Trend Perspectives by Cynthia Maxwell

When you think about some of the positive shopping aspects that resulted from the challenges of 2020 & 2021, curbside delivery and grocery delivery efficiency might come to mind. Retailers have pulled out the stops, making it easier to get in-store goods to consumer's doorsteps. An increase in direct-to-consumer (D2C) e-commerce for food and beverage purchases is also happening due to consumer’s avoiding in-store shopping and increased demand.

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The D2C increase paved the way for a slew of new online food and beverage companies. The increase also influenced existing food and beverage retailers to offer more straightforward ways to navigate e-commerce platforms. Food industry giants like Nestle, Pepsi, and Kraft Heinz acknowledged the increase and have entered into collaborations with D2C e-commerce players. Food and beverage data experts agree that D2C will continue to grow even after crisis mode subsides. Consumers have new shopping habits, new product interests, and they are open to the new ways that products are packaged and delivered.

As 2020 has not been anyone’s favorite year by far, the effects are opening new doors for new business and new ways of thinking. Here are some developments in D2C e-commerce that will continue to grow and excite consumers.

Meal Kit Evolution

More than 51% of consumers surveyed said they would continue to cook at home when the crisis ends. However, after a year of us all becoming "at home chefs", trying everything from bread baking to the art of the food board, consumers are becoming a little tired of recipe following and the major clean up! Enter restaurant meal kits. Taco kits, The Thanksgiving Meal kit, Burger kits, even fancy dinners for two, including the alcohol. Everything is already pre-prepared and easy to cook. Restaurants are also upping their game when it comes to delivery and curbside pickup. Restaurant subscription services could be a thing of the future.

If consumers are looking for regional restaurant favorites, they can try goldbelly.com:"EMPOWERING SMALL SHOPS AND RESTAURANTS SHIPPING NATIONWIDE". The site brings some unique regional creations right to the consumer's kitchen. Barbeque from Texas, Pizza from New York, and so many desserts it's overwhelming in a good way! Goldbelly has categories to shop by, including Super Bowl and Valentines. Guy Fieri's BBQ Trash Can Nachos and the Vegan Pizza Sampler from Bonci Pizza out of Chicago, IL, are included under Super Bowl Feasts. Top Chef kits from famous restaurants like Momofoku and Gramercy Tavern are options as well. Restaurant creations take the prep time and some of the clean-up out of the creative mealtime equation.

RELATED: Road Trips Were the Travel Trend of 2020 Introducing New Food and Snacking

Bundle & Variety offerings

D2C beverage and food companies have created exciting ways for consumers to try different varieties of their product without purchasing a six-pack plus one like most supermarkets and warehouse conglomerates sell them. Variety and sampler packs are increasing in popularity because consumers like choices.

The locally owned, sustainable wine company, The Uncommon Wine of England, sells a two flavor pack of their white and rose' wines by the can. Aloha food bars offer a best seller pack and sampler pack and apply a discount to bundle various bars. Bundle and kit offerings are also a big deal in vitamins and supplements.

Health & Wellness Kits

The one box supplement detox kit is almost ancient in comparison to online health & wellness offerings. Sakara.com offers a detox meal program designed by a functional medicine doctor. The Level II: Detox program includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner for five days and medical detox supplements, digestive teas, a dry brush, and daily support from a team of certified health coaches. The company also offers a weekly Signature Meal Plan as well as a meal plan designed for brides to "Be Your Best Self on Your Big Day." These meal plans/kits are setting a precedence for more meals tailored around individualized dietary needs. Suppliers who collaborate with D2C food beverage companies will have to consider more than just the standard recommended daily dietary suggestions.

These innovative D2C food and beverage trends are just starting the dynamic growth we will continue to see in the D2C food and beverage. The experts agree that this movement continues to impact new ways consumers will eat and create opportunities for food and beverage retailers.

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