Hyperspecialization trend

Consumers are hungry for new experiences. We like to try something new, but most people like the safety of known products. This results in many flavors of our everyday products and that also goes for non-food. It may seem not so bad, but let me name a few examples you can find in your supermarket:  shampoo, yogurt, soup, exotic fruits and vegetables, wine, toilet paper, dog food, and of course the booming craft beers.

Shops saw this trend coming and smartly responded to it by picking a niche. It started with supermarkets that specialized in, for example, wine or craft beers. About a year later, the first bio-only supermarket chain became reality. Back then, these were really innovative concepts and barely anybody believed that a sustainable business could have such a narrow focus. Well, you know how much changed in the past few years.

Nowadays, there are stores built around just one product. One of the most typical examples is the peanut butter store. There actually are shops with hundreds of flavors of peanut butter. For webshops, this is a more common situation. This huge trend is most likely to last long term. As you could probably guess, we call it hyperspecialization. It is no longer a supermarket specialized in craft beer, but there are restaurants with only avocado dishes, shops with hundreds of whiskeys, online shops with every possible whey protein flavor, and no other products.

As a food innovator, my heart skips a beat whenever I come across any of these shops. I absolutely love the variety, flavors, and adventurous vibe. But unfortunately, there is a downside to this trend. Let’s be honest, the food waste from these products is way more than if there would only be one version of everything. This is due to the expiring date and storage.

Let’s say we own a small supermarket. For the last years, you only had one peanut butter product: the basic one. But we are aware of this amazing trend and respond to it by expanding the product range to 5 different kinds of peanut butter. Instead of one shelf ‘facing’, we now have to make room for five products. The number of people who will buy peanut butter will not increase very much, so you sell less of every product. That means that they will have to be on the shelves for a longer time. This increases the risk of getting close to the expiring date. Peanut butter has a long expiring date, but the more common products like fresh yogurt or sandwich spreads don’t.

I have to admit that I’m enjoying my bar of blonde chocolate with caramelized pecan while I am writing this article. But I see a huge opportunity. Especially for dairy products. Because imagine this: what if there were only basic dairy (or dairy replacement) products. No exciting flavors or anything added. And what if there were also add-on-flavor products on a natural basis. In that way, you could buy your favorite dairy product and add one of your favorite flavors at home!

So, If you happen to be searching for a dairy product business idea: you’re welcome. But make sure to let me know, I’ll be your first and greatest cheerleader!

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Article written by Marieke Schouten

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