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5 CPG Trends We’ll See in 2020


Note to readers: COVID-19 update included in post *

Cadent Consulting revealed that consumer goods companies put more than 21% of their earnings toward marketing, up 1.3% from a year ago and totaling $225 billion in annual marketing spending.

As we move into the new year, CPG companies will stop blindly working to grow their bottom lines, since most execs say they are working on process improvements, digital marketing strategies, and new product introductions. 

84% of industry leaders and decision makers think that sales will grow in 2020, and while that number is high, it’s a 6% decrease from last year. 


2019: A Big Year for Food & Beverage


Food and beverage companies dominated 2019’s growth rankings. 11 of the top 20 spots on the Morning Consult’s fastest growing brands report were claimed by food brands and delivery services. On the list:

  • Doordash
  • White Claw
  • Postmates
  • Impossible Foods
  • Kind Snacks
  • Nesquik
  • Trolli
  • 100 Grand

Every 2 minutes, a new product is launched in the US marketplace.

CPG unit volume sales are consistently around 1% growth YoY. Nielsen released its top 25 innovation winners for 2019, and 15 of the 25 most innovative products were from food companies. On the list:

  • bubly Sparkling Water, PepsiCo
  • Caulipower, Caulopower LLC
  • Dave’s Killer Bread, Bagels, Flower Foods
  • DEVOUR, The Kraft Heinz Company
  • Lay’s Poppables, Frito-Lay North America
  • RITZ Crisp & Thins, Mondelez International
  • Lamb Weston Grown in Idaho


2020: CPG Trends


After reviewing the innovative and fastest-growing brands reports from 2019, it got us thinking about what’s to come in 2020. For one, CPG companies will strive to become more efficient in trade spend. Companies cannot overlook or underestimate the impact their spend has on the bottom line. Looking ahead, manufacturers will base their trade spend strategy on consumer behaviors, food trends, competitive pricing, and technology.


“The true value of today’s emerging technologies has remained in the hype cycle for much of retail and CPG, but the dawn of a new decade will see a rapid acceleration in meaningful use cases,” said Jeanne Danubio, President, Nielsen Connect, North America. “From the transformative effect of 5G to the increase in frictionless commerce—all underpinned by trust and transparency—the consumer landscape will become increasingly complex.”




The Unpredictable: COVID-19

Coronavirus is seriously shaking up CPG business and consumer behavior. 


  • About 20% to 30% of consumers say they are already spending less in everyday categories (in-store purchases, restaurant outings, local activities). There will be decline in out of home spending due to social distancing and isolation measures.
  • 47% of consumers have stocked up on supplies for their household. (Dry foods, paper goods and canned foods are the most popular purchases.)
  • Consumer-facing and CPG manufacturers are dealing with a different issue related to the outbreak: a panic-induced demand spike. In food and beverage, Nielsen reports US dollar sales for the week ending February 29 climbed
    • 322.5% for oat milk
    • 36.9% for dried beans
    • 31.8% for canned meat
    • 158.3% for fresh meat alternatives
    • 84.4% for powdered milk products
    • 25.3% for rice
    • 24.9% for tuna
    • 11.3% for water
    • 10.4% for pasta
  • Changing Consumer Behaviors (infographic from Ibotta)
    • 40% – 50% increase in total grocery purchases in the past 2 weeks
    • In the current environment, consumers are less brand loyal

Coronavirus & the CPG Retail Environment • Continue Reading

CPGs Share COVID-19 Impacts and Insights

Promotion Analytics in a Disruptive Supply & Demand Environment




  • 2/3 of Americans are concerned about eating at restaurants. Datassential research shows that 27% avoid eating out entirely (a jump of 8% in 4 days). Restaurants have seen a drop in sales due to mandated non-essential business closures. As quarantines are enforced, restaurants and foodservice providers will be stripped of revenue.
  • In New York City and Boston, patronage was down 64% on Saturday, March 14, compared with the same night a year earlier. See the chart: Change in restaurant occupancy, from 2019 to 2020.
  • The positives (according to Technomic):
    • Limited-Service Restaurants: The off-premise nature of limited service, plus their drive-through windows limit human interaction.
    • Delivery: There’s potential for proliferation of delivery orders.  There is currently no evidence of food being associated with COVID-19 transmission
    • Supermarket Foodservice: Consumers will still visit supermarkets, and could increase their purchases of foodservice items while grocery shopping as a surrogate for restaurant meals.

According to the CDC, “Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread from person-to-person through respiratory droplets. Currently there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with food.”

Coronavirus & the Foodservice Environment • Continue Reading

Foodservice Manufacturers Discuss Business Changes during COVID-19


Omnichannel Business Strategy

To succeed in an omnichannel world, CPGs must boldly go everywhere their customers are.


  • Omnichannel describes the type of retail that integrates the different methods of shopping available to consumers (think — social media, mobile apps, voice assistant, brick-and-mortar). 
  • It’s time to get familiar with the omnichannel shopping experience – omnichannel retail is expected to grow by 30%, disrupting the dynamic between CPGs and their customers.
  • 70% of today’s shoppers already purchase or research CPG products online
  • According to Infiniti’s CPG market research experts, online channels contributed to nearly 70% of overall CPG growth in the last decade. Therefore, ‘going digital’ is becoming one of the major CPG industry trends today. 
  • Home delivery services are expected to become one of the most favored CPG industry trends in the coming years. 
  • Digital ordering and payments are expected; “the smartphone will be the wallet of 2020,” said Dennis Lombardi of WD Partners. “And cash will go the way of the AM band of the radio.”


Continue reading about the omnichannel experience and consumer touchpoints in this Smoke Jumpers magazine article.


Sustainability Reigns 

Buyers value transparency in business operations and prefer ecofriendly products. 


  • According to the World Economic Forum, plastic waste represents an annual loss to the global economy of more than $80 billion.
  • Many CPGs have adopted innovative, recyclable packaging knowing that consumers want to avoid waste.Transparent packaging is a major CPG industry initiative. Top CPG brands are exploring new packaging alternatives such as bio-plastics and well-known options like transparent glass containers.
  • 54% of consumers think it’s at least somewhat important that the products they buy are produced in an environmentally friendly way.
  • Restaurant operators look to new natural resources for menu innovation. 
  • “Sustainability is more than a menu initiative,” said Aimee Harvey, managing editor at Technomic. “It’s emerging as part of the food service industry’s new circular economy, evolving from a linear approach of create-use-recycle to create-use-reuse-sustain.”
  • Executives said health and wellness was the top motivator for new product launches, followed by sustainability and convenience. This fits with recent SPINS data showing natural product sales growth is outpacing the total food and beverage retail market. Such products hit $47.2 billion in dollar volume for the year ending in May, a 5% jump from the previous year-long period.


Learn more from the article Sustainability Without Compromise in Smoke Jumpers magazine.


Popular Plant-Based

Whether you’re in a fast food restaurant, on a college campus, in a grocery store or at a stadium, you now have access to meatless meat.


  • Sales of plant-based food grew by double digits and at five times the rate of total food sales in the past year.
  • In 2018, shipments of plant-based proteins to foodservice operators increased 20%.
  • 95% of people who purchased a plant-based burger this year also ate meat.
  • Up to 60% of “meat” may come from non-animal sources by the year 2040.
  • 60% of Americans claim to be reducing their consumption of meat-based product.

Keep reading about plant-based meat in the blog How Food Manufacturers are Embracing Plant-Based Meats.


Pet Category Growth

Promotions aren’t just for people. The pet category is growing and wants in on the action.


  • Since 68% of US homes have a pet, it’s no surprise that the pet food segments have experienced explosive growth over the past few years.
  • E-commerce sales of pet consumables increased 53% in 2018, and Amazon attracts more than half of those who purchase pet products online.
  • “Talk to any pet owner, and they’ll tell you how difficult it is to put a dollar limit on what they’d spend to give their loyal companion a happy life, and it’s this outlook that continues to drive growth,” said Bob Vetere, President and CEO of APPA.


Learn how legacy CPG companies are increasing their focus on the pet category in the article Man(ufacturer’s) Best Friend.


Private Label Rivals

Private label market share will jump 10% over the next decade.Private-label products continue to gain market share, providing shoppers an affordable alternative to national brands and giving retailers a boost in profitability.


  • Nielsen reports that nearly one in every five items sold in US supermarkets was a store brand.
  • 90% of millennials are buying private label to save money.
  • Private label market shares total 25-30% across many categories and retailers.
  • Private label industry as a whole grew by 4.1% last year compared to national brands at 1.4%.
  • Cadent Consulting cites the growth of private label as a leading influential factor in how brands are adjusting their spend.


Get more information about private labels in this blog post.



The omnichannel environment will become second nature, private-label products will leak into legacy brand share, and meatless meat will be a standard on menus and in grocery carts. To stay relevant in the space, and to beat out your products competition, CPGs should be alerted to trends and strategies to stand apart from the rest.