Technomic’s Take: 5 Ways Food Brands Get «FIT» for Future

Chicago / IL. (tni) The food industry will eclipse two trillion USD in annual sales by 2025, but restaurants, retailers and manufacturers will be locked into an intense competition for market share and must continually innovate to grow their businesses, according to Technomic Inc.´s groundbreaking report «Food Industry Transformation: The Next Decade». In addition to ten-year industry projections, Technomic´s report also provides several insights into the ways the food industry will evolve, as well as action steps food brands can take to position themselves for growth in the future. The recommendations incorporate consumer behaviour forecasts, economic projections, and Technomic´s new models for food and labor costs. They include:

  • Reimagine, Reinvent, Reallocate, Repeat: Restaurants, retailers and manufacturers must fundamentally re-imagine how they go to market and re-invent themselves with a sense of urgency. Significant resources must be reallocated to growth channels and categories, which over the next decade will include a more healthful food supply built on fresher offerings, as well as digital platforms for buying and distributing those items.
  • Act Small to Grow Big: Food companies must accelerate their pace of change and speed to market and must act and think like a small company – or acquire small brands nimble enough to meet shifting demands quickly. They also must test new products and platforms and be ready to either scale those solutions quickly or fail fast and move on. The «less is more» mindset will play out in productivity initiatives and efficient store designs that fight skyrocketing food, labor and operating costs.
  • Embrace Digital and Big Data: A build-up of research and predictive-analytics teams for consumer and trade customer insights is a must for food brands. The challenges of the next decade – including consumers´ demand for greater transparency and food integrity, falling profit margins, and disruptions to the supply chain – can be mitigated with data-driven solutions. Companies must turn today´s transactional data into tomorrow´s winning strategies.
  • Anticipate and Pre-empt the Demand for a Health-Focused Food Supply: Consumers´ definitions of health will continue to evolve, and descriptors like «fresh», «local» and «sustainable» will lose their elitist associations and be insisted upon by all consumers, not just the affluent and the activists. Companies must move their food offerings to higher levels of health and food safety before their key accounts begin to request them.
  • Boost Your CSR Quotient: Radical transparency will be the price of entry for consumers, not just on food companies´ ingredient labels, but also on their identities as good corporate citizens. Restaurants, retailers and manufacturers who ignore societal and environmental issues do so at their peril, and they must audit their policies on the three P´s (people, products, planet) – but still be mindful of the fourth P: profitability. Everything from antibiotics and humane animal treatment in the supply chain to carbon footprint to employee compensation, should be addressed – and be ready to show leadership in at least one of these areas.