Migrating influence is expected to return as a vital trend post-COVID-19

Travel, the need for sustainable products, a high concern for health, and the ease of sharing information have exposed consumers globally to a variety of cultures for a number of years. In fact, prior to the pandemic, half of global consumers stated that being in a different country inspires them to try new flavors in food/drinks*. Although consumer behavior has changed since the COVID-19 outbreak – with many taking an interest in more local, familiar products – migrating influence is expected to resurface post-COVID-19, as the trend has previously played such an influential role in brand strategy and consumer product decisions, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

The company’s report, ‘TrendSights Analysis 2020: Migrating Influence’, shows examples of how manufacturers are influenced to use exotic and international ingredients between Eastern and Western cultures and emerging and developed markets; an obvious example being the proliferation of matcha, derived from green tea, which reached mainstream acclaim in the West thanks to its vibrant color and reported medicinal properties; consumers’ demand for variety, along with their openness to experimentation, will continue to drive migratory trends in the long-term.

Ramsey Baghdadi, Consumer Analyst at GlobalData, says: “Apart from travel, a main driver for the migrating influence trend is digitalization, as tech-focused Eastern markets have taken the spotlight to inform Western markets about brands across multiple industries. For example, Eastern quick service restaurants (QSRs) such as HeyTea have become global sensations in Western markets due to viral online exposure through social media and influencer channels to target users of online platforms, mostly younger generations.”

To complement this, the worldwide concern for health has caused manufacturers to look at other markets and seek international ingredients with strong health associations. This is especially prominent as a notable percentage of consumers (*37%) find knowing what food and drinks are healthy is confusing.

Baghdadi adds: “The concern for sustainability has also been a key driver for migrating influence. The ‘Greta Thunberg Effect’ has reached individuals worldwide, and the focus on reducing carbon emissions has become more relevant to consumer’s purchase decisions and manufacturers’ product strategy. In response to this, QSRs such as Leon in the UK are combining their new plant-based burgers with exotic ingredients such as chipotle to entice consumers and Leon recently reported it is selling more plant-based products than meat-based.”

There is a plethora of drivers effecting migrating influence including concerns for health, sustainability and social issues (such as global warming), that cause manufacturers to seek inspiration from other cultures and regions.

Source: *GlobalData’s 2019 Q3 consumer survey – global

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