Mid-market food: Small is beautiful

New York City / NY. (dtt) In the early 1970s, German economist E.F. Schumacher wrote a book entitled «Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered». The premise of the book was that the dramatic increase in the scale of business and government was counterproductive as it created a uniformity that was alien to most of the places where the businesses in question were located.

The solution for Schumacher was small location-specific businesses that operated as if people really mattered. Businesses would foster a close relationship between their workers and their customers. Appropriate technology would be used to facilitate these relationships. As it turned out, Schumacher was spectacularly wrong in his timing, but may have just been way ahead of his time.

The food industry has long been seen as a mature business with little in the way of top-line growth potential. That image may be changing. Real growth has steadily accelerated since the end of the 2001 recession to its fastest pace in more than 20 years. Behind the growth is an explosion in new product innovation, changing demographics and more importantly a changing competitive mix that is favorable to the food industry. This Deloitte Research study looks at how the growth in the food industry has been captured by retailers who are taking a «Small is Beautiful» approach to the marketplace.