Over the next decade, we will see a ‘new food world’ where real food is demanded by more people, according to a prominent industry strategist.
Speaking at a business networking breakfast held in Sydney last week, Chr. Hansen’s Director of Corporate Strategy, Dr Kelli Hayes (pictured top) said the industry can expect to see shifts in the five value drivers (tasty, healthy, convenient, authentic, and safe) consumers will use to make food purchases and choices, as well as ongoing consumer concern over food’s affordability.
“Negotiating these drivers results in people facing difficult dilemmas and contradictions. For example, consumers often find it difficult to find healthy foods that are also safe to eat since the healthiest foods are those that are high in nutrients and contain no chemicals, but such unprocessed, fresh foods tend to be unstable and present a safety risk,” Dr Hayes said.
“Consumers also think it is difficult to find food that is both healthy and convenient since eating healthily requires extra time and energy that people are hard-pressed to find.”
“Providing affordable solutions that meet multiple value drivers will be the key to the industry’s success and present significant innovation opportunities.”
These insights into understanding changes in consumer food behaviour were gathered from research undertaken in the US, where consumers and producers are pushing new and innovative food practices; Europe, which has changing consumer habits, regulators considered ahead of other markets, and innovative retailers; and China, which has high growth and large scale potential.
Dr Hayes was joined by guest speaker, Social Researcher, Mark McCrindle from McCrindle Research (pictured below) who discussed a range of issues including the emergence of mega trends in Australia and how these are impacting consumer behaviour towards food, shopping and eating.
These mega trends include the impact of cultural diversity, which is making food offerings in supermarkets and restaurants a lot broader and more interesting.
McCrindle also discussed the impact of Generation Y emerging and starting to have families in record numbers.
“We are seeing a group of parents who are more food literate and tech savvy than ever before. They are label readers and seek information about the foods they buy and are particularly conscious when buying food to feed their children,” McCrindle said.
The other trend we are seeing is that online shopping for fresh food has not taken off like other categories and this is because people are still keen to see, touch and smell their food before purchasing it.”
Other local trends Mr McCrindle discussed included the continuing emergence of indigenous foods to provide a local connection and flavour to Australian cuisine. McCrindle described Australians as ‘experimental’ and ‘forward thinking’ when it came to embracing new foods and cuisines.