We’re entering a new phase in the cost-of-living crisis, reads a new report from a leading think tank (Resolution Foundation).

Where rising energy costs have dominated headlines so far, we are now seeing the focus shift more towards spiralling food prices. Some fresh food items have increased by 18.8% year on year for April. That could be an extra £1,000 a year that households need to spend.

How to respond to this challenge is the single biggest question for brands right now. Every new product, campaign or initiative must keep this challenge in mind.

Earlier this month, Kantar released its list of the top 10 NPDs of 2022, which provides some clues on how brands can respond. The list features launches such as Madri, Walkers Reduced Salt Crisps, Andrex Mega Toilet Tissues, and Heineken Silver. They were judged on their packaging, marketing campaigns and overall presentation.

Kantar Worldpanel’s head of insights Sam Hart offers some advice on how brands can stay innovative in the face of rising costs.

“Brands that can offer value to consumers without sacrificing quality are often seeing success and mitigating the pivot to private label. Additionally, brands need to communicate more effectively with consumers about the value they offer and be more transparent about their pricing,” he says.

Innovation must be honest and authentic. It must feel natural. Brands will know when they are on the right path with their innovation because it will feel like it “just makes sense". The expansion of dessert brand Creams into the convenience sector last month – one of our top stories below – is a great example of this.

Brands can’t just launch new ideas in a way that feels like it has come from nowhere. Now more than ever, it must answer the genuine needs of the trade and their shoppers. Ensuring that the story behind it is understood is essential for the success of innovation. And that’s where we come in.

Get in touch to find out how we can make your innovation stand out in trade media

Five key FMCG stories this month