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May 14, 2020

SMEs will emerge from Covid-19 stronger, says UK challenger brand champion Young Foodies

London-based challenger brand organisation Young Foodies has predicted the post-Covid-19 future for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the food and drink space.

By Leonie Barrie

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the food and drink sectors will emerge from the Covid-19 crisis well-prepared to prosper, it has been suggested by an organisation that represents them.

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Theadora Alexander, co-founder of London-based Young Foodies, which operates as a network and a consultancy for around 1,100 food and drink SMEs, said although the current picture is “highly fragmented” and some smaller brands have lost self space as retailers have sought to keep the shops stocked with everyday items, she believes the future is rosy.

“We are working with individual brands to help them adapt their strategies,” Alexander said, but pointed out consumers are still buying “little luxuries” online.

“The good news for smaller brands is that consumer ethics and values feel stronger than ever and they are looking to support independent businesses and small traders,” she told the FUTR Live webcast today (14 May). “There is a huge opportunity for SMEs because they are more nimble and can move more quickly than their larger counterparts.”

Alexander described supermarkets prioritising larger, well-known brands as a “bit of a backward step” adding “there has been a huge shift in the last ten years away from the large blue-chip companies to new exciting businesses but the like of Kraft Heinz and Kellogg have had a resurgence.”

She suggested this was a combination of nostalgia and people wanting to stock up on core products.

“But retailers will still want to differentiate and the answer isn’t corn flakes,” Alexander insisted. “The long-term trends are local, authenticity and value.”

Alexander said Young Foodies has established an online marketplace called Mighty Small to give SME brands a platform from which to sell their products.

“A lot of smaller brands didn’t have a route to market,” she said. “These smarter, more centralised routes to market are starting to form.

“Shoppers are taking a more open mind about how they shop. In the last eight weeks we have seen changes that would have normally taken five years. That’s an amazing thing.”

Speaking at the same event, Preyash Thakrar, chief strategy officer at Walmart-owned UK supermarket chain Asda, said he believed shopping patterns that have emerged during the coronavirus crisis, such as online shopping, may well stick.

“The number of customers on our database has gone up by a third,” he said. “These trends are emerging through necessity.”

From the just-food archive, March 2020: Young Foodies founders Theadora Alexander and Chris Green on the challenges facing challenger brands – interview

From just-food’s Stateside Strategy column, May 2020: Don’t write off emerging brands amid Big Food’s Covid-19 bounce

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How is technology having an impact on Consumer buying behavior?

As the world rapidly becomes more connected, it is important for brands to understand the impact that improved technology is having on consumer purchasing behaviors. To react effectively, brands must know how to engage with increasingly digitally savvy consumers. GlobalData’s latest Trend Tracker report provides an analysis of Digital Lifestyles – one of GlobalData's top consumer trends for 2022. The report includes an overview of how digital lifestyles are evolving, including the significant impact that the COVID-19 pandemic had on accelerating digitalization, and how this trend is emerging across different Consumer sectors. Key features included in the report:
  • A breakdown of the trend’s prominence across sectors
  • Insights into consumer online penetration, preferred electronic devices and engagement
  • The key drivers and challenges impacting the digital lifestyles trend
  • A spotlight on key innovations set to reshape the consumer landscape
  • Analysis of what’s next for digital innovations and how brands can leverage the trend
Download this report to keep in touch with the more digital consumer.
by GlobalData
Enter your details here to receive your free Report.

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