Is the Pace of Launches Picking Up or Has Innovation Become the New Mantra for FMCG?

Is the Pace of Launches Picking Up or Has Innovation Become the New Mantra for FMCG?
Tapping into the growing sentiment on health and hygiene, in the six months period between March and August, FMCG companies had made an impressive 1,897 product launches in the health and hygiene portfolio.

By Manish aggarwal , Director, Bikano

29 Jan 2022 | 9 min read

Innovation and disruption are the keys to longevity and growth for any business. Innovation determines the ability to deliver superior value to the consumers and the society at large. Over the recent past, many FMCG companies have quickly adapted their business models, leveraged technology innovations, and also strengthened their digital capabilities to penetrate further into millennial households to create value, both for their business and the consumer. At the same time, the food FMCG companies are also making rapid introduction and launch of new and innovative products to the market drawing on the rising demand and growing conversation around health and hygiene. In other words, this frenetic pace of launches is an apt illustration of the FMCG companies adopting innovation as the new mantra.

New Product Launches in Astonishing Numbers

Tapping into the growing sentiment on health and hygiene, in the six months period between March and August, FMCG companies had made an impressive 1,897 product launches in the health and hygiene portfolio, according to an estimate by Nielsen. 

This was more than a staggering 18 times when compared against 102 launches in the previous six-month period until February 2020. In terms of particularly food-related products, 125 products were introduced in-home cooking segment during March-August 2020 in categories including ketchup/ sauces, jams, cheese, and milk powders. 

Not surprisingly, this product launch juggernaut had continued unabated through the later months too. In the April-September period, as many as 9,700 new products were launched by FMCG companies recording a jump of almost 35 percent compared to 7,200 launches in the same period last year, again based on estimates by Nielsen. 

Almost 37 percent of the value of these products came from the health and hygiene space. On average after the pandemic had struck, over 53 new consumer products have hit the market every day. Such numbers are a strong indicator of the FMCG industry successfully managing to thrive and not just survive.

READ MORE: How Innovation in the Retail Sector is Bridging the Gap Between Customers and Brands

The Proliferation of New Food Items Emblematic of Innovation

Keeping a pulse on the consumer and adeptly tracking their preferences in a largely altered consumer behavior landscape, the FMCG companies also known for their food-related offerings reconfigured their product portfolio. Not just in numbers, the launch of new ready-to-eat food items, immunity-boosters or health foods, fresh and organic foods was just what the consumers were looking for. 

At the same time, for several packaged food brands, their traditional Indian food and snack items, sweets, salted snacks and namkeens, masala-based savories and festive season-oriented gift packs continued to find favor with their patrons and food lovers and never really ‘lost their touch’ with the latter. As the packaged food companies periodically came up with brand new products with innovation being the underlying driving force behind their new offerings, the end-consumer had more than enough on his plate. With the consumer’s increased disposition towards branded food items as opposed to unbranded, loose, and unpackaged food, it has again been a buoyant outlook for food companies.

Shifting Consumer Preferences

As per a McKinsey report, the average household income in India is poised to grow from Rs 113,744 in 2005 to Rs 318,896 by 2025. Also, over the coming decade, the GDP of India is expected to overtake that of Britain. With high growth and rising per capita income, there is a change in consumer preferences that have further driven the growth for innovation. Greater diversification of products across the food categories and greater age- and gender-specific segmentation are notable factors resulting from companies innovating to meet the rising customer demands. 

Increasing Role of Digitization

Innovation has been a significant disruptor in the consumer goods sector as an increasing number of companies are looking to capitalize on the benefits of digitization to enhance functioning across departments be it marketing, sales, retail, supply chain management, or even HR. An insight into customer behavior, an understanding of preferences, and an analysis of the footfalls are some of the key elements FMCG companies depend on to improve their services and products. Digitization gives companies quick and easy access to valuable user data on a regular basis. This data can be considered as a minefield of information that when analyzed correctly can help organizations understand patterns of consumption and consumer behavior.

Also in the present age, almost all sectors have been forced to design coherent strategies for e-commerce. According to Nielsen, e-commerce's contribution to the total FMCG sales is expected to be around 11 percent by 2030. As a result, more and more companies in the FMCG sector are working to have an aggressive online presence, not only on major e-commerce websites but also have their own dedicated selling digital platforms. This trend is expected to further gain pace over the coming decade.

Conclusion

Today, the time-tested FMCG Distribution model is witnessing massive disruption, and this is likely to continue in the years to come considering what has happened in other emerging markets like Russia, Central Eastern Europe, SE Asia & China. On the demand side, plenty of new retail channels is emerging. There has also been the growth of modern trade in the last decade, e-commmerce/ online retail over the last 5 years, and now hyperlocal delivery models such as ‘Click & Collect’, etc. As shoppers move to an ‘Omni’ mode of shopping, FMCG companies will need to continue and enhance their innovation strategies to sell more and stand out amongst the competition.
 

Innovation and disruption are the keys to longevity and growth for any business. Innovation determines the ability to deliver superior value to the consumers and the society at large. Over the recent past, many FMCG companies have quickly adapted their business models, leveraged technology innovations, and also strengthened their digital capabilities to penetrate further into millennial households to create value, both for their business and the consumer. At the same time, the food FMCG companies are also making rapid introduction and launch of new and innovative products to the market drawing on the rising demand and growing conversation around health and hygiene. In other words, this frenetic pace of launches is an apt illustration of the FMCG companies adopting innovation as the new mantra.

New Product Launches in Astonishing Numbers

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