Acosta Offers a New Perspective on CPG Industry Trends to Watch in 2022

Company leadership expects sustained interest in eCommerce and increased reliance on automation to boost efficiency amid operational challenges

It has been nearly two years since the onset of COVID-19 and experts from Acosta — a global integrated sales and marketing services provider in the consumer-packaged goods (CPG) industry — are sharing a fresh perspective on the CPG outlook for 2022. Top predictions include a sustained preference for at-home dining, continuous changes to the in-store shopping experience, accelerated dining-out trends, retail innovations to support eCommerce, and ongoing operational challenges as the pandemic continues to evolve.

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Acosta leadership anticipates changes to in-store shopping, accelerated dining-out trends and an industry-wide focus on automation in the months to come.
Acosta leadership anticipates changes to in-store shopping, accelerated dining-out trends and an industry-wide focus on automation in the months to come.

“2021 was another year marked by COVID-19, which fueled changes to consumer shopping habits and sparked major industry shifts,” said Colin Stewart, Executive Vice President, Business Intelligence at Acosta. “With Acosta’s business insights staying on the pulse of the CPG industry throughout the pandemic, our leadership team reflected on what this means for both retailers and consumers in the new year. Pandemic-related challenges are certainly carrying over, and we expect consumers and retailers to continue adapting as obstacles arise. Automation will be a key focus industry-wide this year with retailers working to increase efficiency and ensure shopper loyalty.”

Here are Acosta Leadership’s Top CPG Trends to Watch in 2022, grouped into five categories:

Eating at Home Remains Purposeful

  • Consumers surveyed by Acosta between July and October 2021 reported eating more breakfast (26%), lunch (28%), dinner (37%) and snacks (20%) at home. Sixty percent reported eating healthy foods most or all of the time. Sixty-nine percent said product sustainability was an important consideration when making purchases.
    • Consumer emphasis on cooking and eating at home will continue.
    • There will be an ongoing focus on health, wellness and self-care
    • Awareness of environmental issues related to consumption will increase

In-Store Shopping Still the Norm, but Not the Same

  • Based on CPG market trends, current consumer demand, conversations with industry retailers and observations from the leadership team over the last year, Acosta anticipates the following:
    • Store safety measures are likely to stay in place indefinitely
    • Retailers are expected to emphasize product availability while navigating supply chain challenges
    • Retailers will continue embracing automation across the store
    • Amplified store experiences will be introduced to rebuild traffic

Resurgence in Food Away From Home

  • Eighty-five percent of consumers surveyed by Acosta in August 2021 said they recently had a drive-thru meal. Seventy-nine percent said they recently ordered carry-out and 75% said they recently dined in a restaurant.
    • Take-out, drive-thru and mobile ordering trends will continue accelerating
    • Limited menus, reduced capacity, longer wait times and higher prices will persist
    • There will be an increased emphasis on technology, including robot chefs and servers
    • Ghost kitchens will expand to help operators combat costs

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Online Grocery Shopping Here to Stay

  • Fifty percent of consumers surveyed by Acosta in October 2021 are online grocery shoppers, and just over half of those started online grocery shopping with the onset of COVID-19.
    • Consumers will continue forming online grocery shopping habits, now with an interest in hyper-delivery options
    • Retailers will embrace automation to win with omnichannel shoppers
    • Dark store growth will facilitate efficient and profitable delivery and pickup

Operational Challenges Linger

  • Based on CPG market and economic trends, conversations with industry retailers and observations from the leadership team over the last year, Acosta anticipates the following:
    • Experts agree supply chain issues will continue to disrupt production and delivery this year
    • Labor struggles will continue to plague retail and hospitality industries
    • Consumer goods prices are likely to remain high as inflation perseveres

Acosta’s top CPG industry predictions for 2022 were compiled by Acosta business leaders across North America and supported by analysis and custom research by Acosta Business Intelligence.