched a new collaboration with Takashi Murakami who restyled a limited edition line to make a simple experience uplifting and inspiring.
Nestlé Toll House is another team who has brought special in-home experiences to life with the Bake It Easy series. Chef Meredith, Head Baker, takes Instagram followers through home baking recipes that use the end of a home-baked bread, pair cookies with wine, or use Häagen-Dazs spirits ice cream to make a boozy milkshake.
The Plant-Based Boom Continues
The rise of plant-based foods has surged; in 2020, the purchase of plant-based groceries increased by a further 11%, and people who buy plant-based foods are likely to purchase it again the next time they shop. Clearly, this trend isn’t going away any time soon.
At Nestlé USA, this is an area that we’ve been passionate about from the beginning. From our Sweet Earth Awesome Burger to non-dairy Coffee mate, we’ve been bringing new ideas and leading the way in plant-based innovation. Across the world, our teams have been innovating in surprising ways to take plant-based options to new heights — our Swiss team has even entered the plant-based seafood market with Sensational Vuna, a fish-free alternative to tuna that could be a step forward in reducing over-fishing.
Next year, look for the plant-based category to continue to expand and hit new formats. We’ve got more to come in plant-based, and we can’t wait to see what you think of our next ideas.
The Bar for Sustainability Impact Gets Higher
2021 will be a year for bold sustainability action, not just for companies but for individual brands as well. With many of us eating at home more frequently, we’re in control of our ingredients, our energy use, and even our garbage. We want those decisions to have the best possible impact on the earth, and we want the companies and brands we buy to back us up.
At Nestlé, we’ve recently shared bold new commitments our brands are making to you. Coffee mate recently announced they’d make their bottles 100% recyclable by 2022, and Sweet Earth, a brand already famous for its environmental efforts, will be carbon neutral by 2025. International Nestlé brands are also activating globally with Perrier, S.Pellegrino, and Acqua Panna set to achieve carbon neutrality by 2022.
This is just the beginning. We announced our new global roadmap to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050 because while we know that sustainability is a trending movement in food, we also recognize it’s far more than a trend for 2021.
Multicultural Marketing Levels Up with More Authentic Brand Experiences
The impact of 2020 on our lives wasn’t only about health and lifestyle changes- it was also about consciousness changes. Conversations about racial equity surged into families, communities, and board rooms where they may have previously been under-the-surface. That’s also happening at a time of demographic change: the majority of Americans under age 18 are from multicultural backgrounds.
This breakthrough is also important for brands and marketers. I serve as Vice-Chair for the Alliance for Inclusive and Multicultural Marketing (AIMM), and our core belief is that consumers want to be seen, to be reflected, and to be respected. That becomes even more important in food and beverage, among the richest ways of connecting to your family, culture, and upbringing.
In 2021, brands at every stage will be growing their knowledge and relevance across diverse segments, including empowering diverse marketing talent and investing in behind-the-camera diversity in advertising.
Brands like Nescafé have led the way in modeling authentic partnerships and leveraging unique cultural insights to connect with Hispanic consumers on a deeper level. Lighthouse brands like Nescafé can combine with industry-wide efforts through the Association of National Advertisers and AIMM to support bias-free marketing and increase representation of African-Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Asian Americans throughout marketing. Together, growth in multicultural marketing will move from a vague aspiration to a true business strategy across the industry in 2021.
The history of American kitchens is all about evolution — Nestlé has been around long enough to know that food never stays the same for long, even long-time favorites change and adapt, from flavors to preparation to shopping habits. I’m proud to work with a team of relentlessly innovative and creative foodies who are passionate about bringing you something new to enjoy, in the most convenient ways possible.
Look out for more creativity and progress in 2021 and beyond, and know that we’ll be here for you, embracing every twist and turn together.
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