2020 taught us that we need to adapt to a constantly changing marketing climate, here’s our key insights for the year ahead.

1. The new luxury

Looking back at 2008, luxury brands were the first to see growth when a worldwide crisis fades out, and brands selling an aspirational lifestyle will ultimately benefit from a recovery during an economic crash. Expect to see food and drink brands offering escapism as a key theme in the new year, focusing on positivity out of the doom and gloom.

2. Social responsibility

We’ve seen from 2020 that brands can’t just talk about social issues, they have to back up what they say with what they do, or fear being cancelled. Brands that can vouch for sustainability, inclusivity and morality have a massive advantage in 2021. In the food and drink sector there could be a big shift towards consumers skipping their usual products and favouring alternatives promoting social responsibility.

“Brands that can vouch for sustainability, inclusivity and morality have a massive advantage in 2021.”

3. The new normal

As much as we try to avoid it, should 2021 become a repeat of the last year then expect more of the same. More snacking, more meal occasions, more meal deliveries. Brands have benefitted from quantity of eating (we’ve all admitted to pigging out over lockdown), and we’re seeing brands promote more products as opposed to fewer, higher quality, products. We’re spending less time in the supermarkets, and more time on social media – social advertising and the ease of buying products online has never been more critical.

4. Bolder, odder recipes

We know plant-based is here to stay, we’ve all tried kombucha now and you’ve heard about pea milk (or you soon will!). As we spend less time going to restaurants and travelling, we’re seeing brands offer more to consumers by way of creating more adventures domestically. Our open-mindedness is growing as generations shift, and it seems the whackier the concept, the easier it is to advertise. Expect to see brands experimenting with flavours, sustainable recipe solutions and globally-inspired packaging.

5. A sense of nostalgia

Consumers wanting to feel comfort and positivity will resonate with happier, simpler times from the past. We expect to see a rise in comfort foods providing emotional relief from a tough year, and reminding us of the past – or, fusing products from yesteryear in innovative new ways to enhance our senses and memories. Either way, tapping into a brand’s history is an instant win to connect with a market longing for the good old days (2019!).

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