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Picture: Unsplash/Nico Smit
Picture: Unsplash/Nico Smit

The Covid pandemic has signalled a significant shift in consumer behaviour as more people have stayed at home. This changed behaviour has had an impact on the snack category.

A recent Financial Mail Redzone discussion, moderated by Tilt chief creative officer Arye Kellman, put the spotlight on how some of the country’s largest snacking companies have adapted to satisfy their consumer’s new needs. One of the biggest takeouts of the discussion was that the snack market is ever evolving.

Yanda Innovation Consultants chief innovation officer Yandisa Hene said brands have realised the value of authenticity, empathy and purpose. It’s no longer enough for businesses to bank their profits; they need to have purpose and give back to society.

Innovation helps brands to stay ahead of the game and be sustainable. However, any innovations need to keep the changing behaviours of consumers in mind. Fundamentals such as the need for convenience, value of money and energy will persist. Innovations need to relate to consumers’ passion points.

Brands need to understand how the context of consumers has changed since the onset of the pandemic. Now more than ever consumers need to be offered value for money, beyond price.

Mondelez International category brand manager for candy Zainab Mohamed said brands need to embrace consumer shifts, such as an increased focus on vitamins and immunity. However, it’s important to identify persistent versus short-terms trends so that brands don’t pursue very short-term opportunities. Consumer insights remain important, though research no longer has to be only traditional. Brands need to follow social media to understand what consumers are looking for. Agility is key in this category.

Tiger Brands corporate & group marketing strategy director Sarvesh Seetaram said brands in the oversaturated snacks market stand out by exhibiting purpose and embedding innovation in their culture.

Supply chains were put under pressure in the days before the hard lockdown commenced in late March 2020, he said, particularly among those who could afford to stock up. The pandemic has created more opportunity for the trial of products when preferred brands have been out of stock. Having an in-store presence is key for sustainability.

Tiger Brands recently commissioned a study to understand better the innovation space and how consumers interact with its brands. Times for meals are starting to blur, said Seetaram, which points to the fact that snacks are filling the gap. However, snack brands need to be relevant and distinctive, he concluded.

Watch the event here.

The next Redzone digital event, to take place on June 8 at 9am, will unpack insightful research into family dynamics and the child's role in the SA household. Click here to register.

The big take-out:

The local snack market is ever evolving. To stand out snack brands need to be relevant and distinctive


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