Hope In A Jar


The current mood in the trade is quite a strange mixture of emotions. It’s unlike anything I’ve seen in 20 years client side or for the last almost 10 years running HRA Global.  With the UK heading towards an uncharted Brexit and entering into a new chapter of UK/US relations there is a mixture of wariness and jitteriness about 2021. The immediate backdrop of course is also the gloom of Coronavirus and a shuttered foodservice channel. But in the distance, a vaccine for COVID, new future UK trade deals and a recalibration of relations with the EU are starting to become visible.

So, whilst there is a feeling from many of our clients that there are multiple fires round their business all needing to be put out, at the same time they can see profound growth opportunities in their categories. Within the food and drink space, meal kits are a probably one of the main examples, their evolution over the course of the Covid-era outlined in our article Are Meal Kits Back In The Big Time?

We’ve never been busier as a team and its helping support those clear client growth agenda’s that’s creating the demand.  Many clients are starting to trade themselves into a place where they can significantly rebuild battered balance sheets.

In the Beauty Industry, we Call Trust ‘Hope in a Jar’ – an apt Metaphor for This Moment

Hope in a jar is what we have as an industry. We dare to dream of an end to COVID, to finally stop talking about Brexit, of a rebooted foodservice channel with revitalised outlets serving refreshed menus. We look forward to a step change in both the sustainability of packaging and a renewed focus on both improving the provenance and the nutritional profile of food and drink.

Time and Time Again, I’m Drawn Back to the Theme of Trust

Ultimately, amidst all the uncertainty, trust is where it’s at for shoppers – they are all looking for hope in a jar. This search for certainty, meaning and proof is what drives shoppers across food, drink, health and beauty, whether the prime drivers are convenience, indulgence or luxury.

What’s Happening at HRA HQ?

As a team, we’ve been heads down over recent months getting on with the day job. There has been a huge variety of projects and categories. But what never gets old is the feeling right before a project debrief.
Whether it’s getting ready to present a distilled version of online focus groups, a category analysis, a value proposition for a new brand or an export strategy approach, I love that moment pre-meeting.

Lockdown and the ever-changing work-from-home/don’t work-from-home landscape of the current climate also presents us with opportunities to discover the benefits of online research techniques – online communities, for example. Read all about Why You Should Be Using Online Communities. From our side we try and anticipate all the questions we’ll be asked by clients but of course we can’t cover all the angles and that’s what keeps things fresh and challenging.

So, We’re Almost There With 2020…

The next few months will tell us whether our trust in the future is well founded or not and in the meantime, we’re doing our best to not add to the febrile feeling in the trade and instead keep our eyes (and those of our clients) on the opportunities ahead. At some stage – maybe by summer next year – COVID will be behind us and the likely category winners will be those that started to stretch for the opportunities and took calculated risks. Contact us today if you have any questions for myself or our team.

Until next month.

Hamish.

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