As consumer spending continues to decline due to tough economic conditions, rising costs, a greater tax burden and below-inflation salary increases, many brands are responding by consolidating product lines and stripping out any excess to maintain affordability. Preetesh Sewraj, CEO and chief innovation analyst at Product of the Year, explains that in a strong economy brands push the innovation agenda. They build innovation pipelines to expand their product offerings and deliver greater value through added features and attributes that resonate with discerning consumers.  However, now that consumers are struggling to afford even a basic basket of products, brands need to find ways to deliver the same experience and value, without increasing their price points or losing the attributes consumers have come to expect. “The major challenge facing all brands in this situation is how to reduce costs without eroding value,” continues Sewraj. For some, the answer lies in consolidation. “We’ve...

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