Food and Beverage Wins for the 2018 World Cup

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In Mexico, the 2018 World Cup has a built-in audience with a strong preference for savoury snacks

KerryDigest Fast Facts:

  • About 80% of Mexican consumers will watch the World Cup in 2018.
  • Viewers will primarily tune-in from home.
  • Snacks—particularly savoury snacks—will be on the menu. Chips are predicted to be a crowd favorite.
  • New product launches timed around the 2018 World Cup will likely be met by consumer interest and openness.

In 2014 the World Cup attracted billions of television viewers, including a majority of Mexico’s residents. The month-long celebration reportedly led to spikes in the Mexican economy and in earnings reported by the Mexico Chamber of the Restaurant Industry and Seasoned Foods. The audience wasn’t only watching the games—they were eating their way through them.

This year’s event is predicted to be as big or bigger. To help food and beverage manufacturers serving Mexico prepare for the 2018 World Cup, Kerry performed a Mexico market study to better understand consumers and their anticipated purchasing and consumption habits. This upcoming sporting event is a prime opportunity to innovate and bring to market new products, if you know what consumers are craving.

Here are some highlights from our study “Spotlight on Mexico: Snacking Trend Predictions for the 2018 World Cup,” which drew from a survey of 829 men and women from around the country. (English and Spanish editions available.) As you gear up for the big event, happening June 14 through July 15, 2018, keep these consumer insights in mind.

Men are in the majority.
The love for fútbol/soccer may be universal, but in Mexico, men make up the biggest audience share. According to our Kerry Mexico research, 8 out of 10 Mexicans will follow this summer’s World Cup. Of these, a majority are men, people in the 26- to 35-year-old age range and people belonging to a high socioeconomic group in and around Mexico City. The 20% of the population who don’t plan to tune-in are primarily women and young people of low socioeconomic status living in the Pacific and North areas of the country.
The takeaway: Product launches and campaigns designed to appeal to men in their 20s and 30s living near Mexico City may fare best around the 2018 World Cup.

Most viewers watch from home.
Our research found that 7 out of 10 viewers plan to follow the World Cup games from their homes. The other 30% will watch from a restaurant or the house of a friend. As such, grocery stores and convenience outlets may expect to see an uptick in sales, thanks to consumers who plan to stay at home—and therefore eat at home—during the games. Grocers may want to stock up on best sellers and invest in game-themed promotions. In order to not miss out on sales, restaurants may want to consider shifting to a game-friendly takeout or delivery menu, offering foods that are easy to transport and possibly even increasing the availability of delivery staff. (Restaurants serving pizza may especially want to heed this advice, given the next point.)
The takeaway: Demand for foods that can be consumed at home will likely grow during the 2018 World Cup, so plan ordering, staffing and manufacturing accordingly.

Snacks are preferred.
Snacking and soccer go hand in hand: Consumers say they’re most likely to reach for snack foods over other types of food while watching the 2018 World Cup. This may be due in part to the timing of the games, which will be played in Russia and broadcast in Mexico between approximately 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Snacks are also the easiest type of food to prepare and eat—no need to chop, mix or even use utensils in many cases.

Of the people we surveyed, 60% said they would prefer to consume chips while watching the games and many noted they liked being able to add toppings or dips. Tastes mirror those of Americans during the National Football League’s Super Bowl, when U.S. consumers spent $278M and $224M on potato and tortilla chips, respectively, plus another $62M on avocados—likely for homemade guacamole. (Whether or not these game day snack habits originated north or south of the border is up for debate.)

Also anticipated to be extremely popular in living rooms around Mexico: Pizza, peanuts, popcorn and nachos, which, along with chips make up the top five snacks, according to consumer rankings. A full nine of the top 10 snacks were savoury, which indicates sweet snacks will take the back seat to savoury ones during the 2018 World Cup.
The takeaway: As you select foods to focus on, home in on savoury snack options, particularly chips or snacks that can be eaten with dips or toppings.

New and novel flavors are intriguing.
Mexican consumers generally know what they want to eat during the upcoming World Cup—snacks—but there’s still plenty of room for innovation. When we asked would-be viewers how open they were to trying new foods while watching the game, 8 out of 10 said they would be, whether it’s sampling a new flavor or testing out a whole new product. Many are also excited to try products that are branded in celebration of the 2018 World Cup—even if that means new packaging and no other product changes.

When mocking up new food offerings, you might be tempted to integrate unique flavors into your current product line, but there may be more to gain from finding new modes of delivery for tried and true flavor favorites from around Mexico. Flavor preferences vary some by sub-region in Mexico, but overall the top flavors trending right now—for the World Cup and in general—are:

  • Lemon Sauce
  • Jalapeño Cheese
  • Jalapeño Chili
  • Cheese
  • Valentina Sauce

The takeaway: Consumers will be curious to try new foods during the 2018 World Cup—to a point. Manufacturers may fare best when working within the fairly narrow boundaries of already popular flavors and preferred product types and by updating packaging to have a direct tie-in with the games.

To see more in-depth research from Mexico, including flavor preferences by sub-region and other popular snack foods, read our report, “Spotlight on Mexico: Snacking Trend Predictions for the 2018 World Cup.” To learn more about how we can help you innovate new products for distribution in Mexico, Latin America or another market, contact Kerry.

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