Three global consumer trends for 2022: Report

Mintel outlines what consumers want and why—today and in the future
Group of young friends having fun and laughing while dining at table in restaurant.

What consumers want is the eternal question for brands, and Mintel has some answers.

The research firm has unveiled three trends set to impact global consumer markets in 2022. Mintel’s Global Consumer Trends report includes analysis, insights and recommendations centred on consumer behaviour, market shifts and opportunities for brands across sectors to act on in the next 12 months.

Here’s a look at the three trends and how the insights might apply to grocery retailers and CPG brands:

1-In Control: Feelings of precariousness and financial insecurity created by the pandemic mean customers are looking for a sense of control. At the same time, the spread of misinformation is making it harder for consumers to carry out research to make informed decisions. Consumers need clarity, transparency, flexibility, and options to make decisions that meet their changing needs. For example, they want to know about ingredients—both what’s excluded and what’s included, and why—but also about efficacy to ensure that products deliver on their promises.

Grocery Takeaways: Technology allows for tracking and tracing to give customers a sense of control, such as QR codes on packaging. While more brands attach functional benefit claims to their products, this can result in an overwhelming ingredient list. To mitigate this, simple packaging will help to communicate authenticity. For retailers, the race for the fastest delivery will evolve to focus on being more flexible and giving consumers more control over when their products arrive, based on their schedules.

2-Enjoyment Everywhere: Having endured lockdown, consumers are eager to break out of their confines and explore, play and embrace novel experiences. Many may be feeling a kind of "survivor’s guilt" and as a result, consumers need to allow themselves to feel joy and happiness. Consumers will continue to rely on brands to enable them to escape their everyday worries, stresses, and boredom.

Grocery Takeaway: Brands can encourage consumers to play and have fun with everyday routines, including experimenting with food and cooking. This appeals to consumers’ growing recognition of the need to find joy in daily life and in being in the moment. Brands should highlight positivity in their messaging to uplift consumers’ moods. They can also provide entertaining experiences, whether in the form of new foods, activities, or events.

3-Ethics Check: With growing concerns about a range of issues—from food safety and ethical sourcing to data security and algorithm bias—consumers want to know more about the products they buy and the brands they’re buying from. However, their expectations of brands’ ethical commitments are evolving. Consumers have moved beyond simply wanting brands to be ethical and are demanding to see measurable, transparent, and consistent actions from the brands they choose to support. In addition to spotlighting their achievements and strengths, businesses have to be transparent about their weaknesses, where and why they fail and how they plan to address these issues in the future.

Grocery Takeaway: Mintel research found 71% of Canadian consumers who care about ethics in food and drink agree that companies’ ethical practices have become more important to them since the start of the pandemic. Brands should use metrics to demonstrate their ethical efforts and help consumers quantify the impact of what the brand has achieved. In addition, brands should be transparent about pricing, how "true costs" are reflected in a product’s pricing structure, and how that relates to doing the right thing. If higher cost reflects a better, more ethical product, explain where those costs have come from.

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