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CPG in 2023: 3 Experts Highlight 3 Trends

Which emerging consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry trends are set to make waves this year?

Yes, inflation is still an issue. And, yes, staffing shortages persist. But what are some of the more nuanced developments—from those making a big splash to those making smaller industry ripples—that CPG companies should also look out for?

We asked three of our own Intellex experts to share the biggest trends they’re seeing in the CPG market as an industry insider. Their answers couldn’t be more different.

CPG trend #1: The rise of R&D 2.0

Research & development is a hot topic in CPG circles this year. And, as CPG expert Jim Reuther points out, the biggest R&D mistake he sees companies make is NOT investing in it wholeheartedly.

For years, big CPG brands have spent less than 2% of its net revenue on R&D. This level of investment certainly isn’t enough to stay ahead of, or even keep up with, changing consumer demand or needs.

R&D is especially important now because, while supply chain issues have worked themselves out, supply access issues have not.

Many of the materials used in CPG manufacturing when developing new products are in short supply and becoming harder to find. Without a dedicated effort to rethink and reinvent products and formulations, companies will be outpaced by competitors.

R&D is where innovation happens. Yes, it’s important to focus on current challenges like inflation and supply shortages. But, Jim would argue, it’s even more important to devote equal time to future-forward planning.

How? By borrowing solutions from other industries, embracing advanced technologies, getting serious about sustainability, and actively seeking the next big materials breakthrough to maintain product development for decades to come.

CPG trend #2: MoCRA is in full motion

The Modernization of Cosmetics Regulation Act of 2022 (MoCRA) is the first major FDA cosmetics-specific framework change since 1938. CPG consultant Geoff Waby points out that, for many cosmetics manufacturers, MoCRA compliance will create new operational hurdles—and new product opportunities.

The hurdles lie in creating processes and gathering information to satisfy regulatory requirements, the first of which hits on December 21, 2023. By this date, existing cosmetics manufacturing facilities must register with the FDA.

The registration site is not yet operational. Yet, there are steps you can take now to be ready. This includes having required registration information on hand (like contact names and numbers, label names and product categories, facility registration numbers, and more). It also includes being prepared to make label changes to reflect the addition of required names and numbers.

The opportunities lie in having a catalyst to support the production of safer products. Existing companies who already embrace safe manufacturing processes and formulations welcome MoCRA as a chance to weed out bad actors and counterfeiters who give the industry—and quality products—a bad name.

Interested in learning more about the specifics of the new MoCRA legislation? Take a look at our Q&A interview with Geoff, where he discusses the regulatory impact in greater detail and sheds light on what more it means for the industry this year.

CPG trend #3: Biosurfactants are having their moment

According to CPG consultant Randy Hill, just five years ago bio sourced surfactants were merely a gleam in the industry’s eye.

Today, we are close to the reality of making highly effective personal care, cosmetics, household, oil and gas, and agricultural products with them. In fact, the biosurfactants market is expected to grow to $6 billion in 2027.

This impending pivot to the use of entirely bio sourced surfactants, priced at competitive values, is an industry game changer. Consumers are increasingly demanding more sustainable product offerings.

Biosurfactants deliver. With a lower carbon footprint, products created using the latest biosurfactants can help CPG companies attain sustainability goals while appealing to their consumer base.

The biggest issue with embracing bio sourced surfactants in 2023 will come down to supply chain availability. Access will be highly competitive, and larger, vertically integrated CPG companies will have a distinct advantage in sourcing raw materials.

Harness the power of 3 for your CPG efforts

Inflation is pushing up costs of CPG products and impacting profits. Consumer behaviors are changing. The CPG landscape has significantly—and perhaps permanently—shifted.

This makes every incremental step toward innovation and product quality a meaningful one. It all comes down to investment—in redesign, reformulation, and restructuring. Today’s CPG companies must meet new regulatory requirements, support increased sustainability, and exceed operational goals.

Case in point: a leading snack brand needed to improve its formulation related to an almond coating, as well as improve its manufacturing process. It turned to Intellex and our CPG experts to achieve innovation in both arenas, ultimately improving quality and consistency. How did this sweet success happen? Get the full story here.

From the materials that comprise a product to the processes that create it, in 2023 companies must take a hard look at what is working and discard what is now in order to ensure success in 2024.Making this distinction, however, can be easier said than done. It helps to have the right people in your corner to ensure you’re able to meet industry challenges head on, and choose the best investments to successfully move your business forward. Learn more about how Intellex can support you in reaching your goals.

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