Home Virto Commerce blog Food and Beverage eCommerce Trends that Shape the Industry In 2024 and Beyond

Food and Beverage eCommerce Trends that Shape the Industry In 2024 and Beyond

Jun 27, 2024 • 10 min

The food and beverage ecommerce sector has been relatively slow-paced pre 2020s, but the pandemic changed the F&B business paradigm forever. Online grocery and food shopping became the new norm for customers globally, driving the growth of CPG ecommerce.

However, with the growth comes higher competition for customer loyalty among F&B market players. Keeping up to date with the latest ecommerce food trends and effective strategies in the CPG industry becomes crucial for businesses to succeed. This is evident in both the B2C and B2B ecommerce sectors, with the boundaries becoming increasingly blurred in this segment.

As the B2B sector in the food industry expands in response to B2C demand, companies will need transformative solutions to outpace their competitors. Companies will win by having a robust B2B ecommerce platform designed for FMCG businesses. Based on our team’s deep expertise and decades of experience delivering tangible results for market giants like Heineken and Lavazza, Virto Commerce is excited to share with you the latest CPG ecommerce trends that will shape the industry in the future.

Impact of Covid-19 on CPG eCommerce Trends & Growth: Key Statistics and Insights

The global CPG food market, valued at $2 trillion in 2021, is projected to grow to $2.5 trillion by 2028. Within the CPG industry, the food and beverage segment became the largest by share, accounting for almost one-third of the consumer packaged goods market in 2022.

Global CPG in 2022: market share by segment

Global CPG in 2022: market share by segment.

It is safe to say that Covid-19 acted as a disruptive force that caused many businesses to go digital and offer online-first order and delivery options to their customers. CPG ecommerce was not an exception to this rule. Industry has seen remarkable growth in the post-Covid era, as the B2B ecommerce food and beverages market alone is expected to reach nearly $842 billion by 2031, with a CAGR of 15.9% from 2023 to 2031.

Although the effect of the global pandemic accelerated the digitalization of the alimentaire sector, the major tendencies towards F&B ecommerce growth were evident and predicted by leading experts long before the pandemic. More specifically, McKinsey’s 2015 research stated the main dominant factors that would drive change in consumer behavior and preferences over the 2020s.

5 Factors Affecting the Landscape of Food eCommerce In the Long Run

These are the main forces predicted by McKinsey to affect the future of the CPG commerce market through 2030. Let’s see how they were seen by the experts almost ten years ago and what can be added to their predictions today.

Changes in client portrait

2015 predictions for commerce

  • The ageing population
  • The middle class (and its purchasing power) is growing stronger
  • Millennials are taking over
  • The majority of the consuming population is urban
 

Post-Covid additions

  • ‘Chronically online’ Generation Z sets new standards for ecommerce
 
 

Geopolitics

2015 predictions for commerce

  • Labor & commodity costs are rising
  • Shift in economic power
  • Climate change
 

Post-Covid additions

  • Geopolitical turbulence adds new challenges to logistics & international commerce
 
 

Changes in personal consumption

2015 predictions for commerce

  • Convenience at the head of consumption
  • The rise of the sharing economy
  • High level of personalization & customization
  • Focus on health & wellness and buying local
 

Post-Covid additions

  • Post-Covid standards for convenience & efficiency
  • Influencer marketing
  • New types of P2P decentralized economies & payments options
 
 

Technological progress

2015 predictions for commerce

  • Mobile-first world
  • Big data, AI & VR
  • 3D printing
  • Advanced analytics for marketing
 

Post-Covid additions

  • The rise of social media online shopping & M-commerce
  • Stricter legislation towards user privacy on the internet
 
 

Industry shifts

2015 predictions for commerce

  • DTC models
  • Shareholder activism
 

Post-Covid additions

  • Omnichannel experiences
 

As we can see, most of the game-changing consumer behavior factors predicted by McKinsey in 2015 match the reality we live in today. However, the influence of the global pandemic has accelerated the digitalization of the CPG commerce sector. Post-pandemic disruption of consumer behavior led to the increasing reliance on convenience and personalization that ecommerce presents.

Moreover, the next generation of digitally native younger consumers is setting new standards for CPG ecommerce. Generation Z consumption habits and purchasing decisions are likewise characterized by climate change awareness and alignment of a brand’s values with their own—particularly those relating to sustainability and diversity.

Bearing that in mind, let’s look at the current food ecommerce trends that shape 2024 CPG business operations and prove to dominate the market for the years to come. As the B2B sector in the food industry responds to B2C demand, these ecommerce food trends act universally across the board and aim to assist F&B ecommerce pros in making informed decisions.

Tackle all your FMCG ecommerce challenges with one powerful platform

Making your customer happier

Trend 1. Facilitating convenience and speed

When selling perishable goods such as food and drinks, CPG ecommerce businesses must prioritize fast shipping and convenient delivery options for their customers, including same-day delivery or click-and-collect pickup for the B2C sector. Modern customers expect the utmost quality not just from the product itself but from the delivery service. The same goes for B2B clients—a delivery timing option is a must. Making this experience as smooth as possible can earn customer loyalty.

Trend 2. Elevating CX by prioritizing UX

The first impression plays a great role not only in personal communications. Poor interfaces and slow website speed directly affect a company’s performance, sales, and revenue. Nearly 70% of consumers say that page speed affects their willingness to buy from an ecommerce business.

In a nutshell, better UX means your food and drink ecommerce website will rank higher in search results, which subsequently increases the chances of customers finding your business. So, investing in your website and its content equally matters for B2C and B2B fast-moving consumer goods segments.

UX example: Lavazza by Bluespresso

UX example: Lavazza by Bluespresso.

Knowing your customer the best

Trend 3. Focusing on personalization & customization

The food and beverage sector is fundamentally based on people’s personal consumption preferences and health. Food and drinks, in general, are considered one of the most subjective experiences clients can have. So, this trend has a wide implementation potential, and here are just a few examples of how it can be applied in the CPG ecommerce industry.

Food retailers can personalize customer’s experiences to foster deeper long-term relationships with them via individualized intelligent product recommendations, happy birthday communications & discounts, or adding user-generated content across their marketing funnels.

Another great example of how an F&B brand can offer a personalized experience lies in the next ecommerce food trend.

Trend 4. Providing subscription models

Modern customers want flexibility in payment options, and the subscription model for food and beverage products can offer that. It removes the hustle of recurring manual purchasing and incentivizes user commitment with discounts for regular subscription purchases. Plus, the subscription model in the food industry has a great personalization potential based on customer’s eating habits and preferences.

Subscription models for fresh-food meal kit delivery in the U.S. alone can generate sales for over $10 billion by 2024.

Hello Fresh personalized subscription model example

Hello Fresh personalized subscription model example.

A B2B food ecommerce sector uses a subscription model to attract and retain high-value customers (restaurants, hotels, and other businesses) just as much as a B2C one.

Speaking about flexibility in payment options leads us to the next hot trend in the F&B ecommerce sector.

Trend 5. Offering Innovative payment options

Younger consumers, particularly Gen Z, strive for flexibility in payment options. Soon, this type of shoppers is expecting ‘buy now, pay later’ (BNPL) to be a regular offering from food and beverage services. Two out of five millennials likewise are very interested in BNPL implemented in a checkout.

The rise of decentralized finance in recent years also affects customers' expectations towards payment options—cryptocurrencies and stablecoins are joining their traditional counterparts in F&B businesses. Although this may not be the trend for every CPG ecommerce business today, it is an interesting adoption trend to explore.

Trend 6. Incorporating DTC model

The direct-to-consumer (DTC or D2C) model in the food and beverage industry differs from B2C and B2B marketplaces. Technically, every D2C business is B2C, but not every B2C brand is D2C. Food ecommerce companies adopt the DTC model to understand their clients better and acquire customer data ​​to optimize their operations and marketing strategies.

Many SMEs in the CPG sector will shift towards direct-to-consumer sales to combat the risks posed by disruptive competitors. Find out more about the ecommerce DTC, its benefits and challenges for businesses in our blog.

Acting, not just talking

Trend 7. Having a clear brand story

Like many other ecommerce food trends we have discussed in this article, this trend centers around customers becoming more aware and meaningful in their interactions with ecommerce brands.

B2C and B2B buyers make purchasing decisions differently: emotions drive B2C sales, and logic drives B2B sales. However, buyers in each model expect emotional reward and quality from brands they commit to purchasing from. In fact, storytelling and consistent narrative add value to the product and can boost conversion rates by 30%. Even in B2B marketing, an astonishing 62% of marketing specialists prioritize storytelling as an effective content marketing tool.

Trend 8. Committing to transparency & sustainability

As we mentioned earlier, Generation Z shoppers, in particular, want to support socially responsible brands. These customers are more inclined to stay with food ecommerce brands that meet the ESG agenda, brands that are transparent with their ingredients and nutrition labeling and are sustainable in their practices, production, packaging, and supply chain.

According to Boston Consulting Group, out of 15 product categories, the food category is one where such concerns are among the strongest.

Most importantly, food ecommerce businesses should not slide into greenwashing in their marketing strategies. It is best to keep it genuine than seriously harm your brand with false premises.

Being ‘everything everywhere all at once’

Trend 9. Utilizing omnichannel marketing

Most CPG ecommerce consumers are now omnichannel, and B2C and B2B marketers should embrace that. Online shopping for customers today is not limited to just one communication channel with the brand. Accommodating those needs for omnichannel personalized experience should become a priority for CPG suppliers.

F&B ecommerce businesses need a flexible, scalable infrastructure with an integrated online selling platform to meet complex B2B expectations. Such a platform must offer a range of options, from self-service to full-service sales, including hybrid models. A robust B2B ecommerce platform with a strong CRM system is essential to address these diverse needs.

Learn more about the omnichannel presence and other B2B ecommerce trends in our blog.

Trend 10. Investing in ecommerce automated systems

Last but not least, companies in the F&B sector should embrace the long-term trend of automation, both physical and digital, as it will only grow during the next few years.

The majority of pain points experienced by food ecommerce sellers revolve around inventory management of perishable goods, complex logistics, transportation and storage, and regulatory compliance. Hiring more people will not necessarily help address these ‘bottleneck’ challenges, but investing in a robust ecommerce management platform can. In the B2B sector, choosing a perfect ecommerce platform to manage your operations might be difficult. That is why we compiled a comprehensive guide on selecting the most suitable B2B ecommerce platform for your business.

As you can see, these 2024 ecommerce food trends can serve as a strategic action plan for your business in the years to come. Now, let’s look at the future of the food and drink ecommerce sector in the span of ten years and more and discuss the emerging technologies that may act as disruptive forces for the entire industry.

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The Future of Food eCommerce: Emerging Technologies Disrupting the Market

Innovative technologies and data analytics will continue to evolve and play a crucial role in the food and beverage industry in the next decade. With a greater focus on environmental sustainability, the market is set to experience a surge in emerging food tech innovations from production to distribution to consumption:

  • 3D printing for personalization of food products
  • AI and ML solutions for waste reduction and food production optimization
  • The rise of plant-based protein alternatives
  • Agricultural robotics and automation

The development of such technologies is a timely and costly endeavor. Not every CPG company will be able to keep up with the costs of innovation, total cost of ownership and adapt to changes. Moreover, these technological advancements act as disruptive forces for the industry, raising ethical concerns among customers and businesses regarding, among others, the labor market and data protection.

The future of food technologies is challenging but exciting for companies that are able to adapt and meet consumers' needs.

Conclusion

The food and beverage ecommerce industry is rapidly growing, adapting to the changing needs of its customers. Covid-19 accelerated the digital transformation of the CPG sector, making online food and grocery shopping a standard practice for many consumers and businesses.

In the last five years, we have seen a major shift in client portrait, welcoming a new generation of food ecommerce customers who want to connect with a brand in a deeper and more meaningful way. The product itself is no longer the sole indicator of a company's competitive advantage. The modern consumer wants to support brands that are transparent and socially responsible.

While the boundaries between B2C and B2B sectors in the F&B ecommerce space are becoming more blurred, ecommerce food trends driving the industry act universally, affecting how businesses in both sectors operate and compete. It means companies on both spectrums will have to look out for new ways to innovate, communicate with their customers effectively through multiple channels, personalize their offerings, and make the overall experience of their clients convenient and fast.

If you want to discover more ways Virto Commerce helps F&B enterprises succeed, check our cases with Heineken and Lavazza by Bluespresso. You can also schedule a free consultation with our digital experts to discuss how we can assist your ecommerce business.

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