10 food & beverage innovations transforming customer expectations in South & Central America!


It's heating up out there...

In South & Central America, food & beverage brands face a region-wide battle, and it's happening on all fronts. Massive food brands, restaurant chains and new startups are fighting to compete in convenience, value, quality, health benefits, transparency, social responsibility and MORE!


Hungry to see some innovations in food & beverage?

We're about to look at 10 of them ;)

Regular readers will know the secret at the heart of trend-driven innovation: for actionable foresight on what consumers will want next, stop watching customers and start watching innovations. That means new products, services, marketing campaigns, startups and business models.

In this Trend Briefing, we’re shining a light on food & beverage.

But it always pays to remember that innovations in one sector can heighten expectations across any and all verticals.

It doesn’t matter if you run a restaurant in Mexico City or a taxi startup in Bogotá. Or if you’re responsible for PR for a hotel chain, work in the public sector, or implement marketing strategies for an FMCG. ALL these examples will help shape and fuel the customer expectations that YOU will face next!

Let’s get going!


Before we dive in, a quick THANK YOU to the members of our spotting network, TW:IN. Our spotters send us local examples and insights from their markets – from Buenos Aires to Brasília to Bogotá – which we share with you. Not a member of TW:IN yet? Join the community and start sharing what YOU see!


10 expectation-raising innovations that should be on YOUR radar.



Limited-edition beer available to win via Twitter

One of the best ways to collect feedback from your target market and make fans feel appreciated? Reward them with an exclusive product in exchange for their thoughts.

In March 2016, Argentina-based beer brand Quilmes unveiled a campaign to promote a limited-edition product. ‘The Peanut Thingy’ was the realization of a humorous meme shared by fans of beer, which depicts a can of Quilmes with peanuts in the lid. Quilmes asked fans to share gifs expressing their love for the invention using the hashtag #ElCositoDelMani to receive one of the beers, which were not on sale in stores. The campaign received over 15,000 retweets and 34 million impressions.


Juan Valdez

Order ahead feature allows customers to skip the lines

In the END OF WAITING we talked about how time-pressed South & Central America consumers will value and frequent establishments that offer their services on the go. How can you speed up your processes and save customers a few extra, but priceless, minutes?

In June 2016, Juan Valdez announced plans to introduce mobile ordering at its flagship store in Bogotá. Using the free Plazez app, customers of the Colombia-based coffeehouse chain can order and pay for selected products in advance, then collect items at an arranged time. The app was developed in partnership with MasterCard.


El Poder del Consumidor

App ranks nutritional contents and suggests healthier alternatives

As the quest for BETTERMENT merges with technology, Latin American consumers increasingly expect instant information that helps them make healthy choices. This need becomes all the more urgent in Mexico, a country with some of the highest obesity rates in the world.

In June 2016, Mexico-based nonprofit El Poder del Consumidor released Semáforo Nutrimental, a free app that ranks food based upon nutrition. To decipher confusing food labels, consumers scan product barcodes via smartphone and receive easy to understand nutritional information. Semáforo Nutrimental’s database ranks sugar, fat and salt contents on a color-coded scale and suggests healthier options.


Zona Sul

Supermarket invites shoppers to dig up their own vegetables

Want to convey how fresh your offering is? Have shoppers get their hands dirty!

May 2016 saw Zona Sul unveil a promotion designed to help customers understand how fresh its vegetables are. The Brazilian supermarket’s Hortinha Fresca promotion saw special displays installed where shoppers could pick their own vegetables and herbs from the earth. Tools were provided so that customers could dig for their produce, with the promotion resulting in increased vegetable sales.


Tropical Soda

Soba brand launches online version of national card game

South & Central Americans are a proud group and they value their respective cultures. It has remained the case, since we first wrote about CELEBRATION NATION, that brands who find new ways to celebrate local traditions and lifestyles will be loved!

In March 2016, Ecuador-based soda brand Tropical launched a digital version of the country’s national card game Cuarenta. Cuarentazo, the free game, pairs contestants against one another on a dedicated website. In June 2016, the soda company hosted an in-person competition that featured some of the online game’s top competitors.


Food Biker Designer

Custom bikes created for mobile cafés

We encouraged brands to embrace the idea of mobile retail platforms in MOVING MERCHANTS. Latin American consumers are still thrilled by the winning combination of convenience and spontaneity: and when they see innovations such as this, they’ll expect every brand to start offering it!

March 2016 saw the launch of Puerto Rico-based custom bike company Food Bike Designer. The brand’s first bike is a coffee shop on wheels called Café Sobre Grecas. It operates on solar energy and all materials needed to brew and sell coffee are built in. Designed to be used as a business platform, the company stated that bikes can be tailor-made to support specific food or beverage producers.


Del Valle

App connects people looking for produce with growers who have extra stock

In DIGITAL TRUST, one of our TW:Premium trends for South & Central America, we look at the importance of trust in P2P platforms. Can your brand leverage or encourage these inter-consumer interactions to improve efficiency and reduce waste?

Available to download from June 2016, Farmsquare is a free mobile app connecting people with healthy food near them. Developed by Coca Cola-owned food brand Del Valle, the Brazilian app allows people to post information relating to fresh produce – fruit or vegetables for example – that they would like to donate to others looking for healthy food in their local area. Anyone from organic farmers to individuals with their own garden or growing space can offer produce, with the aim of eliminating surplus or waste.



Beer brand debuts commercial against domestic violence

(F)EMPOWERMENT brands support and encourage the women of South and Central America. Don’t just avoid gender stereotypes, step up and make your brand’s stance known!

In June 2016, Mexico-based Tecate (a brand that has previously been in trouble for sexist advertising) released an advertisement that tackles domestic violence. The commercial sees a local corner store close its shutter and shun a man who committed violence against his partner. Tecate published a manifesto on its website detailing its stance on gender violence and its plan to help create a safer environment for men and women. The movement is part of the brand’s campaign, A Mexico Without Violence Against Women



Backpack for kids doubles as a life jacket

In our trends for 2016, we highlighted SOS DESIGNED (available exclusively for TrendWatching’s TW:Premium clients) products. Brands that identify potential risks for consumers and design lifesaving solutions will be respected and remembered by all.

In April 2016, an attempt to reduce the high numbers of Colombian children drowning on their journey to school saw the introduction of a backpack which doubles as a life jacket. A partnership between the Colombian Red Cross Society and fruit snack brand Luki, the backpack has an interior liner to protect books, and CPR instructions stitched into the back. Suitable for children aged 5-12, the bag also contains a waterproof whistle, and has a handle to allow people to pull children onto boats in case of an emergency.


Zezé Biscuits

Lockers hold on-demand street balls

Latin America’s urban population is growing at a rate of 1.5% per year and is projected to account for 90% of the region’s population in the coming decades. In CITY CONNECTIONS, we talked about how urbanites will embrace brands that bring locals together and foster a sense of community.

In July 2016, Brazil-based cookie brand Zezé Biscuits introduced Bola de Rua, specialized street lockers that contain soccer balls, throughout neighborhoods in Brazil. Designed to promote physical activity and a sense of community, local children were given keys that unlocked the lockers and granted on-demand access to the free balls.


New customer expectations don't emerge out of the blue – it's all about evolution.


Spotting trends? It all starts with innovations...

The not-so-secret secret to spotting trends (including this one!). Stop watching customers, and start watching the innovations – products, services, campaigns – flooding into the market now. Draw lines between similar innovations, and interrogate them for the new customer expectations they're helping to create. There's much more on our end-to-end methodology in our book, Trend-Driven Innovation. So how do we process thousands of innovations we spot? It helps to have a Framework...


The Trend Framework

16 mega-trends that provide context and structure when tracking the evolution of consumerism.

You’ve just seen ten food and beverage innovations reshaping customer expectations in South & Central America. But the expectations those examples are helping create – and the trends that those expectations inform – don’t emerge out of the blue.

At TrendWatching, we view new innovations – and the expectations they fuel – through the lens of 16 mega-trends. These mega-trends are the big, slow-moving currents in the consumer arena and, when taken together, they form the Trend Framework: our complete picture of consumerism today and where it’s heading.

This Framework helps us make sense of what each innovation means. What trend(s) is this innovation riding? How will this innovation – and others like it – push those trends to evolve? What does this mean for customer expectations, and for brands?



Put these innovations in context...

Each of our mega-trends captures the evolution of an aspect of consumerism.

Via YOUNIVERSE, for example, we track the evolution of expectations around personalization. In INFOLUST, we look at the ongoing consumer quest for increasingly perfect information.

Looking at all the innovations we see – and the trends those innovations help us spot – through the lens of our 16 mega-trends means much greater context. And that means a much richer understanding on where the trend came from and where it’s heading next.

Clients of our TW:Premium Service have full access to our Trend Framework – but there’s nothing stopping you from developing your own!



It's time to start meeting some customer expectations!


New demands are headed your way...

From the above examples, you can see the trajectory towards convenient AND fresh and healthy food & beverage offerings shows no sign of slowing. At the same time, brands are raising expectations around social responsibility, inter-personal connection, consumer participation and even personal safety. All this is happening in South & Central America in one sector! Ask your team, are you keeping up?


Want to take it to the next level?

At our upcoming 2016 Trend Events in Singapore (sold out!), Sydney, Chicago, London and Amsterdam you'll hear about THE trends that will shape consumerism in 2017 and beyond. And hear from innovators in the field already putting those trends into action!


New expectations can come from anywhere!

Today, customer expectations cross geographical borders faster than ever. So why not broaden your (G)LOCAL trend sources and subscribe to our free Global, Asia and Africa Trend Briefings?