Most relevant benefits in Ready to eat or drink products

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is unlike anything the world has ever experienced, and its spread is affecting consumer sentiment and purchase behavior globally. With most countries under restricted living due to the COVID-19 outbreak, consumers are stocking their pantries with plenty of shelf-stable products and a broad assortment of health products.
To understand what product claims consumers perceive as most relevant during COVID-19, BASES asked consumers all over the world to evaluate 21 different product claims commonly used for new food and beverage.
What do we know about the impact of the virus on consumer preference?
  • Consumers are prioritizing products with health defense benefits, particularly those that offer immunity benefits.  Not only did respondents prefer vitamin supplements during this time, but immune system benefits also resonated across markets. 
    • There were more mixed views on antibacterial/microbial inclusions—those benefits resonated well in several markets but less so in others.  
  • Consumers are prioritizing quality, natural products. These claims were consistently high across markets.  
  • Local, sustainable, and—to a lesser degreeorganic benefits aren’t as preferred right now. This isn’t to say that these aren’t important, nor were the patterns consistent across markets (particularly with organic, consumers in some countries are still making this a priority), but consumers are simply more interested in direct health claims. However, local company or brand elements could still have an advantage in this environment as consumers become concerned about products originating from countries where novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has spread. Learn more.
  • Packaging benefits and brand were less of a priority.  
    • Claims related to packaging (keeps fresh, keeps free from bacteria, sustainable, etc.) ranked lower in most markets.   
    • Similarly, the claim “is made by a brand I trust” ranked lower, but at the same time, consumers prioritized claims of high quality and made with high safety standards. This reflects a pattern BASES observed in the economic slowdown of 2008, where private label purchasing surged as a response to tighter wallets.      
  • Taste and Convenience are still one of the most important factors in most markets, particularly in Brazil, Germany, Japan, U.S., UK, South Korea, and Australia.




Consumers intend to spend more: After identifying how consumers prioritize food and beverage claims, we wanted to understand which benefits they are willing to pay more for. While their claimed willingness to pay extra varies across markets, consumers have told us they will pay more for products with natural ingredients, immune-boosting benefits, made out of high-quality ingredients and has overall health benefits. In Germany, Japan, Korea and the U.S., consumers are also willing to pay more to ensure great taste too. 




Consumers are changing where they shop: To understand shopping dynamics, we explored changes in the type of stores or outlets where shoppers are expecting to buy their food & beverages during COVID-19  compared against their normal outlet. Supermarkets remain the most visited channel when it comes to ready to eat and drink products, but limitations on leaving the home, as well as proximity and increased potential to find products in-stock, has shifted shopping more towards warehouse stores and traditional markets. E-commerce and direct-to-consumer channels are also expected to be shopped more frequently, but infrastructure and supply chain problems can inhibit their utility in some developing markets (where convenience stores will play a vital role supplying consumers with essentials).  




What should brands do?


Considering the way the COVID-19 crisis will impact not only the competitive landscape but also assortment in stores (learn more), it is a good opportunity to explore if some of the claims we've discussed are applicable to your food and beverage portfolio, as both consumers and retailers are open to products that will resonate in this environment. 

  • Focus on immunity-boosting benefits via nutrition and natural ingredients. Taste and safety standards continue to remain important as well. 
  • Deprioritize sustainability claims for now in your communication, but be prepared for these claims to be more relevant after the outbreak subsides.







Nielsen Quick Screen is a solution that provides overnight early-stage screening for brands with budgets of all sizes. Quick Screen uses consumer opinion to evaluate ideas, claims and other concepts elements on two key dimensions of your choice so you can determine which ones have the most potential for further development. Consumers also provide qualitative feedback on ideas to uncover areas of interest or issues and provide guidance for refinements.