Taste continues to be a prerequisite for any product. Consumers demand choice across ever more beverage variants including different flavors, sizes and reduced sugar or calories.
Trust, says Hall, is a bond between the product and consumer. Beverages with added value can also set themselves apart from the crowd.
Hall will be speaking at Zenith International’s InnoBev Global Soft Drinks Congress, which will be held in Verona, Italy, on April 26-28.
Consumers want to be able to relate to the products they consume, and to trust the brands they are buying, said Hall.
“Not so long ago, that required safety, taste, convenience, price, performance and an emotional connection,” he told BeverageDaily.
“Today’s it’s also about social value and extra benefits. So new keywords are transparency, social responsibility, clean label, functionality and personalization.”
Trust is the connection between a product and the consumer. “The challenge is how best to nurture it. Sometimes that involves leading, sometimes following” continued Hall. “The threshold for trust is constantly rising.”
One of the best ways to resonate with consumers is to be as personal as possible, says Hall. Coca-Cola’s ‘Share a Coke’ campaign and PepsiCo’s emoji campaign are examples of how this can be done with labeling and packaging.
Personalized nutrition is an emerging theme, set to grow in the coming years.
The beverage industry is an exciting scene, with entrepreneurs bringing in lots of new ideas and new products. However, this also puts more pressure on brands to stand out from the rest.
“It’s so easy to come up with an idea today, start a business, find a contract packer, and sell online. So it’s an ultra-competitive world,” said Hall.
“Everyone is more cost-conscious, under more pressure, with margins and costs heavily squeezed, and needing to avoid commoditization.
“In my view, added value looks healthier, more natural, more personal, more functional, and more socially responsible.”
Added value could take the shape of new products, new flavors, special offers, rewarding loyalty, or charity initiatives. It also involves listening to what consumers want.
“Innovation is part of the conversation brands have with their consumers,” said Hall.
Other speakers at the 12th InnoBev Global Soft Drinks Congress include Coca-Cola HBC Italia, Froosh Smoothies and Europanel.
The event includes conference sessions with insights into markets and innovations, networking opportunities, and a plant tour hosted by Coca-Cola HBC Italia.
Speakers come from both large multinational companies and emerging brands, with the program including an ‘Entrepreneur Showcase’ where new products receive feedback from industry experts.