Navigating the Future: Key Insights from CAGNY 2024 on Overcoming Challenges and Driving Growth in the Consumer Industry

The CAGNY (Consumer Analyst Group of New York) held their 2024 conference last week. Running for five days, it brought together investors, the media and some of the world’s biggest Consumer businesses to talk about the future of their businesses and the industry. Below are some of the key themes we’ve picked out from the conference – if you’re grappling with these challenges or looking for support on capturing these challenges please get in touch:

1. Overcoming inflation and Supply Chain Challenges

  • Companies are addressing inflation and supply chain challenges through a mix of new ideas, smart pricing, and expanding into new markets.
  • ‘Price pack architecture’ is a key strategy, allowing companies like Hershey and Mondelez to adapt to changing consumer preferences and boost sales with products in different sizes and prices.

2. Innovation for Growth

  • Innovation is a central focus, with companies like WK Kellogg emphasising nutrition.
  • Mergers and acquisitions are being explored as a strategy to strengthen market presence and offer a wider range of products, demonstrating a strong desire for growth in the industry.
  • Developing innovation platforms is essential, aligning with consumer-centricity and incremental growth.

3. Meeting Consumer Needs for Value and Nutrition

  • Executives emphasise the significance of meeting consumer needs for value and nutrition, evident in strategies like General Mills’ ‘Accelerate strategy.’
  • Adapting to changes in demographics, treating pets like family, and leveraging technology to improve supply chains are part of General Mills’ approach.

4. Driving Core Brands and Portfolio Development

  • Companies are investing in core brands like Pringles and Reeses, focusing on global brands with increased marketing spend and expanded distribution.
  • Portfolio development involves reshaping for growth by divesting lower growth categories and investing in potential growth areas such as faster geographic markets and on-trend consumer product categories.

5. Capabilities for Growth

  • Companies are emphasising capabilities such as revenue growth management, further profitable development of E-commerce, and the application of new modeling and analytics.
  • The use of scale advantages by large global suppliers is highlighted, with procurement, category management, brand size, and analytical capabilities positioned as essential for success, especially against invigorated private label competition.
  • In summary, the industry is navigating challenges through a combination of strategic approaches, including portfolio development, brand focus, innovation, and leveraging scale advantages. This integrated strategy aims to drive real, profitable, and incremental sales in the face of inflationary pressures and heightened competition.

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