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Food & Drink Without Frontiers?

October 2012

By Claire Brooks

Food and drink have historically been the categories most resistant to globalization, but this is changing as western brands focus on developing outside their own, low-growth, local markets and emerging market consumers aspire to western lifestyles. Meanwhile cash-strapped western consumers seek both reassurance and fun. This month, ModelPeople’s GlobalCulture BlogSM explores five worldwide trends for some pointers to successful global brand positioning and innovation.

High-Status Healthy
Healthy eating has long had cachet in western nations and as a result, it has become aspirational in developing nations. In Delhi, the growth of the probiotic dairy category symbolizes an urban population’s desire for natural wellness. In Shanghai, a new trend towards obesity encourages interest in healthier-sounding snack flavors.

Personalized Diet
There’s an increasing number of dietary niche categories allowing consumers to personalize a healthy diet. In Berlin, ‘gluten-free’ has replaced ‘low-fat’ as the packaged food trend du jour. In Bangalore, products containing traditional Indian ayurvedic ingredients are available. In Milan, interest in medicinal herbs to treat food allergies is high.

Good, Wholesome Fun
For those who just wanna have fun with their (natural, healthy) food, a Sao Paulo juice company packages their upscale products with clever quips and bright colors. Gourmet popsicle fever has hit Los Angeles.

Recession-Proof Indulgence
With many western cities still suffering financially, consumers and producers are looking for ways to recession-proof eating. In London, street food and gourmet fast-food restaurants are making culinary headlines and and thrifty drinkers are turning to hard-to-chug Negronis in place of fruity cocktails! In New York high-end food markets sell private label brands at mass-market price points.

Source Matters
Food source was once a matter of exclusivity, but in Tokyo, it’s become a post-Fukushima matter of life and death, resulting in map-tagged food products. Source can also act as a cue for fun, however. In Shanghai, western sports bars are a magnet for locals, while in Paris, the recent Americana trend (and perhaps a left-wing president) has contributed to a new appreciation for beer culture: premium beer, of course.



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