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Mary Lague6 min read

Macro Innovation Trends in CPG to Watch

The Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) sector is a multi-trillion-dollar industry that touches almost every aspect of our daily lives. It’s also one of the most dynamic industries, undergoing significant changes as market and consumer trends shape the industry landscape causing foundational shifts in how businesses operate, market, and deliver value to consumers. 

With evolving consumer expectations and technological advancements, understanding these macro trends and paradigm shifts isn't just a matter of staying updated; it's about gaining a competitive edge, foreseeing opportunities, and sidestepping potential pitfalls. 


  • The rise of e-commerce has disrupted traditional retail channels, leading to the proliferation of direct-to-consumer brands and online marketplaces. This shift in the way consumers shop has challenged CPG companies to rethink their distribution strategies and embrace digital transformation.
  • Additionally, changing demographics and social trends have influenced consumer behavior and expectations. Millennials and Gen Z consumers, who now make up a significant portion of the market, prioritize convenience, personalization, and sustainability.

  • At the same time, emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data, and the Internet of Things are reshaping the way CPG companies operate, from supply chain management to customer engagement.

By understanding and harnessing these trends, companies can position themselves for sustained growth and relevance in a rapidly changing marketplace. Join us as we delve into the key developments shaping the future of the CPG sector and explore the strategies that companies can employ to thrive in this new era.


Demographic Shifts Will Change Consumer Behavior

To anticipate the future of consumer goods, we must first understand the seismic demographic changes on the horizon and their profound implications. Let's dive into the demographic shifts setting the stage for the next chapter in consumer behavior.


The population is getting older, and more diverse

It’s predicted that by 2030 we’ll witness a tipping point where seniors (65+) will outnumber children, highlighting the pressing importance of an aging population. Meanwhile, the US is evolving into a more racially diverse society, pushing brands to emphasize inclusivity in both messaging and product offerings.


The first digital-native generations are coming of age

As Gen Z, the first genuine digital natives, matures, their collective income is projected to soar to $33 trillion. This generation seamlessly blends their online and offline worlds and places twice as much trust in influencers and community opinions over traditional brand messaging compared to older generations.


Growth of the side hustle - 2/3rds of Gen Z has a side gig​

The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well among Gen Z, with 62% engaged in side hustles. This dynamism is fueling the creator economy's rapid expansion, now estimated to be worth $100 billion and made up of more than 50 million people worldwide. With the plethora of digital tools at their disposal, the modern world presents a landscape where virtually anyone can become a recognizable brand.


Wellness and self-care is a top priority

The definition of 'wellness' is undergoing a transformative shift. Projected to be a $7 trillion global market, it's no longer limited to physical treatments or exercises. The pandemic-induced global reevaluation of values has expanded wellness focusing on mental health, social justice, environmental sustainability, urban design, and overarching public health. These drivers will shift consumer, policy, and healthcare spending in new directions.


Living sustainably is on the path to mainstream status

Today's consumers are informed and impassioned. They're not just buying products; they're investing in values. Sustainability is no longer a 'nice-to-have'. As environmental challenges mount, living sustainably is becoming a societal norm. Consumers are seeking products that align with this ethos, making it a driving force in the CPG sector. Brands that don't adapt to this reality risk obsolescence, while those that do stand to reap significant rewards.


Sustainability Is At a Tipping Point

In the fast-paced world of consumer goods, there's a whole ecosystem of factors shaping the game. It's not just about what's on the shelves; it's about the dynamic interplay of environmental, economic, and political forces that can make or break a brand's success. But here's the exciting part: these challenges are not roadblocks; they're stepping stones to innovation and growth.


We’re facing ingredient and resource scarcity

By 2025, a staggering 2/3rds of the global populace might struggle with water shortages. As demand for water, food, energy, and minerals grows, resources will thin out, driving soaring prices. Resource scarcity is a major issue, with companies facing increasing pressure to reduce their environmental impact and adopt more sustainable practices.


There’s growing pressure to eliminate plastic waste 

Europe remains at the forefront of climate action, with the US catching up. The Inflation Reduction Act, a historic milestone in US climate policy, pledges close to $400 billion over the next 10 years to drastically cut carbon footprints. By 2025, numerous countries aim to phase out single-use plastics, while supply chains worldwide are preparing to reduce carbon emissions in pursuit of the Net Zero targets.  Government pressure to eliminate plastic waste is driving companies to rethink their packaging and reduce their dependence on single-use plastics.


Climate change is disrupting supply chains 

From forest fires to floods, climate change is expected to make future disruptions of the global supply chains more common. Gartner predicts that by 2026, climate change impacts will cause three times as many supply chain disruptions because of labor shortages, compared with today. This poses major threats to the resiliency of supply chains and at a high cost to manufacturers. Inefficient supply chains will cost companies a staggering $800 billion in potential growth by 2027.


Data privacy vs. accessibility dilemma 

Data privacy and accessibility are becoming increasingly important, with consumers demanding greater control over their personal data.  Navigating data privacy while ensuring accessibility is a thrilling tightrope walk in the digital age. The decline of cookies is in full swing. Meanwhile, platforms like TikTok, Facebook, and other advertisement-driven entities face growing scrutiny regarding their data usage practices, reshaping the way ads are tailored and served.


Technology Is Growing Exponentially


Technologies such as artificial intelligence, supply chain automation, and digital commerce are driving the digital transformation of CPG and reinventing the consumer experience.


  • Brands are now harnessing the power of AI to forecast trends, optimize supply chains, create personalized consumer experiences, and most of all - automate on a grand scale.

  • In the face of global climate challenges, cleantech solutions are being integrated into CPG supply chains. Whether it's eco-friendly packaging or carbon footprint tracking, the emphasis is on sustainability.

  • As consumers become more health-conscious, tech-driven solutions—from wearable health monitors to AI-driven dietary advice—are becoming integral to the CPG landscape.

  • Gaming platforms are becoming the new social media. Brands are leveraging gaming platforms for interactive advertising, product placements, and engaging with a new cohort of digital-native consumers.

  • Connected devices are changing the way consumers interact with products. From smart household appliances to wearable tech that tailors health products to individual needs, IoT is creating a world where products and devices seamlessly converse.


This is an exciting era for the CPG sector. With ample VC backing and technology paving the way for unparalleled innovations, brands are able to create, disrupt, and redefine consumer experiences. In the near future, we can expect to see continued growth in these technologies, as well as the emergence of new ones. 


Excited about market changes? We sure are - pioneering technologies, demographic shifts, and an ever-evolving consumer landscape are offering endless opportunities for innovation.

Whether you're a brand eager to seize these newfound opportunities or an innovator with a disruptive vision, we're here to partner with you!

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Mary Lague

Mary is the VP of Research at Pilot44 and leads our research and insights group. She brings over a decade of market and consumer research expertise spanning business and product innovation. Known for her strategic insights and forward-thinking approach, Mary is dedicated to guiding brands toward successful innovation and sustainable growth. She is a seasoned advisor in helping global brands spot disruption and a trusted ally in navigating change.