Premiumization Strategies in Food and Drinks: Fighting product commoditization through added value product positioning

The premiumization trend has been identified as starting in the 1970s in alcoholic drinks. It moved first into food and drinks that were associated with treating / indulgence and gifts, such as boxed chocolates. Throughout the latter part of the 1980s, the 1990s and into the 21st century, premiumization has continued apace, developing both horizontally, in terms of the number of categories in which it can be observed, and vertically, in terms of the tiers of premiumization that have been created.

It has been an appealing strategy for manufacturers, offering the possibility of avoiding discounting wars and building better profit margins. However recently it has become increasingly hard for manufacturers to carve out distinctive premium positionings as the markets have become more crowded, and many, but not all, premium products have been affected by the economic downturn.

This report identifies recent and current successful premiumization strategies and considers the impact that the economic downturn has had on the premium sectors of the food and drinks industry. It demonstrates how premiumization can be achieved and defended against the threats it also describes. It identifies the essential elements of success in premiumization and also looks more broadly to emerging consumer trends to consider where the new post-recession forms of premium may come from.

Key features of this report

• An examination of the factors that have enabled premiumization to grow in developed markets and a consideration of how far these will also hold true for developing markets.
• An analysis of the impact thus far of the recession on premium brands in developed markets and the post-recession prognosis.
• An analysis of premiumization in a mature market; the development of tiers or levels of premium, what happens to premium brands when the whole category shifts premium-ward;
• The main premiumization strategies employed – product based (including health, ingredients etc), distribution, packaging, production-based, with examples from around the globe.
• A model of consumer motivations. Why do people pay more for premium? Identification of intrinsic product-related motives and status-related motives. An exploration of the evolution of each; contrasting the motives of mature developed markets and the developing economies.
• An analysis of the main threats to maintaining a premium position and an identification of the tools and approaches that can make a strategy most defensible.
• Emerging consumer trends and the way in which these could be harnessed and applied in developing new premiumization strategies
• Case studies exploring the different routes manufacturers have successfully taken to carve out a premium position, based on ingredients or packaging, distribution, exclusivity etc.

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