Coca-Cola unveil a new bottle size for the first time in a decade in response to growing consumer demand for something “a little more easy to consume”.

Coca-Cola's new bottle is made from 100% recycled plastic material, hoping to tempt back younger consumers who closely consider brands’ sustainability credentials before making a purchase.

The launch is a clear example of how brands can straddle the twin – and yet often contradictory – drivers of purchase decisions: convenience and sustainability. It remains to be seen if consumers will respond positively to the new product from Coca-Cola, with the product beginning to roll out in select states this month.

This tension was identified by FutureBrand Milan in its Future of Food report, launched earlier this year. The report unpicks the trends taking place in the food & beverage sector, helping brands collect and interpret the increasingly complex and fragmented signals that consumers put out.

In the second chapter of the report – titled The Ethical Dilemma – FutureBrand observed that growing consumer care over purchase decisions was not only in terms of personal health and wellbeing but that of the planet as well. However, despite self-identifying sustainability as a key driver of decision-making, market research reveals that convenience is actually the number one driver in the food and beverage sector.

So, how can brands cater to both of these needs? FutureBrand Milan has pinpointed four key sub-trends to be aware of and brands that are already leading the way forward.

Good and smart

Despite being at home and in lockdown, many members of the public are still struggling to find time to cook healthy and nutritious meals for themselves and their families. As a result, they are looking for meals which are easily accessible, healthy and quick to prepare.

Brands such as UK-based Daily Harvest have enjoyed great success by offering easy-to-order ready-made soups, oats and smoothies delivered directly to the home or office. By partnering with local farmers and – in their own words – “locking in peak-season goodness and nutrients”, the brand implicitly reinforces its sustainability credentials.

Better together

The lockdown period confirmed the success of meal delivery and takeaway services, both of which saw an unprecedented boom in business. Peer-to-peer platform JoyRun is taking the impersonal experience of receiving a meal from a delivery driver and turning it on its head.

The brand makes the delivery process more affordable and efficient by showing buyer's activity in a local area and enabling users to place an order on someone else’s run. The runners themselves are also able to earn money for picking up deliveries. Such a service can be a powerful local resource, enabling members of the community to carry on enjoying convivial meals at home, whilst benefiting those around them.

Nothing goes to waste

Despite being put on hold by the pandemic, sustainability still remains a long-term objective for brands. Every new product launch represents a test bench for alternative ways of boosting sustainability.

Barnana, a Latin American snack brand, offers a range of snacks made from a premium mix of upcycled bananas (imperfect bananas that would otherwise go to waste), mangoes and goldenberries. In addition to being a creative use of food that would otherwise have gone to waste, the snacks are dehydrated and therefore healthier than convenience food which is fried or cooked.

Good value and green

More than ever before, affordability and sustainability are two inextricable concepts: holistic well-being and smart services must go hand in hand. This is why several companies, such as Babaco or Gander, have developed solutions for consumers looking to avoid waste at the point of purchase. Both apps provide access to fruit and vegetables that would otherwise be discarded by supermarkets. Such solutions are a convenient way for consumers to be both environmentally conscious and keep an eye on the household budget.

Read the full Future of Food report here

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