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All about trends: do I need to jump on-board to grow?

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A quick look around a grocery shop and you’ll find more high-protein products on the shelves than you can shake, well, a protein shaker at! Protein flapjacks, protein cereal, protein ice cream and protein chocolate bars abound and they don’t come cheap; a protein-enriched Snickers bar sells for around £2 compared to the standard, 70 pence bar.

When it comes to pharmaceutical, self-care, home and baby products, consumers are increasingly seeking out paraben-free, cruelty-free, sustainable, natural, non-synthetic products without colourants, fragrances or unnecessary ingredients you can’t pronounce!

You also couldn’t fail to miss the ‘plant-based’ and vegan products that have popped up on our shelves and in restaurants in recent years. Remember when Greggs launched its vegan sausage roll in early January 2019 and it “flew off the shelves” (according to the bakery company’s Chief Executive)? Perfect timing to coincide with Veganuary, which enjoyed its biggest year to-date in 2021 with almost 600,000 people signed up. The Vegan Society now lists over 49,000 products and services registered with its Vegan Trademark- there's no shortage of vegan products to choose from.

So, are these examples of retailers throwing themselves into the healthy-living, eco-friendly, vegan markets a sign that you need to jump on board and add your own trend-led products? Or can you stick to what you know works for you?

The answer is a bit more complicated than a simple yes or no (sorry!) and probably more ‘it depends’! Particularly if you’re a smaller retailer, you might not have the luxury of being able to quickly add a trend-led line to your offering and you can’t be all things to all people so, think about who you’re trying to appeal to and what you’re trying to sell.

For every person who prefers that their shoes are made from vegan leather or that their moisturiser is scent-free and made from all-natural products, there may be someone else who loves nothing more than the smell of a brand new pair of leather brogues or enjoys the long-lasting, perfumed smell of the new bubble bath they treated themselves to. Of course, many consumers will embrace new trend ranges but others might not give too much thought to the environmental or other impact of the product they’re treating themselves to. To each, their own.

It goes without saying that it’s important for your business to innovate and to move with the times, but that might not always mean jumping on the latest trend. Innovation could mean thinking about how you communicate with your customers, sourcing new stockists for your product, considering your packaging or finding a way of efficiently shaving a day off your delivery turnaround times.

Our advice? Whatever you do: find your niche, do it your way and do it well.