Share This Article

Trend of the Year: Strategizing SIMPLE in the Food and Beverage Marketplace

As consumers have clamored for cleaner product ingredient lists, driven by their desires for fresher, less processed foods and beverages, companies have heard these demands and have begun to respond.

In this special issue of Hartbeat Exec, Strategizing Simple in the Food & Beverage Marketplace, we attempt to answer some of the critical questions food and beverage companies are facing, particularly how many interested consumers are out there who would actually find it credible to see a simple/natural extension appear on the shelf from a mainstream brand they associate with anything but simplicity or naturalness?

Here’s a snippet of what you will find inside this special Hartbeat Exec:

The FDA has just recently announced its intention to solicit comments on formation of a “natural” standard identity in response to consumer complaints and also to a flurry of litigation against CPG companies using the “natural” moniker on packaging or in new product launches. However, consumers have not had a hard time shopping for natural foods without the label.

Regardless, the “simple” labeling trend is overtaking “natural” as large companies wish to avoid lawsuits provoked within a non-regulated sector.

To most, though, what CPG companies mark as “simple” or “simply” is better understood as the natural foods sector. We call it the new premium marketplace because we know that the brands commanding the highest-priced premiums generally are younger, entrepreneurial brands whose default assumption is a target consumer who wants minimally processed foods and beverages, which the natural and organic sector has relentlessly pushed through the market in the past two decades.

BIG INSIGHT: Removing symbols of bad or low-quality food processing is critical to keeping a brand contemporary in modern food culture.

Strategizing Simple cross-examines sales and survey data with our experience in utilizing ethnographic research for clients. Among other things, this issue:

  • explores the role of consumers’ interpretation of food/beverage processing in strategizing your brands
  • breaks down the difference between branded commodities and iconic food and how that should affect decisions to contemporize your brand
  • challenges the assumption that it is difficult to get consumer trial and regular purchase of premium branded commodities, even for a premium price. 

Click Here to go to the File Download Page for Your Free Copy


Food & Beverage Occasions Consumer Package Goods Organic/Natural Trends Point Of View


As leaders in the study of American food culture, The Hartman Group has been tracking how Americans shop for food since the 1990s. From one-stop shopping to multichannel shopping to online markets and click-and-collect, we continue to track consumers’ evolving perceptions, needs, habits and relationships with food retailers. New to the 2017 report is a special section on the expansion of the discount grocery channel, the emerging fresh-format channel and smaller-footprint retail formats.


hartbeat subscribe