There will be continued growth in consumer interest in retro brands, especially within the 30+ age groups, while the future of the economy remains uncertain, according to a leading brand consultant.
As consumers hit harder times, they take a "rose tinted spectacles view" of the past and take solace in the comforting reminders of when things were better, said Kate Waddell, md of consumer brands at Dragon Rouge.
Waddell, who is speaking at a Leatherhead Food Research conference on Nostalgia trends in food and drink conference on November 4, said: "Importantly, the emotional buttons pressed by retro and nostalgic products are often a justifiable reason to indulge or pay a premium, especially in cash-strapped times .
"Given the uncertain predictions on the current crunch and the daily change in news of a recovery, I would see it being with us to stay, but perhaps morphing or maybe fusing with other trends. It taps into a trend towards looking for stability and comfort in the past. For many consumers there is something deeply regressive and cocooning about tucking into an Arctic Roll or a Hovis little brown loaf a reminder of innocent, trouble-free times away from the worries of today."
In the food industry, much of the branded activity within nostalgia is skewed towards confectionery, snacking, drinks and comfort foods pleasure categories. "The trend shows no signs of going away and has been happening for years now, intensifying in the recession."
As the in-home dining category grows there is also more and more revival of classic dishes in ready meals and also some of the frozen brands of the past, she said. "It could well be that with the purse strings tightening that Fray Bentos and Spam could have their day, as consumers have the financial conditions as a rational reason to buy and the return to old values," she added.