Businesses are responding as consumers continue to change their preferences and pursue healthy, authentic and ethical products. As more and more consumers focus on healthy eating and sustainably sourced food, this has resulted in a large number of corporations focusing on assets with healthier attributes. The rise in the number of conscious consumers means that consumer’s buying decisions are affected by more than price. Consumers are showing preferences for green, ethically produced products which reflects their environmentally aware lifestyles. As a result of this, in 2018, 14% of all Consumer & Retail deals involved acquiring assets with elements considered healthy. Amongst these was PepsiCo’s acquisition of Soda Stream which was part of the company’s Beyond the Bottle strategy to form a more sustainable beverage company. The CEO of PepsiCo commented that together with Soda Stream the company can accelerate their progress on the shared goal of curbing plastic waste and building a more sustainable future.
Another notable acquisition following the healthier retail trend was Keurig Dr.Pepper’s acquisition of CORE nutrition; a nutrient enhanced bottled water business. CORE’s drinks are gluten-free, GMO- free and vegan. Their plastic bottles does not contain BPA. This move by both companies shows how beverage companies are interested in diversifying their portfolios beyond sugary drinks to appeal to a wider range of consumers. They are responding to consumer demand for more organic drinks without artificial ingredients. There is an increase in fast food chains expressing interest in plant-based meat such as burgers, chicken and sausages. Fast food chains such as Burger King have begun rolling out meatless Impossible Whopper in some of its locations in the U.S. Salad and Sandwich chain Pret-A-Manger is testing for vegetarian only location to appeal to the healthier consumer trend. In 2018, there was a 30% increase in the sales of alternative meats in comparison to the previous year.
With health and wellness on the rise, meeting consumer expectations is a key challenge for the food and beverage industry. Businesses realize the potential of this and are looking to capitalize on this consumer trend.