By observing product availability, shelf size, and display of PB products, consumer behavior, preference, and demand for certain products can be deduced. In the processed meat category, Europe had the strongest market with a wide variety of PB and non-PB processed meat, especially in the sausage, ham, and salami sections. Italy, France, and Germany, known for cold cuts, cured meat, and charcuteries, explain the prevalence of the products.
In the US, there is great emphasis on the healthiness and safety of processed meat. In addition to the large number of organic and gluten-free meats, there are heavy promotions on the safety of the products. Several had 'All Natural,' 'minimally processed,' and 'No nitrates' written on the packaging and signs displayed in the store. This reflects the efforts companies made to market the safety of their products after the World Health Organization reported on the carcinogenic risk of eating processed meat. Some products also had ‘crate-free’ meats, reflecting the increased number of consumers aware of animal welfare. As consumers have stronger moral values dictating their buying behavior and are more health conscious, companies in the processed meat section are pushing efforts to appeal to a wider audience.
The other key finding on consumer demand and market attractiveness for October was on the Ready to Drink (RTD) beverage market. Based on the observations made by Tridge in October, Italy, France, and the UK's RTD market was the weakest amongst the countries and food categories. Due to the country's strong coffee and tea culture, only some products were in the RTD beverage section.
For example, coffee is a source of great national pride in Italy. Italians are particular about how coffee is prepared, with cultural norms and traditions dictating how the country enjoys the beverage. Starbucks, arguably the most recognized coffee chain restaurant, only entered the Italian market in 2018 after massive pushback from the locals. The Italian coffee culture's intense devotion is evident in the limited popularity and accessibility of RTD coffee. The same is true for France, which has a strong cafe culture, and the UK, which has a strong tea-drinking culture.
Yet, Japan, also known for its tea culture, had the largest RTD beverage market of all the countries observed. Japanese beverage companies created canned coffee and tea in the 60s and 80s. The rising popularity of vending machines helped increase sales and achieve product acceptance in the Japanese market. Thus, a wide variety of canned beverages are available in Japan, creating a unique market for international brands to tap into new markets. For example, Coca-Cola Cola, not known for its alcoholic beverages, launched its first canned alcopop to be sold exclusively in Japan.
In addition, due to the proximity of the countries, RTD drinks are widely consumed in South Korea. Holding one of the strongest RTD markets, they also had various PB and non-PB RTD products in the retail stores.
With rising food prices and inflation, low-priced private-label products are increasing in appeal. PB manufacturers vary widely depending on the country, food group, and retail store. For example, in the confectionery food category, E-Mart in South Korea is actively seeking overseas OEMs and companies to manufacture their PB chocolates, biscuits, and cookies. Many of the 26 PB manufacturers in the retail store are from Southeast Asia. Similarly, Rewe in Germany also had a long list of overseas PB confectionery manufacturers, mostly from neighboring European countries.
It is common for OEMs and companies whose primary services supply other brands to supply PB products. However, large national brands and key market players also provide PB products to enlarge their market share. For example, in Carrefour Italy, most PB ground spices were supplied by one national brand whose products were being sold predominantly. No OEMs supplied PB processed sausage, bacon, and ham in Japan. Some of the country's largest processed meat companies gave the entire PB processed meat.
For further information, please check out Retailer Trend Reports on Tridge website.