Brand Innovators 2024 Outlook: CPG

Brand Innovators 2024 Outlook: CPG

Offering good value and healthy options, marketing to Gen Z and embracing AI are themes dominating the conversations among CPG brand marketers looking to 2024. 

Inflation is driving consumers to stay home and cook more and CPG advertisers will be vying for their attention. Retail media ad spend is predicted to grow 28.6% in 2024, reaching under $60 billion, per Business Insider.

Expect marketing messages that focus on affordability and healthy options in the new year. “The consumer search for value will continue next year,” says Bibie Wu, chief marketing officer at Del Monte Foods. “And health and wellness will never go away. Consumers want to find things that are good tasting, but also good for them. This idea of sustainability and brands with a purpose will continue to be strong. Gen Z are getting more purchasing power. This idea of choosing brands that stand for something more and bigger than just the product will be really important.”

Generative AI made a splash in 2023 and more marketers expect to put these tools into action in 2024. “As we look ahead to 2024, Generative AI will become an even more important tool in the marketing toolbox, shaping how we create content and connect with our audiences,” says Linda Bethea, head of marketing at Danone. “From enabling marketers to more accurately predict trends and changes in consumer behavior to improving the speed and cost by which we generate creative assets to driving media optimization, AI can be a real game changer. However, I also think that with increased usage comes increased risk. So I also expect to see the development of stronger infrastructure and guardrails to mitigate risks and enable ethical adoption of these tools.”

CPG brands are increasingly interested in Gen Z, as these consumers are moving into their own homes and cooking for themselves. CPG marketers will be looking to reach these audiences next year. “Over 40% of Gen Z are now cooking at home more regularly, rather than dining out,” Wu says. “They’re feeling proud that they’re heading up their own household. They’re not reading big cookbooks, they are going to places like TikTok for recipes.”

“A marketing trend I’ve been enjoying and expecting to grow further in 2024 is ‘stripped down’ content,” says Liz Caselli-Mechael, global head of digital content at Nestle. “The continued strength of TikTok as a culture driver is leading more and more brands to embrace a de-filtered touch and, accordingly, experiment with a higher volume of light-lift content to best understand what works. Production time is counted in days or hours, not weeks. While the rise of AI may, in some cases, drive a less human voice, brands’ social footprints will need a more human touch.”

PepsiCo is always looking at innovative ways to reach younger audiences. “To tap into Gen Z spending power, brands are going to lean heavily into digital-first executions that drive convenience and simplicity, but not at the expense of choice,” says Scott Finlow, chief marketing officer of PepsiCo Global Foodservice. “Addressing the growing needs for value with unique propositions and services will be key.” 

Expect to see CPG brands work with influencers to help introduce products to the market. “At PepsiCo, we’ve seen that partnering with authentic influencers creates new opportunities to meet consumers where they are, elevating our brands and our customers by creating unique content and experiences,” Finlow continues. “I also expect to see an uptick in products containing fewer added sugars and more sustainable packaging, two areas that PepsiCo is investing in as well.”

Diversity will remain an important factor in 2024, as CPG brands look to cultivate connections with a wide range of consumers.

“Next year, we predict that brands will continue to lean into fostering deep connections created by partners that represent a diverse variety of backgrounds and cultures. Younger audiences increasingly want to see themselves mirrored in these brand partnerships,” says Danielle Chandler, vice president, marketing at Reynolds. “With an eye on brand longevity, Reynolds understands that these generations are the future of today’s brands. The content that resonates most with young audiences places a priority on creativity and authenticity. We’ll continue to do this at Reynolds by partnering with influencers who show audiences how to use Reynolds in their own way, trusting our partners to let their personalities and cultures shine through.”