Thursday, February 4, 2016

Report Summary - Consumer Trends in the Food Industry - Shifting Consumer Value Drivers

A collaboration of industry associations sponsored Deloitte to conduct a survey on consumer food purchasing trends, and now, the report from that survey is making the rounds in the media.  Here is a quick summary of that report, taken directly from the report (Here is the direct link to the that report -  Commentary is placed in [ ].
  • The food and beverage processing industry has exhibited stagnant growth over the past several years.
  • Consumer buying decisions on food are not only based upon the traditional drivers of taste, price, and convenience, but now include 'evolving drivers' of  health and wellness, safety, social impact, experience, and transparency.
  • There is a general distrust of larger food companies.
  • The information [or misinformation] for these evolving drivers likely comes from social media, mobile applications, and digital sources.
  • Evolving drivers:
    • Of these, wellness and health is most important.  It is also the most complex and varies for each category [understandable if you consider that the information gleaned from the web varies from the scientific to the bat-crap crazy...and can change suddenly as news reports are generated supporting or bashing specific foods or ingredients].  So there is no set definition of wellness.  And consumer will pay more for what they perceive as providing that.
    • Safety considers both short-term as well as long term implications, which interplays with wellness and  health.  Certainly free from harmful elements, but also clean labeling and  trustful sourcing.  Retailers will be relied on to play a bigger role in ensuring safety.
    • Social impact comes into play as small vocal groups can impact larger groups with their message - commitment to food safety, fair treatment of workers, local, values, environmental responsibility....political views.  About 1/4 of those surveyed indicated their choice are impacted by this - millennials and more wealthy [those who consider themselves a hipster] 
    • Experience - people look to have an experience shopping...looking for the new, interesting, and undiscovered.  A term to know is consumer engagement.
    • Transparency - people want access to whatever way they want to get that information (website, stores, etc)
  • Implications - an increasing fragmented marketplace with people wanting more information, thus putting demands on retailers and desire for smaller [perceived as local] companies.

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