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FMCG trends to keep an eye on in 2019

Tuesday 29th January

With it being the new year, we are all asking ourselves what this year will look like: What changes will we make? What will this year bring? As well as making some promises on how we will improve ourselves, be better, be healthier… the list goes on!  The same applies as a media agency. When looking at 2019, we look at how we can improve and keep up with the biggest trends to help us and our clients because, let’s face it, sticking to past won’t get you anywhere!

Working across a few FMCG brands, we’ve found some of the major trends happening in 2019, and there a few things to be looking out for.

The health trend

By now, this whole health trend seems like a cliché. It’s true, it has been around for a while, but it doesn’t seem to be stopping in 2019. In fact, people are swapping more and more to Organic and Vegan FMCGs, while negative perception of high caloric food seems to be growing. Brands need to start reformulating products and recipes based on these trends, hopefully eliminating chemicals and artificial sweeteners. However, will that be enough? The answer is no, not really, as consumers are now beginning to expect that FMCG brands should also care for the environment rather than just for the single individual’s health. Some of these brands, including Sainsburys, have done this by taking part in the UK Plastic Pact with the aim of only selling 100% recyclable packaging by 2025. Aside from the packaging, brands are expected to be ethical, which includes finding ways to reduce food wastage and avoid using any ingredients harmful for the environment… So please, if you still are using it, just get rid of that palm oil!



Over the past few years there have been a few scandals regarding brands not labelling ingredients correctly. In fact, despite all of the improvements made in the market, in the UK 10 people a year die from allergic reactions to food that wasn’t clearly labelled. So beware FMCGs, watchdogs are hunting you more than ever before and will make sure you are providing the right information on the labels.


There are infinite discussions on what will happen to prices in 2019 and, unfortunately, what has been forecasted is not positive.  In fact, prices of raw goods are expected to do two main things in 2019: grow and become volatile. Would it be too obvious to say one of the main reasons is, of course, Brexit? I won’t go into the topic as we are already bombarded by news on it, but what’s important to note here is that a no deal Brexit could cause great harm to the prices of imported products. Without a deal, prices will be controlled by the World Trade Organisation. It is estimated that raw products may increase by 40% under these circumstances. Yet Brexit isn’t the only cause of the increase and fluctuations of prices. Strangely (or not), weather conditions also play an important role in increased prices. Harsh weather conditions have made it hard for some products to grow, particularly in warmer areas. Some of the products affected include Cocoa, Robusta coffee and palm oil.


Story Telling

What’s better than narrating a beautiful story to consumers? It makes brands relevant to the target audience and, hopefully, creates a special bond between the two. This is why, in 2019, consumers no longer just want a brand name, but want to know what’s the story behind it. Interestingly, the best strategy to do this is by using a media mix, rather than just focusing on one single medium. In fact, FMCGs using a media mix have seen an increased ROI of 1.2. Moreover, using traditional newspapers has shown to increase ROI by 3 times. So yes, it’s great to use some of the more modern media, including social and digital, but the truth is some of the oldest traditions remain the most successful.

Health, transparency, prices and story-telling are not all trends we are expecting in 2019, but what they teach us is that the market of FMCGs is an ever changing one. Brands need to keep an eye out for these trends and make changes in order to succeed in a very competitive environment. As we progress more into 2019, more trends and sudden changes may cause disruption in the market. It’s important for FMCGs to find ways to transform and adjust to these shifts in trends or, unfortunately, their beautiful story won’t be so beautiful after all.

Article Written by

Sarah Romani

Graduate, Total Media

Sarah is originally from Italy, even though she was born in Singapore and has spent most of her life in Switzerland. She moved to the UK to study at Goldsmiths University and is currently on the graduate program at Total Media, allowing her to work across different teams within the company.

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