How Consumer Emotions are Shaping the Future of the Food and Beverage Industry

food and beverage emotion people eating food and emotion

Can you think of many things that evoke more emotion than food?

  • The smell of pot roast around the holidays
  • The taste of buttery popcorn at the movie theater
  • The sip of a cold beer at a ball game

It all comes back to that gut feeling you get when you think of your favorite dish, snack, beverage or brand. You consciously (or many times subconsciously) equate a specific emotion to an experience you had around food. These emotions then find a permanent home in your memory – only surfacing when you find yourself in a similar situation again.

The idea that consumer emotions are the driving force behind decision-making is not revolutionary. So why is it important to talk about this today? And why is it important to understand how it relates to the food and beverage industry?

Consumers are Demanding More

Consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands are under more scrutiny than ever before. Long gone are the days where consumers dismiss the nitty gritty details of the nutritional label. No longer will consumers make purchase decisions without questioning whether those decisions will negatively affect their health…or worse, the health of their families. Less and less will people choose to turn a blind eye.

Consumers want to feel a sense of trust when purchasing food. They want to know what ingredients they are bringing to the table for Sunday night dinner, and from where those ingredients are being sourced. They want to know what the brand stands for as a whole. Ultimately, they demand a voice and image they can connect to.

They want brands that make them feel safe.

How Emotions Impact Transparency

Recently, we talked about the impact that blockchain is having on food and beverage traceability. But what is the true catalyst behind the need for traceability? Consumer emotions. Being open and honest about where your foods and ingredients are sourced is a crucial step in capturing the trust of your consumers.

Consumers become more emotionally attached to brands which create environments and products built on honesty and transparency. The more a consumer knows about a product, the greater an emotional connection they will feel to it.

In fact, recently the USDA ruled that GMOs in U.S. products must be disclosed. This new ruling will force food and beverage manufacturers to be more transparent about the bioengineering practices behind their ingredients. We also have  seen an increase in state laws mandating “true food labeling,” meaning companies can’t hide behind misleading claims when it comes to product descriptions and ingredient lists.

These changes come as no surprise to us here at Martec, as we constantly monitor the trends in the food and beverage market and how they may impact consumer emotions. Consumers want to feel at peace with the purchase decisions they are making, and it’s this inherent need to know more and feel more emotionally connected to brands that is driving these major labeling and packaging changes in the industry.

How to Measure Consumer Emotions

Everything we do is driven by and tied to emotions. Understanding these emotions gives companies a clearer and more holistic understanding of how their customers perceive their brand. Is it positive? Do they feel like they can trust you? Are they coming back to you for more?

Many companies don’t know how to understand these consumer emotions, or even what to do with the data. Using a measurement tool like the Martec Emotion Score allows companies to equate a numerical value to how positive or negative a customer feels about their brand. For instance, on a scale of -100 to +100, how positive is your customer’s reaction to your packaging? Do they trust the label? Do they feel safe purchasing your product?

With this data, brands can make changes to unpleasant correlations and enhance the features that bring out more pleasant emotions. Don’t know where to start when it comes to measuring customer emotion? We can help. Contact us for more information.

Questions To Think About Before You Go…

  1. Do your customers trust your brand?
  2. Do they connect with your message?
  3. Are you being transparent enough to earn their trust?
  4. Do you know enough about how your customers feel about your brand?
  5. Do you have the metrics in place to gather this data?

Want more? Check out our series on food waste and the impact it’s having on our greater community.

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