Traditional food and beverage buying habits — where the public gravitates toward large companies with a long history — are quickly evaporating. As younger buyers have their sights set on healthier options, such as whole grain and vegan, and rely on criteria including improved ingredient transparency and local vendors with a smaller ecological footprint, brand loyalty is heading to historic lows. In the brewery industry, for example, overall beer consumption is relatively flat or declining while revenues are increasing because of the shift to pricier craft beers that are locally produced in smaller batches.
At the same time, health trends in older buyers are changing. Where low-fat products were once the craze, consumers may now be eying labels for low-carb options.
For food and beverage companies, this means making continuous adjustments — finding the right balance of new product offerings while scaling back legacy products — to both stay competitive as well as gain market share. However, the approach can only be successful if it revolves around the ability to rapidly scale up operations if a product is selling well and scaling down as demand declines. Using the proper tools, this flexibility is possible without an intense capital investment.