Food for Thought
Over the past year we’ve been working on some great projects with the super-creative folk at Jane the Agency, adding a whole other dimension of brand communications to the mix for our clients existing and new. An area of passion we share is food – food retail, food brands, food eating, food packaging, food festivals, food manufacturing, food growing, pretty much everything to do with food. Over the journey we’ve had some great food conversations which led Rachel Taylor from Jane to pen-down some brilliant thoughts, trends and ideas on the subject of food retail.
01. What are the food retail giants worried about?
In 2010 the CEO’s of the top 10 food retail giants ranked (in order) the top 4 key issues facing their brands:
1. Economy & Consumer Demand
2. Corporate Social Responsibility
3. Competitive Landscape
4. Food Safety
02. Consumers key drivers for purchasing food and brands in are…
1. Cost and quality
2. Buying local
4. Social Conscience
03. The Move to Natural
As we are all aware there is a growing push from the consumer to go natural. This is driven by a range of concerns but primarily health & social issues.
Brands that can promote their full list of ingredients clearly on their packaging will take a market lead.
The desire to understand the journey of food from the soil to the final product is becoming imperative – touching on brand story, food miles, sustainability & food safety.
Farmers are in fashion (as we have all noticed every major brand that can afford to – wants you to know that there is a hard working farmer in the process).
04. Avoiding the Copy Cat
A major issue for many privately owned brands is the growing push of supermarkets ‘own brands’. The shelf power and copy cat ability of ‘own brands’ makes it difficult for private brands to compete. ‘Own brands’ run on a bargain, better, best strategy which allows them to run cheap through to premium knock-offs of known private brands and cover most markets including organic. Privately owned brands will need to take this into account in their brand strategy for 2011 and beyond.
05. The main ways in which private brands need to fight back and protect their market share is via two core areas that supermarket ‘own labels’ struggle to meet;
1. A pure and honest brand/product story
2. Food preparation
06. Baby Boomers
It cannot be denied that this will be one of the most influential and powerful categories for the next 20 years. They have an abundance of money, will be caring about maintaining healthy lives and will want products that consider them as key. They will also require packaging that is easier to read.
07. Children as Environmental Warriors
We talk a lot about how children are persuasive (thanks to advertising) when it comes to McDonalds etc. But through the school system children are becoming highly aware of the current environmental/sustainable stakes. Schools are encouraging ‘eat fresh’ global warrior type programs, that educate why what we eat is so important. Brands that can tap into being recognizable environmental/sustainable brands will create bonds & awareness that have the potential to last a lifetime.
Sustainability is not a ‘project’ it’s a way of business. Consumers expect it, they don’t just think “oh that’s nice to do”.
The big retailers will continue to encourage and favor sustainable suppliers – especially in the next decade.
If you are delivering a premium ‘top of the range product’ then you are now expected to be a business that encourages, promotes and delivers on a sustainable diet message.
Well known food commentator and author Michael Pollan suggests that one of the keys to eating with a sustainable conscience is to “Only eat food your grandmother recognizes”
09. Online Shopping & Buying Direct
It is well known that food shoppers are always looking for convenience. No one enjoys the trip to the supermarket. Many companies are selling direct to the consumer allowing for easy purchase deliver, a stronger brand connection but most importantly online offers consumers a greater understanding of cost per unit; e.g. being able to understand quality, weight and cost in a brief glance. Coles Online and Farmers Direct are two fast growth businesses within Australia.
10. Loyalty Pays
The traditional loyalty card is slowly being pushed to the next level with the major brands such as Wallmart and Tescos running insurance, mortgage, health insurance and educational arms that when combined by the consumer can have dramatic savings and reward potential. An average family in the US who has a Tesco mortgage, Tesco insurance (car/home) and shops at Tesco’s can easily earn up to $4,000 in rewards points each year.
Kudos to Australian Packaging Conference speaker David Hughes for feeding the conversation.
Big thanks to Rachel Taylor Account Service Director at Jane the Agency
- Inflation: five ways to cut your food bill by 35pc (telegraph.co.uk)
- Global Food Authorities Convene in San Francisco to Address Food Fraud, Explore International and Cultural Sustainability for “True Italian” (prweb.com)
- Co-op and Marks & Spencer: UK’s ‘greenest’ shops (guardian.co.uk)