Enjoy a 15% discount on all purchases until the 31st of March 2023 using the promo code EOFWEB22 at check out!

Food and Nutrition Consumers are engaging with food and nutrition like never before. Our in-depth analysis examines the most important implications across the industry, providing market intelligence, original thinking and key insights.

Feeding the ‘Modisumer’: Giving Consumers Food That They Really Want

Lamine Lahouasnia Profile Picture
Lamine Lahouasnia Bio

Whilst the term ‘modisumer’ may not necessarily be familiar to everyone, there are millions of them that lurk among us. From the friend that sprinkles muesli on to their yoghurt to the colleague that insists on fusing ketchup and mayonnaise to create their own special sauce, modisumers have become an increasingly important source of innovation for food brands worldwide. A phrase recently coined in South Korea, modisumer – a combination of the terms ‘modify’ and ‘consumer’ – has taken the country’s food industry by storm, but is the phenomenon really isolated to this part of the world, or is there something much more significant taking place?

Have Your Cake and Eat it

There is a lot of money in the packaged food market – US$2.3 trillion to be precise – but finding new food product formats and flavours that sell well enough to be commercially successful is an unenviable and challenging task. Consumer tastes change over time, as does the ‘cuisine du jour’, and keeping up to date is easier said than done. It is estimated that at least 75% of new products launched end in withdrawal and ultimately commercial failure. In many ways the purpose of market research/intelligence is to minimise that risk of failure by ‘knowing the consumer’. By monitoring the actions and behaviour of the modisumer, food brands may be able to increase the size of the prize by providing a product for which demand has already been observed. This is exactly what many South Korean noodle companies have been doing recently, and it is working.

Build it and They will Come

Earlier this year a new type of noodle was born. On yet another bizarre television show somewhere in Seoul, a contestant created ‘opageti’ by fusing together the two noodle brands Ojingeo Jjambbong and Jjapageti. The following week, Korean noodle giant and owner of the two opageti brands, Nong Shim, announced that its weekly sales had surged by triple digits. Clearly, the new noodle creation had struck a chord with consumers. Despite the numerous noodles available to Korean consumers there was still demand for something that previously did not exist.


From Peanut Butter and Jam to Cereal-Topped Yoghurt and Beyond

The peanut butter and jam combination is perhaps a more familiar example of food brands learning from modisumers. The widespread use of peanut butter in combination with jelly/jam was eventually picked up by the food industry and premixed products such as Smucker’s Goober Grape began to appear on the shelves, offering consumers what they were already trying to create.

A more recent example, using two of the most on-trend food fads of the day, is the YoCrunch Cereal Bowl. Backed by cereal company Kellogg and dairy player Danone, the new product includes a serving of Greek yoghurt with a compartment of RTE cereal. Driven by an observation that many modisumers in the US were frequently adding their own cereal to yoghurt in the morning, Kellogg and Danone have gone one step further by catering for the deskfasting trend by offering it as an ‘on-the-go’ snack.

There is much to learn here. Clearly, we can sit around in food laboratories for days concocting bizarre new Brazilian ‘World Cup’ flavours because we think that is what consumers might want, or we can do something different. The term modisumer may not exactly roll off the tip of the tongue but it is clearly going to leave a lasting taste for many innovators in the food industry. Either way, definitely some food for thought.

Interested in more insights? Subscribe to our content

Explore More

Shop Our Reports

Competitor Strategies in Staple Foods

Staple foods players are facing a complex period; sales growth has decelerated as consumers return to busier lifestyles post-pandemic. Value growth was high in…

View Report

Eating at Home: Opportunities in the New Consumer Landscape

The eating-at-home business has surged in the last years, offering more options for consumers. This includes meal delivery, ready meals, home-cooked food, and…

View Report

Personalisation and Digital Wellness in Food and Nutrition

Personalisation’s appeal is intensifying as modern consumers demand greater convenience and efficiency. Increasing awareness of the importance of nutrition for…

View Report
Passport Our premier global market research database with detailed data and analysis on industries, companies, economies and consumers. Track existing and future opportunities to support critical decision-making across all functions within your organisation Learn More