Following the recent launch of our new design for VeeTee, our Head of Strategy and Innovation, Gauthier Boche shares his views on the rice and noodle category.
‘The rice, pasta and noodle market is driven by fast-paced commoditisation. Any major product innovation quickly gets copied, so it’s a cat-and-mouse game between brands and retailers. Brands are fighting own-labels on two fronts – product and branding. Engaging, differentiated brands and culinary propositions are harder for retailers to copy and commoditise and help to justify their premium positioning. VeeTee, Kabuto and Itsu have successfully shaken things up and are weathering the own-label storm, with Itsu successfully extending its credentials from high-street chain to consumer brand. Heat-and-eat can now be healthy, authentic and tasty – and especially appealing to time-poor but food-savvy millennials, a key consumer target for this category.’
‘Where do you go next when you can already get a healthy meal in as little as two minutes? Convenience is pretty much expected in the rice and noodle category these days, so it’s losing traction as a distinctive value proposition. Brands need to evolve continually and create more exciting ‘experiences’ for their consumers – but without adding to the faff factor. Kabuto and Itsu, for example, have instant noodle lines, but they’ve elevated them from drab student fare and given them restaurant-style sophistication. The instant hot snacks market is seeing huge growth and posh pots are leading that drive. Other brands in the ethnic category help empower and educate consumers to cook at home while reducing the time is takes to prepare meals from scratch.’
‘There is a huge opportunity to create new formats and flavour variants to build credibility and encourage trial. Ramen-style, high-quality instant noodles have been a real game-changer – they appeal to people seeking authenticity and convenience. Innovation through structural design, created in parallel with graphics, creates desirable, memorable experiences that fulfil emerging consumer needs and tastes. As these brands encourage people to experiment more in the kitchen, there is also opportunity to extend their influence through the creation of branded/co-branded artefacts for the kitchen and home.’
View the full category report in The Grocer here:
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