2016 Food Trends Series: #5 Frictionless Capitalism

Consumers demand and will pay for speed and convenience.

Welcome back to the 6th installment of our 2016 Millennial Food Trends Series. As we introduced in week 1, the emergence of the Millennial Mindset® is starting to shape how all generations look at products being consumed today. With this in mind, our team read through piles of trends reports including Huffington Post, Food Navigator, Nation’s Restaurant News, Kantar, Fuse Marketing, Convenience Store Decisions, Mintel and many more to pull forward the trends worth paying attention to. It all leads to one extremely important insight: Brands and manufacturers must strive to have “sympathy,” which is deeper than just having “empathy.”

This week, we explore solutions that ease the lives of consumers through Frictionless Capitalism.

Think about the fact that the largest hotel owns no real estate (AirbnbTM), the largest transportation company owns zero cars (UberTM) and one of the largest retailers owns no brick-and-mortar storefronts (Amazon® – although that is changing for books).

Quick online ordering and delivery and services that will pick the right products for you are qualities that set many brands apart. Look for delivery services to emerge that get products and food to homes quicker like Amazon Prime®, Bite SquadTM, UberEATSTM, DoorDashTM, LishTM, MuncheryTM, GrubHubTM and Yelp-owned Eat 24TM. Many of these companies don’t produce anything, just facilitate recommendations or get products to the consumer faster. It’s curated commerce. Hyper-customized recommendations. Convenience defined by minutes or hours versus days.

Brands must look for opportunities to take the friction out of consumers’ lives. The trick is that many consumers cannot identify these frictions themselves. The magic of NetflixTM is that we didn’t even know we needed it until we realized it was there. Utilizing ethnographic research to seek out these frictions or monitor complaints consumers have with the current state and process of using products are two ways to begin developing solutions.


Brad is an expert in private label and challenger brand food marketing for Barkley, an integrated marketing and advertising agency. He specializes in working with manufacturing-driven food companies that have aspirations to develop a consumer insight-led strategies to help drive innovation and growth.

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