Consumer behaviour and spending habits are changing as awareness and understanding of issues such as health, wellbeing and sustainability deepens. How should food and drink businesses adapt to meet the needs of the changing consumer? We put the question to Farm Shop & Deli Show exhibitors to get their views.
Embrace all aspects of sustainability - Paul Moore – If You Care, stand D61
“The most pressing and topical issues driving changing consumer behaviour are increasing awareness of sustainability and environmental issues, coupled with growing awareness of the impact of food choice on health and the environment. Social media sharing images of the global consequences of plastics on wildlife, direct experience of unseasonal weather patterns through climate change and the rise in alternative diets towards veganism and reduced meat driven by health and environmental concerns are clear signposts of these changes.
These are deep long-term trends. There is a lot of hard commercial evidence that shows consumers are increasingly seeking ways to express their concerns and desire to make a difference by making changes in their spending. The global market for organic foods rose to US$97 Billion (7.7%) in 2017 (Source FiBL Organic Market Report). It is one of the most buoyant markets in retail at the moment. UK organic sales have risen to £2.3 Billion (up 5.5%) (Soil Association Market Report) and very successfully driven through the independent sector and box schemes where customers are seeking quality, integrity and choice. Outside of food, we can also see changes to attitudes around consumables such as plastics (bag tax), the rise in FSC certified products and increased sales of electric cars and renewable energy markets.
Business needs to adapt to these changes by offering their customers really good environmentally friendly options so customers can make the choice for themselves. If they don’t customers will simply find a way to address their concerns by going elsewhere.”
Check out the If You Care stand to see their environmentally friendly kitchen and household products that are totally Chlorine Free, unbleached, FSC Certified, compostable and plastic free.
Harness the positive power of social media - Abi Knee, Marketing Manager at Gourmade Ltd, Stand K41
“Social Media and Blogging in the food industry are both fantastic ways to reach more customers. However, it's about doing things properly. I believe that giving out content is so important, whether that be helpful recipes to go alongside your product, ways to use your product, or top tips on ways to incorporate a product into your life. Many of the food/drink social media channels that are thriving aren't selling a product at all, they are selling a lifestyle, which is what people will buy into. But this market is becoming more and more saturated. This is exciting for everyone in the industry and shouldn't be seen as a negative, as the more interest, the more discussion and interaction surrounding the topic of food and drink.
As a business, we should all be harnessing this opportunity, use what we have that's special, shout about our stories and the people we are behind the business! So, shout about everything, from that dodgy tasting session in the development kitchen, to the pure moment of joy when the new packaging samples turn up! We're all important in this industry and all have our own roles, so let's tell everyone all the fantastic things we do!”
Show visitors will certainly find some inspiring things? to share on social media on the Gourmade stand, where they will be showcasing their range of premium frozen ready meals. All of which are hand finished using the finest quality ingredients and made in small batches, frozen from fresh within an hour of making.
Be adventurous with flavour and transparent about provenance – Emily Reed, London Honey Co., Stand L89
“Consumers have very educated adventurous palates these days, they love to explore flavours and to learn about the subtleties of food. Helping people to navigate and understand your produce is essential - we love to introduce people to how varied British honey is and how to pair different honeys with food and drinks. Many people have never tried real honeycomb before, but they are excited to if you explain how best to eat it, such as with some salty cheese.
Thankfully people are increasingly aware and concerned about where their food is coming from and the impact of their choices. It’s vital that you can be transparent with people about how, where and by whom your products are produced, that’s why it’s so important to us to be beekeepers ourselves so we understand the whole process. Consumers also want to see that businesses give back, we've found it really easy to give 10p from the sale of every jar of our Organic Zambian Honey to the charity Bees for Development to support their fantastic work.”
With over 20 years of beekeeping experience and a reputation for supplying honeys of distinction, including to Michelin starred restaurants, show visitors are in for a taste sensation when they visit the London Honey Co. stand.
Listen to feedback when it comes to flavour – Naomi Sigsworth, Zeina Foods, Stand L800
“At Zeina Foods, we believe that our flavours are adapting with the changing consumer. We aim to work with consumer feedback in order to improve our products, and also to create new ones. The main sensory attribute of food for us are the flavours used, this is why we work hard to develop varied taste profiles. Back in 1983, when our brand launched, our main vision was to create a snack that was nutritious, premium and packed full of flavour. We have over 30 years of experience roasting nuts and use this specialist knowledge to produce the most delicious snacks in the market.”
A visit to the Zeina Foods stand will leave you in no doubt that they’re serious about flavour. The Zeina Delicious range is a must-try, featuring five delicious flavours with eye-catching packaging.
Offer quality and innovation in health - Purebite, part of Tayto Group, Stand P71
“Food and drink businesses need to be relevant and that’s by offering consumers quality products which meet changing desire for healthy options, free-from and specialist diets.
People who either need to follow a specialist diet or choose to are incredibly powerful influencers for your business.
Offering quality and innovation in health allows you to offer your core consumers a chance to eat more healthily.”
Visit the stand to speak to Purebite and find out more.
You can get more industry insights, ideas and inspiration by registering to attend The Farm Shop & Deli Show, where you’ll have the chance to meet and connect with over 450 suppliers.