The mass personalisation of products is becoming increasingly common, with many food and drink brands now offering personalised or customised versions of products. The trend enables everyday items to rank high in gift shopping lists thanks to their transformation into something unique, which justifies a price mark-up.

There is, of course, danger that value-conscious shoppers will be put off paying more for an otherwise everyday product. However, when shopping for gifts, many consumers are likely to opt for such items without having second thoughts.

E-commerce is playing a key role in the co-creation of products. And since the expansion of online and mobile food and drink shopping is gaining ground, the ordering of co-created food and drink gifts will follow suit.

Personalising the packaging is the cheapest and quickest co-creation option. A few champagne and whisky manufacturers have gone down that road by enabling the consumer to input text on a website, which is then engraved on a bottle or its outer packaging.

Personalising the packaging is the cheapest and quickest co-creation option

However, this process is not reserved for expensive alcoholic drinks. Much cheaper food items, such as Marmite, now allow such personalisation. The concept is further explored by chocolate brand Cadbury, which gives consumers the option of adding their own personal photographs to packaging. Featuring a person’s name or image on product packaging is also powerful and effective way to instil a sense of importance, as well as create a long-lasting impression.

The popularity of personalised foodie gifts for kids is also rising. As Generation Z is noted for individuality, such items are likely to be attractive for the youngest consumers. An example is Haribo’s Personalised Sweet Jar, which featured a festive label emblazoned with the recipient’s name. Moreover, the pack design encourages reuse, as the jar can easily be refilled.

Going a step further is the concept of personalising the shape of the product itself, rather than its packaging. Although this requires extra resources, it is a direction certain food brands have already taken. 3D printing allows manufacturers to ‘print-out’ food items in shapes, which have been customised by the consumer. However, even without the latest high-tech equipment, various food products address personalisation with letters and pictures inscribed straight on the product.

With consumers’ interest towards personalisation not likely to dwindle, some brands will choose to explore deeper food and drink personalisation. Future innovation will look beyond packaging and shape by exploring tailored ingredients or recipes. Colour, taste and texture, which change on request during consumption, are potential avenues for development in this area.

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