Cristina Araúz, Innovation Area Director

The constant evolution of society entails ever new ways of consuming, new habits, new requirements, new demands, new commitments and new challenges. Businesses and industries in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector are no strangers to these new realities and therefore must adapt to them. One of the major challenges, and a top priority to be incorporated, is the ability to keep an eye on the evolution of consumers’ demands and expectations.

Most of the multiple changes that consumers are experiencing can be categorised as environmental, social and economic. In the environmental field, awareness of everything related to climate change results in an active commitment by companies in relation to the implementation of the circular economy, and the increasing avoidance of single-use plastics.

In the social sphere, people are, individually, acquiring new power that makes them opinion leaders, information media and direct sources of information. This is, at least in part, due to social networks. This results in many loudspeakers all proclaiming healthy and responsible consumption and demanding companies that are committed to the health and well-being of people and the environment.

In terms of economics, the constant threat of new recessions and global crises is a barrier to decision-making. This barrier affects progress in environmental and social changes, the process of digital transformation, the implementation of electric vehicles in logistics and the incorporation of the costs of reducing carbon emissions throughout the supply chain. Without a doubt, overcoming this barrier whilst also avoiding a loss of competitiveness will require complex economic management.

The United Nations World Organization oversees the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These objectives highlight the need for collaboration and cooperation, both public and private, in order to sustainably achieve any other objective.

Precisely, this ability to collaborate directly affects how quickly any particular company is able to adapt to all of these changes and demands. Product and process innovation will be decisive in meeting the objectives.

In this respect, we should understand innovation, not as the great global objective, but as the set of small steps along a path that allow us to improve and advance in order to meet our social, environmental and economic challenges. The FMCG supply chain is contributing its grains of sand, both large and small, to the establishment of this path. Reaction and response times are going to become ever shorter: society wants immediate solutions and the online world accelerates these times even more. Viewing all these challenges as an opportunity and not as an obligation is the best way to face them.