Consumer behavior is changing, and the luxury segment is changing with it. Fast-moving premium consumers (FMPCs) who desire ease and convenience, but not at the expense of luxury or quality, are driving demand for upgraded food products and services from brands and retailers. FMPCs have a defined focus and expectations that need to be addressed — fit, healthy, and groomed products, but not in an overt or ostentatious way.

This is due to shifting perceptions of how premium consumers experience brands, both online and in-store. Now more than ever, the digital and physical experience must be connected — relying on consistent storytelling to pull consumers in the luxury brand’s direction.

For the food and beverage sector, whether consumers buy premium groceries from the gourmet market across the street or online through a delivery service like Amazon, brands must create unique and captivating experiences. For millennials who tend to experience brands first in a digital manner rather than in-store, brands are forced to rethink their positioning to stimulate the luxury buyer, putting the focus on an offer for personal value, rather than a shiny label.

READ: The New Luxury Codes: Four Ways Venerable Brands are Reinventing Their Allure

The Specialty Food Association defines specialty foods as a combination of some or all of the following qualities:

  • Uniqueness
  • Exotic origin
  • Particular processing
  • Design
  • Limited supply
  • Unusual application or use
  • Extraordinary packaging
  • Channel of distribution/sale

While consumers are definitely more informed due to advances in technology, knowledge is a valuable asset. Having a pulse on the new restaurants to eat at and new products to use is important to the FMPC. Knowledge isn’t the only motivation for buying premium products; consumers are also searching to fill the void of indulgence, and distinction they don’t otherwise experience with other products. This idea is driving the foodie culture. Rather than seeking health claims, premium consumers are looking for artisanal quality and craftsmanship when it comes to the food they eat and products they use.

READ: Sightings: 2015 Winter Fancy Food Show

To attract these savvy consumers who demand high quality items, brands and retailers are elevating to premium status — even routine or run-of-the-mill categories, ranging from frozen food and ready meals to everyday snacks and fast food.

In response to the premium movement in the food and beverage sector, Sara Jones, Creative Director at the Anthem office in Benelux designed this beautiful concept for premium brand Eternal Oceans:

Eternal Oceans

Environmental concerns are increasingly steering consumers’ spending habits. However, conveying a product’s sustainability credentials can be a challenge – particularly when it relates to packaging. Many brands rely on ethical icons or terms, but with 68% of US consumers stating they are confused by what certain icons mean (Mintel, July 2015), it seems new methods are necessary.

Fish stocks are at an all time low. Sustainable fishing is time consuming and costly. Mass producers of canned fish are unable to be 100% sustainable and so we are perpetuating the ever-diminishing population of fish. In 2015, 66% of consumers were willing to pay more for brands that show commitment to sustainability – up form 55% in 2014 and 50% in 2013, Nielsen (October 2015).

Eternal Oceans promotes sustainably caught fish through disruptive and desirable packaging design. The pack design uses the ring pull found on many cans and turns it into a brand asset. The whole can structure represents a beautiful silver fish with a ring pull tail which is both iconic and functional. Branding is simply embossed into the metal, which brings a look of purity and premium cues to the pack.

This concept recently won a Gold award in the 2016 Pentawards’ food category.

New luxury categories across the fast-moving consumer goods industries will place authenticity and quality about the brand over price. A premium product is based on purity, such a single-origin ingredients or brand positioning – particularly as resource scarcity means items that were once an everyday occurrence become the preserve of the wealthy.