As we kick off 2024, we’re all looking for the trends that are most likely to impact them. What are the product trends likely to dominate different categories – from pet to beauty to F&B? And what types of brands are going to be most attractive to investors?
We turned to some experts in our SKUniverse to provide their insights.
Pet Trends: Carol Frank, Managing Director, BirdsEye Advisory Group
Last year, SKU ran its first track dedicated to brands in the pet industry – an industry projected to swell to over $500 billion by 2030, according to a report from Bloomberg Intelligence. SKU alums now include nine brands in the category: PrideBites, A Pup Above, Dog Threads, Springer Pets, Homescape Pets, D.R.E.A.M. Pet Co., Innovative Pet Lab, 5 Element Food Therapy and PUPSENTIALS.
To find out some of the hot ’24 trends in pet industry, we turned to SKU Petcare mentor Carol Frank, managing directory of BirdsEye Advisory Group, which delivers M&A advisory services to pet industry entrepreneurs, family-owned businesses and private equity firms.
A move away from kibble to alternative foods: Freeze-dried, raw/frozen, air-dried, gently cooked foods are significantly less processed than kibble. This follows the human trend of not eating foods that are ultra-processed. Products like SKU alum 🐶 A Pup Above‘s sous vide dog food should capitalize on that trend.
Travel – More pet owners are interested in taking their pets with them when they travel. And while it’s not a “trend”, I see one of the biggest issues that needs to be solved in the pet industry is how people with 20-plus pound dogs can fly with their animals. No one wants to put their beloved fur-babies in cargo, but currently there is no other option to travel with bigger dogs other than the limited number of charter flights. Companies that can provide solutions will have huge opportnities. SKU alum Springer dog water bottles are the ideal travel companion.
Functional/longevity/anti-aging for dogs: Over 90% of pet owners consider their pets to be a part of the family and they we want them to live as long as possible. Many dog owners are willing to pay big dollars to find a way to add even a few years to dogs relatively short lives. Companies like Innovative Pet Lab that are on the forefront of this rapidly-growing trend are catering to this potentially huge and profitable segment of the pet market. Other SKU alums Homescape Pets and 5 Element Food Therapy also are poised to benefit from this trend.
INvestor Trends: Brandon Neumann, VP, CAVU Consumer Partners
Heading into 2024, there are a multitude of CPG brand characteristics that are poised to resonate with investors who focus on the space. We turned to Brandon Neumann, vice president at CAVU Consumer Partners, which has invested in such disruptive brands as Vital Proteins, Kettle & Fire and Nulo.
Brands and Products That Can Demonstrate True Points of Differentiation: Following a proliferation of new entrants into the CPG space in recent years, brands that are best positioned for success are those that can best demonstrate how they stand out in their respective categories – whether through a product that brings a fresh new approach or a brand that stands out from the rest on shelf
Maintaining Sustainable Gross Margins: From early-stage to late-stage CPG brands, a common theme is the importance of maintaining a strong gross margin, which affords a brand the ability to invest in both marketing and the organization needed to support a scaling brand
Clear Path to Bottom Line Profitability: Another common thread heading into 2024 is a continued emphasis on driving forward profitability in the CPG space. Whether a brand is profitable today or are on their way to being so, it is important to demonstrate a clear and concise pathway to sustainable profitability ahead.
Consumer Trends: Marisa Bertha, SVP, LIquid Death
TikTok made me buy it”: We all know Gen Z uses TikTok as a search engine. I think that only expands more this year and across other demographics as well.
Strong margins: The industry saw many casualties (somes silent, some public), and I anticipate more to come in 2024. Margins must be solid or you shouldn’t be in business.
Hydration: This isn’t just because I work at a beverage company. Between new year’s resolutions to adopt healthier habits and the rising use of GLP-1 drugs (Ozempic, Wegovy, etc. ), hydration is coming up more and more. Staying hydrated is good for your health, and staying hydrated is a trend people can get behind and stick with.
Beauty Trends: Kelly St. John,
Beauty is one of the hottest consumer-product categories. We turned to SKU mentor Kelly St. John, founder of KSJ Collective, to provide insights into what to the trends that are likely to drive the category this year.
She noted a number of product trends, including:
The incorpation of more biotech into skincare products through unique patented ingredients.
A focus on multi-use products. “People don’t have time for a 10-step routine anymore.
The growth of the sexual wellness category.
Elevated bodycare; think skincare level ingredients for the body
Growth and focus on the Wellness Category: Consumers will continue to seek ways to incorporate wellness into their lifestyle. Some trends include:
Experiential healing alternatives in a spa-like space: These include such things as sound baths, red light therapies, cold plunge tubs and Infrared saunas.
Ingestible wellness: This goes beyond yesterday’s matcha teas as consumers turn more to Mother Nature as your medicine cabinet to target the root cause of what is ailing you. “There is healing in nature.
Herbs as non-alcoholic alternatives to “take the edge off” at the end of the day or when you’re in a celebratory mood. (Sober October, Dry January).
Non-traditional channels for beauty products: From florists to furniture stores to museums, a wider variety of venues will be stocking these high-margin products.