Consumer Products

Consumer Products


Unlocking tomorrow's winning consumer goods model

Consumer goods companies currently face a range of unprecedented uncertainties and challenges, from consumer purchasing restraint, disrupted supply chains, and inflated raw material costs to the rise of sustainability and AI. Special times require special actions. Consumer product companies must reinvent and transform themselves quicker than ever to safeguard and grow profitability. Revenue, costs, and CO2 are the key KPIs of today and tomorrow – here's why.

shoppers in a grocery store
"We’re seeing consumer products companies prioritizing operational efficiency that can be re-invested back into growth – e.g., building brand equity, expanding consumption and driving the effectiveness of promotional investments. Our team is helping our clients operationalize these programs from the board room to the buyers office."
Portrait of Robert Baker
Chicago Office, North America

Revenue: Periods of change also bring growth opportunities as consumer product firms aim to increase volume based on consumer needs, consumption moments, and shopping occasions. Consumer packaged goods (CPG) consulting can bring a new approach to price pack architecture: AI and analytics will deliver crucial insights into new trends as well as helping to design and test new products more quickly and at lower cost. This will increase speed to market and reduce the failure rate of new launches.

Costs: Rigorous discipline in managing product costs and SG&A will allow consumer goods manufacturers to invest more in brands and innovation capability. Product cost optimization focuses on changing product specifications without negatively influencing consumers' willingness to purchase and can realize up to seven percentage points EBIT margin. Automation and AI will also play a significant role in optimizing SG&A costs for consumer products players.

CO2: Sustainability regulations targeting sourcing, energy usage, packaging/waste, and consumer behavior are already here – and we expect them to get tighter. Consumer preferences are also shifting, forcing CPG manufacturers to rethink their value chains. Finding the balance between adopting these sustainability requirements and the associated costs will be paramount to success in the consumer products game.

Thanks to the many insights gained from our longstanding industry experience, our consulting services can turn these challenges into opportunities for consumer goods firms, from designing future-proof strategies to integrating excellence in execution.


We believe generative AI provides a transformative way for consumer product companies to unlock tremendous value along the value chain and P&L structure. Top-and bottom-line use cases can open up an EBIT margin potential of up to ten percentage points. However, this requires radically rethinking the FMCG model of the future – a future in which autonomous persona-based agents take over key tasks. There is no time to waste; let’s unlock your company's potential together.

Product cost optimization

The objective here is to change product specifications in raw materials and packaging that offer no value to consumers and therefore have no volume and net sales risk. Adjusting the supply chain, particularly in times of inflated raw material prices, presents a key lever to safeguard and improve a company's profitability and its ability to invest in brands and innovation. Our consultants have helped clients realize an average cost reduction of 15% and an EBIT-margin improvement of seven percentage points. Typical shortcomings include the lack of a clear process as well as the right methods and mindset. Where could you improve?


The unprecedented current business and margin pressure requires rigorous cost discipline across all relevant areas. SG&A costs account for approximately 30% of total revenue in consumer products companies, mainly driven by marketing, sales and supply chain/logistic costs. The top-line impact on all levers must be strongly considered. Holistic SG&A cost-optimization programs can lead to savings of up to 15-20% of the addressable cost base, resulting in an EBIT margin impact of up to four percentage points.

Sustainability transformation

The growing focus on climate and social action is being driven by stakeholders throughout the value chain – consumers, retailers, investors, regulators, and employees. There is a clear commercial call for ESG and climate action in particular, with CO2 now the third key KPI for consumer brands, alongside revenue and costs.

This requires a holistic sustainability transformation, which starts with a clear strategy, target-setting, and a business case. There are many components involved, such as the right systems to measure and track the carbon footprint throughout the supply chain as well as a clear portfolio roadmap to monetize sustainability action. Our consulting team can help your firm's management execute this successfully.

Marketing excellence

Today, consumer product marketing organizations face numerous challenges, from balancing cost efficiency with local proximity, to dealing with a high share of non-working budgets, and leveraging AI tools. Our teams has developed a proven strategy to accelerate your marketing using these three building blocks:

  1. An efficient operating model aligned to the needs of consumers and the target capabilities of the organization (internal);
  2. A corresponding agency model incorporating specific requirements (external);
  3. A technical marketing setup leveraging AI as a key enabler for additional top-line growth for instance via accelerated product development and more personalized content as well as time and cost savings (enabler).

Experience with a range of industry clients shows additional top-line growth of up to 10% alongside marketing cost savings of up to 20% can be achieved if all three building blocks are fully integrated and adjusted to focus on individual value-adding demands.

Retail media

Retail media is one of the advertising industry's biggest growth segments and is forecasted to surpass TV as leading media channel by 2026. At Roland Berger, we identify and investigate emerging trends and best practices across retailers, regions, and advertisers. These insights enable our consultants to help our clients answer four strategic questions to get the most out of retail media:

  1. What role and goals does retail media offer your business?
  2. How can you use analytics to measure and evaluate the performance of retail media campaigns?
  3. How can you best organize and align internal teams and external partners and systems for retail media?
  4. How to allocate and optimize the spending strategy for retail media across different products and customers?

Our consulting team can help consumer goods brands to assess their retail media setup and capabilities, and work with them to develop the most impactful optimization levers.

Price pack architecture

Price pack architecture is a strategic methodology focused on a portfolio of products that meet consumers' needs for any occasion, at the price points they are willing to pay, and in a way that enhances the brand’s value proposition within specific retail channels. Done correctly, optimizing price-pack architecture can drive top-line growth at an average 5 percentage points EBIT margin increase with growing revenue.

Case study
Development of a launch strategy to revoluzionize the coffee market

We supported our client with the market introduction of a revolutionary product - fully organic coffee balls without packaging. Our team guided the client from concept to product launch, creating a new (sub-)brand, optimizing packaging, and crafting a strong go-to-market plan. We secured investment, supported operational implementation, and fostered collaboration between key stakeholders - the German market leader among consumer electronics retailers and two of the largest Swiss coffee producers and retailers. Together with the Swiss retailer, we brought an innovation to the market that will reduce waste production by millions of tons a year.

Turnaround strategy for a leading European player in the food space

Our client experienced significant market share and profitability declines in key product categories. Amid challenging market conditions, they lacked clarity on effective business turnaround strategies. Through the project, we developed and implemented a new strategy. We began with comprehensive diagnostics of top-line and bottom-line aspects, followed by collaborative identification of core levers with the client teams. The final phase focused on ensuring organizational readiness for change and building an efficient implementation mechanism to swiftly observe strategic transformation results.

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