How healthy living and a sober revolution are changing our weekly shop

With Burger King trialling a 0% meat ‘Impossible Whopper’ and Sainsbury’s ‘Taste of the Future’ line of food featuring crisps made from salmon skin, and a bottle of chocolate flavoured powder that forms a “complete meal” when mixed with water, it’s clear millennials have influenced the food and beverage industry: not only in what we consume but how we do our weekly food shop. I haven’t been inside a supermarket in months.

‘First we eat, then we do everything else.’ – M.F.K. Fisher, American food writer

Sainsbury’s isn’t the first to target millennials. Two years ago Marks and Spencer launched a stoneless avocado amid the avocado toast craze. Last year, Tesco started selling small wine bottles for those wanting to cut back on drinking. But recent reports show millennials aren’t just cutting down on their drinking; many are stopping all together.

Indeed, according to the Washington Post, millennials have sparked a sober revolution, with the number of alcohol drinkers in the world decreasing by nearly 5% since 2000*. Last winter saw alcohol-free Heineken at a Cardiff City football away match and mocktails have even made their way onto the menu at the Savoy’s American Bar – the oldest surviving cocktail bar in Britain.

Seedlip offers a range of distilled non-alcoholic spirits and recently received funding from Diageo, a top ten holding in City of London Investment Trust**, known more for its liquor brands: Johnnie Walker, Gordon’s and Smirnoff.

Drinking less alcohol can be linked to millennial trends for wellness and a healthy lifestyle, while trends like sustainability and less food waste are more linked to subscriptions like Gousto and HelloFresh, which send recipes and ingredients pre-measured to ensure zero food waste or over-shopping. Morrisons has recently launched ‘Eat Fresh’ – their version of the popular subscription service. A top ten holding in Schroder Income**, Morrisons is no stranger to changing tides in how people shop for their food.

Morrisons is also the official partner on AmazonFresh, which has been available through Amazon PrimeNow since 2016. Amazon, a top ten holding in T. Rowe Price Global Focused Growth Equity**, is used to being the ‘disruptor’ company on the market. From their initial disruption of publishers and booksellers around the world with the Kindle, to taking on Netflix with PrimeVideo.

James Thomson of Rathbone Global Opportunities said it best, in our Investing on the go podcast; ‘it was one of the most hated technology companies in the world…they are the 800 pound gorilla in e-commerce and are rapidly expanding into adjacent markets such as grocery. So expect to see a big push into grocery over the next few years. Perhaps even Amazon supermarkets without tills.’

*Source: Washington Post, 27 June 2019.
**Fund factsheets, 31 May 2019

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