Food is the essence of life-giving energy to all life forms including humans. Humans, however, have evolved with the consumption of processed and packaged foods. Even then, their system has not advanced to such a level that it can handle any kind of food. Adulterated and infected foods cause a lot of safety concerns amongst humans. As a result, food safety has been on the agenda of various food authorities for food safety. Food monitoring for a long time has been dubious and authorities are constantly on the lookout for ways to enforce strict standards for food safety. So what are the top food safety trends that are ensuring our food safety?
Food safety modernization act (FSMA)
After the outbreak of numerous foodborne illness, the US Food & Drug Administration is bringing about massive changes to its regulations. In 2016, FDA released its updated strategy for the implementation and training of FSMA. The strategy outlines foundational rules including Preventative Controls for Human and Animal Food, Foreign Supplier Verification Programs, and Produce Safety.
Changing dining trends
Eating out has become a noticeable dining trend, which has started picking up in the last few years. It also brings about new challenges as restaurants have to serve more customers and have to battle it out for procuring fresh supplies seven days a week. Maintaining food safety while balancing the cost factor and procurement of fresh foods is definitely a challenging task. Companies are turning towards automation to tackle this issue.
Supply chain traceability
After many food scandals including the horsemeat scandal, customers are demanding a high level of traceability on what they eat. Consumers are always on the lookout for fresh, healthy, and locally sourced food and ingredients. In order to make food supply chain traceability a possibility, many food companies are looking towards blockchain technology to provide an easy answer. Blockchain technology can track a finished product back to the origin with ease, which cannot be tampered. As a result, food suppliers can build trust towards their brand amongst the consumers.
Demand for natural and organic food
The obsession with leading a healthy lifestyle doesn’t look to stop anytime soon. Consumers are demanding organic and natural food, and the demand is expected to grow at a rate of 16%, annually. As a result, start-ups are entering this market at an unprecedented rate. They are also bringing in food without artificial preservatives, colors, and dyes. However, the safety of these products can be dubious and so is its shelf life. Suppliers will need to avoid potential consumer health issues and void costly recalls.
Kitchens today still rely on conventional pen and paper-based systems that are inefficient, prone to human errors, and are time-consuming. Additionally, such records are easier to forge and falsify. New technologies such as IoT based sensors, digital checklists, and automated monitoring will soon replace this traditional system all over the world. Businesses will be able to control every aspect of routine tasks and compliance management with ease and increase their overall efficiency.
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Numerous health buffs are advocating the need to consume organic foods with the majority of the population following suit. For the general population, organic food is just another kind of food, which is supposedly healthy, but it is merely a different method of producing food. Historically, humans have been consuming organic food, but due to several challenges, farmers have started using various chemicals, antibiotics, food additives, and GMOs. Such chemicals and food additives have a negative impact on the human body. As a result, there’s a growing awareness for the consumption of organic food. Organic food includes any plant or animal which is grown organically, i.e., without the use of any chemicals, antibiotics, or additives. So, what are the top brands contributing to the growing trend of organic food?
Top organic food brands
Horizon Organic is an American company founded in 1991. It is the largest producer of organic milk in North America. Apart from milk, the company also sells other milk-based products such as cheese, yogurt, and butter. The brand is claimed to be organic by USDA and free of any additives. The company enjoys a monopoly in the South-eastern US milk market as it procures majority of the organic milk from over 700 farms across the US. Even their cows are fed organic food and are pasture-raised without the use of any antibiotics or growth hormones.
The origins of Riverford dates back to 1950s when the farm was taken over by the Watson family and converted into an organic farm by the mid-80s. The organic food brand has four farms across the country to distribute their products more efficiently across the nation. The company banks on its innovative organic veg boxes delivering to around 45,000 houses per week. The company also provides organic meat and fruit boxes along with wine and beer.
Amy’s Kitchen is a family-owned company that manufactures organic and non-GMO convenience and frozen foods in the US. The company has its headquarters in Petaluma, California and produces vegan foods organically. The company also has over 130 gluten-free products. Their organic food product line consists of foods like pizza snacks, carrot ginger soup, paneer tikka, vegetable soup, paella bowl, enchilada, candies, pad Thai, broccoli pot pie, and many more.
Eden Foods Inc.
Eden Foods Inc. or Eden Organic is an American organic food brand. The company is best known for its line of organic soy milk under the brand name Edensoy. Founded in 1969 as a co-op grocery store in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the company also claims to be the oldest independent organic food producer. Majority of Eden Food’s products are organic and vegan, apart from Katuso, a Japanese fish flake. In 1997, a test was conducted by the New York Times to look for traces of GMOs in 11 soy and corn-based products. The result found that only Eden’s milk tested clean.
Organic Valley is an independent cooperative of organic farmers based out of the US. It is also the nations largest farmer-owned organic cooperative besides being one of the biggest organic food brands. The company has a farmer base of more than 2000 owners across the US, Canada, Australia and the UK. The company markets its products across the US and exports it to 25 other countries. The company reported sales figure of over $1.1 billion selling products such as dairy, egg, soy, and meat. The organic food brand sells its meat products including chicken, pork, beef, and turkey under the brand name Organic Prairie.
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Staying in shape, getting fit, being active, and eating healthy is one of the most hyped things in the world. The fitness craze has consumed a majority of the world’s population, with people trying a variety of methods to achieve one single goal: weight loss. People’s willingness to spend considerably to achieve weight loss has created a lucrative market for players in the weight loss industry. The opportunity for weight loss supplement manufacturers, training program moderators, healthcare brands, and fitness equipment manufacturers has opened up significantly as the majority of the world’s population is rapidly jumping on the fitness bandwagon. Numerous reports estimate the weight loss market in the US itself to be worth $66 billion. High rates of obesity, low unemployment, higher disposable income, and sedentary lifestyles are boosting the market for the weight loss industry. As a result, numerous brands have made attempts to enter and gain a foothold in this lucrative market, making it intensely competitive. So here are the trends you should be familiar with to gain an upper hand in this market.
Continuing popularity of meal replacement products
Health brands have been successful in placing meal replacement product as a healthy alternative to regular foods. Although the cost runs on the higher side, meal replacement offers benefits of being portable and healthy. A meal replacement product has an adequate amount of protein with lower carb and fat content, which eventually helps in meeting the weight loss goals. It is estimated that the sales of shakes and bars will outgrow the sales of OTC diet pills by the year 2022. The market for meal replacement products is experiencing a healthy growth and is already worth $4 billion in the US.
The rise of complex carbohydrates
For a long time, fats were looked upon with an evil eye as they are responsible for obesity. However, numerous studies have diverted the attention to carbohydrates – simple carbohydrates to be precise. Numerous government food authorities have also credited the survey by warning the public of the dangers of over-consumption of simple carbohydrates. As a result, companies have been focusing on products with complex carbohydrates including whole grain oatmeal, pasta, and bread.
Rise of multi-level marketers
The multi-level market for weight loss products in the US itself is worth $2 billion with multiple companies entering the market each year. The rising cases of obesity are urging consumers to help other consumers to lead a healthier lifestyle. The multi-level marketing in the weight loss industry is picking up the pace because people tend to give more weight to success stories of individuals rather than try weight loss products which are advertised. Companies such as Shaklee, Herbalife, and Isagenix are pioneers of this multi-level marketing programs in the weight loss industry.
The millennial way of dieting
The modern-day weight loss efforts are considerably different than the weight loss programs followed by the Baby Boomers. The Millennials are more focused on clean eating, convenience, exercise, and avoiding sugars and highly processed foods. The limited income of the Millennials would urge them to favor inexpensive and convenient diet plans. As a result, the market for diet websites and apps, OTC meal replacement, zero calorie drinks, and low-fat foods are growing.
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It is estimated that the eCommerce food and consumables sales will continue to grow at a steady growth of 23.1% a year.
In the last couple of years, the global food retail industry is witnessing a steady growth marked by the presence of a change in customer preference, a radical shift toward online shopping, and the rise in the global population. The food retail sector comprises of specialty stores that offer a distinguished set of products and services to the customers. It can be considered as a dynamic industry that contributes greatly to the development of several industries including the food packaging industry. Also, with the recent shift toward e-retailing platforms, the food retail industry is expected to witness considerable growth as the retail formats such as in-store pickup, and online groceries are in demand. A leading research firm estimates that the growth of households is expected to reach to 1.5 billion from the margin of 1.2 billion in 2012. Although the industry is expected to showcase promising growth, the industry will witness drawbacks due to factors including:
- Increasing labor costs: With a considerable number of competitors in the food retail space, organizations are under pressures to control the operational costs, as the retail space run completely on low-profit margins. For a lean and efficient operation to be in place, prominent organizations should ensure the labor costs are curtailed to the minimum.
- Managing cash flows: In this competition-driven environment, food retailers should effectively manage the cash flows to improve their store’s profitability and gain better returns on their investment. Organizations need to expand their capacity while adequately maintaining their inventory levels. With the increasing threat from new entrants, organizations are in need for immediate measures to improve their product lines and penetrate across new market segments.
To address the aforementioned challenges and relatively enhance their business offerings, organizations are in need of market intelligence solutions.
The Business Challenge
- The Client: A leading food retail client
- Area of Engagement: Market intelligence
A prominent client in the food retail space with a considerable number of stores spread globally wanted to identify the potential bottlenecks for new market entry and assess the competitors to stay abreast of the competition. The client wanted to ascertain the demand for the products offered and find suitable ways to get the products and services to the market. They also wanted to seek ways to increase their revenue, profit margins, and the market share and adequately allocate the resources to meet the business requirements. The primary objective of the market intelligence study was to tailor the products and marketing efforts around customer needs efficiently.
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To minimize the risk of an investment, the market intelligence experts at Infiniti carried out extensive interviews and discussions with prominent stakeholders in the food retail space. To create a need assessment study based on the customer preferences, the experts at Infiniti also compiled information across a wide array of secondary sources such as trade shows, paid industry databases, news forums, and company presentations in the retail industry.
The Solution Benefit and the Business Impact
The market intelligence solution offered by Infiniti helped the client obtain real-time information relevant to the business’ niche and make progressive business decisions based on relevant market opportunities. The engagement further addressed the potential bottlenecks in the food retail space and helped the client maintain a distinctive corporate identity. Moreover, the market intelligence engagement also helped the client create a robust brand strategy to identify their capabilities, liabilities, and long-term intentions. The client was also able to make progressive business decisions relevant to specific market opportunity.
The future of food retail space will be largely marked by the presence of numerous mergers and acquisitions, and various e-retailing players will offer food and consumables at reasonable prices to provide a quick and easy shopping experience. Moreover, with the latest innovations taking place, food retailers will be able to offer products more seamlessly.
A must-read case study for strategy specialists and decision makers looking to develop an understanding of the retail industry