Why you should not shelve your next big idea.

Cooking is not something I enjoy to do nor am I good at it. I was lucky enough to marry someone who enjoys to cook and happily does so every night.

Like a lot of people, we seem to be eating classic, comforting meals during the pandemic. It’s like the security blanket you needed as a child in order to fall asleep. It works. Or should I say, it DID work.

As I sat down one night to eat a nice meal with my family, I was a little less than excited to see we were having meatloaf. Yup you read that right, MEATLOAF. Admittedly, I made a face and continued to whine to my husband about “how sick I am of eating this type of food” and how “I just want something different, to try something new!” To his defense, he added shredded mushrooms & carrots to spice it up but that got me thinking about “new.” “New things, new products, new food offerings.” Where has all of the innovation gone? Are companies willing to go out on the proverbial “shelf” during a crisis? Are consumers even willing to try something new at this point?

Food Navigator recently reported that while the COVID- 19 outbreak may have stalled new food & beverage launches and shelves have been restocked with more basic, traditional food items, investors are predicting a burst of innovation in the near future.

Why? Because just like me, consumers will get tired of the same old offerings if there isn’t something new on shelf. Further driving these points are the following observations from a survey done by Mattson, the food and beverage innovations group on the impact the corona virus has had on the Food & Beverage Industry.

  • Most food companies are still working on new products and concepts without interruption.
  • While selling your new product to manufacturers may be more of a challenge at this time, products that offer new benefits will take center stage.
  • With more people cooking at home and bonding with families over meals, half of CPG professionals feel the effects of this virus will have a positive impact on the industry.
  • The overwhelming feeling of being “locked-up” or having limited choices, will drive consumers to seek out more exciting, new options. The decision to lead with innovation will be a gamble for the retailers.
  • With many of the nostalgic, well-known brands being sold-out continuously on shelf, newer, emerging brands and products have benefited from this sell out.
  • With so many people losing their jobs, money is tight and stress levels are high. Consumers are not only looking for value but for foods made with cleaner, better-for-you ingredients.

So if you’re thinking about holding off on your next big idea or product innovation, consider that consumers are starting to push around the food on their plates, getting bored with the same old, same old. Now is a great time for smaller brands to offer us all something new, something with an added zip to put a smile on our faces. Just like my husband did with the meatloaf.