These studies are presented by our teams during the Agro Export Days which are held from March 29 to April 2 (there is still time to register, here). Here is an exclusive look at what these surveys reveal through 2 questions we asked to our experts, Zoe Marniquet, Account Manager Sopexa Japan, and Elia Auchane, Senior Account Manager Sopexa USA.
Hello ladies, we are delighted to have an e-coffee with you and to allow our readers to know more about 2 interesting export markets for French companies, Japan and the U.S.A.
What are the 3 food trends to remember in your markets?
Elia Auchane : American consumers are definitely looking for health benefits. This is reflected, for example, in the increased consumption of organic products or products with specific benefits such as stress reduction, and drinks such as Hard Seltzers. Indeed, 70% of young Americans aged 22-24 are tempted by these lower-calorie alcoholic drinks. At the same time, we are seeing a very large consumption of snacks in the country. Snacking is a real lifestyle. We note that 90% of consumers eat a snack several times a day. At the same time, 44% are willing to pay more for “free” snacks, i.e. without GMO, coloring, artificial flavoring, or sugar for example. Snacks are popular but they prefer them to be healthier. Finally, I would say that the last trend to note is the American consumer’s quest for experience. They like to try ingredients from different cultures. They are 43% willing to try new flavors, and taste is the number one choice factor for 3 out of 4 Americans.
Zoe Marniquet : For me, I would say that our Japan study highlights the fact that consumers treat themselves by eating. Indeed, 56% of them consider that food can be more beneficial for skin and hair than cosmetics, and 38% of 18-24 year olds would pay more for products whose ingredients have positive effects on the skin. Another highlight of the study is the Japanese appetite for creativity and novelty. More than 30% of the food products launched in the last 5 years in Japan were limited editions compared to 4% in France over the same period. Lastly, the Japanese craze for Western products, which leads to a real change in their diet. The consumption of rice is a telling indicator, it has decreased by 50% in 50 years, leaving room for other products. For example, the big trend is western breakfast.
Consequently, what are the marketing levers or good communication practices that should be put in place in each of your markets?
Elia Auchane : In the United States, health is a major communication lever. We are seeing the emergence of new products such as the Brooklyn Biltong snack meat, which communicates on the daily protein intake throughout the day, or the Hu crackers, which proudly display on their packaging all the additives that they do not contain. In addition, the creation of unique experiences is a major asset. This experience can be achieved through culinary exploration. Consumers are looking for new flavors and new textures. For example, there are more and more drinks with nitrogen, which gives a soft and creamy texture to the products, a chemical component that was not very common a few years ago.
Zoe Marniquet : In Japan, we have to talk about products that care for the skin, so we have to work on the composition of these products and put it forward. In shops, for example, you can find Meiji yoghurts that help protect the skin against UV rays and retain its moisture while preventing skin dryness. Japanese consumers are also looking for creativity. This can be through new packaging, new recipes, or one-off recipes. For example, the world’s giants are playing the game with McDonald’s which offers its customers a pink bun burger with sakura mayonnaise sauce or Pierre Hermé which is introducing 15 new flavors in November 2020, some of which are available in limited edition. Finally, in general, the Japanese are becoming more westernized and their eating habits are no exception to the norm. They are turning more to imported products, so a major lever for success is to promote the origin of products and, moreover, the registered designations of origin and quality labels. Note that there is a real craze for French products in particular, which are experiencing an increase of 25% in export value between 2014 and 2019.