9th November | Sally Haywood back

Our hot takes on the 2021-22 Waitrose Food & Drink report

From the year that brought us pesto eggs and pasta fries, we take a look at other key trends from Waitrose’s annual Food & Drink report. The report offers a sneak peek into how consumer habits and trends shifted as we emerged from the pandemic. Waitrose’s CEO, James Bailey, calls it the “homebody economy”. Characterised by at-home gatherings, TikTok recipes and an increase in environmental and health-conscious shopping choices, as well as a sharp rise in online shopping, this model has become “an accepted – and popular – way of living”, Bailey says. Here’s some hot takes from this year’s review:

We became a nation of homebodies

Okay, so spending more time in our homes wasn’t exactly by choice initially, but it turns out that this eventually became a source of enjoyment for us. The past 19 months has seen people “fall back in love” with their homes and dedicate more time to improving their cooking skills. As if we weren’t already thinking about food approx. 99% of the time, the pandemic has made 41% of respondents agree that food is more important to them than it was pre-pandemic, while 53% enjoyed spending more time at home.

Dinner parties are back on the menu

According to Waitrose, a quarter of all respondents said they planned to host more dinner parties post-pandemic than they did before. Apparently, we’re opting for smaller, more regular gatherings than before, because who really needs an occasion to indulge in delicious food and drink? We’re also out to seriously impress when it comes to hosting; shoppers have increasingly looked to more premium, better-quality ingredients when entertaining guests at home. It also seems we’re embracing every chance to celebrate as sales of champagne were up 40% year on year.

Viral food trends

Pesto eggs, feta pasta and *that* tortilla wrap technique took the internet by storm thanks to viral videos from TikTok. Turns out we weren’t just mindlessly scrolling for hours but we were actually learning new cooking techniques (go us!) Three-quarters of all 18 to 24-year-olds surveyed said they had looked to TikTok or Instagram for recipe inspiration this past year. And across all age groups, nearly one-third of people said they regularly looked at social media for food inspiration. This year also demonstrated the huge impact viral trends have on our spending habits, for instance October saw the rise in ‘pasta fries’ recipes, which require the must-have appliance of the moment – an air fryer. This in turn contributed to a 400% rise in sales of air fryers at John Lewis.

Planet-conscious shoppers

One of the biggest trends this year was eco-friendly shopping. Topping our list of concerns with regards to the planet was food waste, packaging and meat consumption. According to the report, three-quarters of people have tried harder not to waste food this year. Additionally, 77% said they were concerned about the amount of plastic in their grocery packaging, while 71% said they have tried to reduce the amount of packaging they take into their homes. This was also evident in the continuous decrease in meat consumption and the rise of plant-based alternatives. Waitrose called this the ‘5:2 diet’, in that people opted to eat veggie for five days a week and go for an animal-based protein on the other two days. Waitrose also predicts some of the biggest trends of 2022 will include potato milk and climatarianism (a type of diet focused on reducing one’s carbon footprint).

Variety is the… booze of life

Variety was the keyword for those who enjoy a glass or two at the end of the day. The retailer found that we became “more adventurous” with our drink choices, as well as more likely to splurge in better-quality products. Sundowners and aperitifs are on the rise (Aperol sales were up 148%), while people swapped their classic wine choices for new niche wines from around the world. It’s also clear that we’ve embraced the celebratory mood since restrictions lifted – sales of large-format bottles such as magnums rocketed by 87% since last year’s report. Looking ahead to next year, among other trends for 2022, Waitrose also predicts the return of pre-batched bottled cocktails.

18th July | Katie Watson
R&T launches Brooklyn Pilsner to the masses

Brooklyn Brewery (part of Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company) is the beer brand that revolutionised the American craft beer scene, and is renowned for its premium, flavourful range of craft beers. But when it came to breaking into the premium world category with its crisp and refreshing new pilsner, it needed… Read more

9th May | Matt de Leon
R&T Helps Buildxact launch into UK market

If you’re in the construction industry, learn this name: Buildxact. If you haven’t heard of them yet, you will soon. And if you’re a small residential builder, knowing the name could transform your life and your business. Read more

26th April | Jessica Aldersley-Hey
A Whole New World?

As the world opens up again once more, and we try not to mention the dreaded C word, we’ve been getting back into the swing of things and hosting events IRL – much to journalists’ (and our!) delight. From sipping rum in Cuba to launching new whiskeys in Dublin and… Read more

Load more
See our latest work
Visit our portfolio
Read our latest news
Visit all latest news
25th March | Sally Haywood back

From solid to fluid: adapting to changing consumer behaviours

We’ve already seen a large shift in typical consumer
behaviour as a result of the global pandemic COVID-19. Consumers are
bulk-buying food and toilet roll, there’s been an increase in low contact
commerce with several takeaway chains offering a ‘contactless delivery’ as the standard
and we’re being urged to practice social distancing. This new wave of consumer
behaviour places brands firmly in unchartered territory as to how they should
respond to the current world crisis.

In light of the challenging times the world is currently
experiencing, a report
by Ipsos discusses the impact of Coronavirus and consumer behaviour change,
and what this means for brands as a result.

This drastic change into the unknown means that brands have
lost their autonomy. We’re so familiar with ‘business as usual’ that our
entrenched behaviours become more automatic, which allows for a more simplified
decision-making process. In times of extreme uncertainty and instability,
‘business as usual’ is no longer an option and brands can’t adhere to their
familiar patterns and behaviours. This shifts us from a “solid” decision-making
process, to a “fluid” one.

According to Ipsos, how we navigate in a fluid time can no
longer depend on automatic behaviours, as they may reflect a mastery of a past
that no longer exists.

The report explains that within these unstable environments,
there is a role for brands to play, however, this must be carefully considered.
So far, we have seen brands show comradery during this time of uncertainty and
panic to make it clear they are there to help add value to consumers’ lives and
adapt to the new social norms and behaviours.

Before more recent announcements that cafes, bars and restaurants
must close, Pret was offering free hot drinks to all NHS staff and 50% off
food. Healthy fast-food brand Leon was offering NHS workers 50% off and free
food deliveries to hospitals.

Self-made brand ‘The Body Coach’ created by Joe Wicks used
his popularity on social media to encourage the nation’s children to take part
in PE lessons every weekday morning in light of school closures. With the first
session gaining a massive 806,000 households tuning in, it’s clear to see the
increased need and desire for brands to add value to consumers’ lives.

The Ipsos report provides some key take-outs for brands
looking to adapt to the shifting content and support consumer behavioural change:

Build long-lasting, trusting relationships by
investing in consumers
Be a source of truth and positive impact Show empathy / give comfort   Help people constructively use time and build
new routines at home
Go virtual Recognise and affirm new social norms Learn from the last ‘new normal’

18th July | Katie Watson
R&T launches Brooklyn Pilsner to the masses

Brooklyn Brewery (part of Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company) is the beer brand that revolutionised the American craft beer scene, and is renowned for its premium, flavourful range of craft beers. But when it came to breaking into the premium world category with its crisp and refreshing new pilsner, it needed… Read more

9th May | Matt de Leon
R&T Helps Buildxact launch into UK market

If you’re in the construction industry, learn this name: Buildxact. If you haven’t heard of them yet, you will soon. And if you’re a small residential builder, knowing the name could transform your life and your business. Read more

26th April | Jessica Aldersley-Hey
A Whole New World?

As the world opens up again once more, and we try not to mention the dreaded C word, we’ve been getting back into the swing of things and hosting events IRL – much to journalists’ (and our!) delight. From sipping rum in Cuba to launching new whiskeys in Dublin and… Read more

Load more
See our latest work
Visit our portfolio
Read our latest news
Visit all latest news
8th January | Sally Haywood back

Influencers: Like a pair of jeans, it’s all about the perfect fit

As a Business Management and Marketing
graduate, my studies provided a vast array of insights into the world of
business. A topic that piqued my interest in particular was digital
communications and marketing. As a result of this, I decided to write my final
year dissertation on the rise of Instagram influencers and whether their
perceived ‘influence’ actually impacts consumer purchasing decisions and
engagement with a brand.

My desk research revealed that Instagram users
perceive influencers as more stimulating and engaging than celebrities or
actors as they feel they can relate to them more[1]. As consumers, we’re increasingly using social media as a primary
source of information when researching a brand, therefore it’s essential for
brands to be able to connect with consumers through influencers they find the
most appealing and relatable.

And the interviews I conducted myself as part
of my research revealed three stand out themes regarding Instagram influencers:

Firstly, it’s vital for a brand to select an influencer who is relevant to and aligns with the brand. Choosing an influencer simply because they have a large following won’t cut it. If the influencer doesn’t align with the brand’s ethos and values, it’s more than likely just going to confuse consumers rather than interest them. Secondly, I examined the
credibility of influencers, and the factors that increase this in the eyes of
consumers. Previous research suggested there were three factors which affected
credibility – trustworthiness, attractiveness and expertise. I asked participants
to rate which factor they perceived to impact the influencers credibility the
most. Expertise came out on top, followed by the attractiveness of the individual
and finally their trustworthiness. Participants also revealed that the factors affecting their views
were also topic sensitive. For example, expertise tended to be the most
important factor that alluded to the influencer’s credibility among
participants who used Instagram for cooking, travelling or skin care, whilst
those who used Instagram for fashion, hair, and makeup inspiration (products
affecting physical appearance) were more likely to choose attractiveness as the
factor that equated to credibility.

Finally, I explored the “impact
on brand perception”, and what might happen if a brand works with an influencer
that isn’t “right” for them. My research revealed that most participants felt that
the use of an influencer they don’t like could deter them from shopping with
the brand, or at least tarnish their opinion of the brand. This demonstrates
the importance of creating a solid and well-thought out influencer campaign. My role at Richmond & Towers now allows me
to put these findings into practice, and I’m delighted that I’ve joined a team
that listens and uses the latest insights like these to recommend the right
strategy for clients. We also use our keen understanding of our clients’ brand
values and goals to select influencers who perfectly align with individual campaigns.

For example, for our skincare client Cetaphil
we’ve been working with dermatologists and keen skincare advocates to land the
message that it should be the brand of choice for Millennials. Likewise, for
our client Beyond the Box, we’ve worked with some of the UK’s highest profile
and most credible sustainability and lifestyle influencers to successfully promote
the benefits of cardboard to a mainstream audience, with some staggering
results and engagement rates well above industry norms.

If you’d like to learn more about how our
social and digital know how can help your brand, then drop us a line (a digital
one of course).

[1] Danesi,
M. (2015) Popular culture: Introductory perspectives. Rowman & Littlefield.

18th July | Katie Watson
R&T launches Brooklyn Pilsner to the masses

Brooklyn Brewery (part of Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company) is the beer brand that revolutionised the American craft beer scene, and is renowned for its premium, flavourful range of craft beers. But when it came to breaking into the premium world category with its crisp and refreshing new pilsner, it needed… Read more

9th May | Matt de Leon
R&T Helps Buildxact launch into UK market

If you’re in the construction industry, learn this name: Buildxact. If you haven’t heard of them yet, you will soon. And if you’re a small residential builder, knowing the name could transform your life and your business. Read more

26th April | Jessica Aldersley-Hey
A Whole New World?

As the world opens up again once more, and we try not to mention the dreaded C word, we’ve been getting back into the swing of things and hosting events IRL – much to journalists’ (and our!) delight. From sipping rum in Cuba to launching new whiskeys in Dublin and… Read more

Load more
See our latest work
Visit our portfolio
Read our latest news
Visit all latest news