TRADE AND MARKET I NG Whoever wins the battle for the stomach, will prosper in the food sector A s an independent knowledge platform, FSIN – which was founded in 2003 by leading companies in the foodservice market – analyses and explains the future of the food market on the basis of figures and trends. By sharing this knowledge, food expert and market researcher Grievink can advise companies in the sector on how to respond to changes. During the AGM, he encouraged his Audience to think about how they can obtain and maintain a strong position for ‘their’ potatoes and ‘their’ potato products. He started his presentation by showing a simplified representation of the food chain, in which the various links from farmer (‘primary sector’) to consumer (‘food shopper’) are established. The FSIN focuses on the interaction between the last two links, the food channels and the food shopper. ‘The food channel can be a supermarket or a specialist shop, but also a restaurant chain. They all provide kilocalories, tasty food, to the consumer. We monitor what happens in the power play between the purchasing consumer and the formula being offered, and what effects they have on the chain. You are also part of that chain, or you supply one of the links in that chain’, he told the NAO members in the hall. From commodity to trendy product ‘Making potatoes trendy again is really the issue you’re facing. The potato has become a commodity, a ‘nothing special’ thing, factory food. The new generation in particular no longer likes that. They’re dreaming of small-scale suppliers, traditionallymade produce, ancient varieties, local growers, no E-numbers, short shelf life and so on. That’s the world of perception. At the same time, we live in a very labour-intensive world in which convenience is the preferred choice. Consumers want to buy something to eat now, instead of having to decide on what they’ll eat next Thursday. In short, convenience and perception, these are the two growth markets. Commodities are still the largest market, but are under pressure. Only if you’re very big, if you can consolidate and cut costs, will you be able to hold your own there. The other two markets are more fun, totally contemporary, and both are growth markets. On the battlefield of commodities, on the other hand, we’re constantly seeing bankruptcies. One of the reasons for this is that these products and retailers don’t focus on individual tastes. They are “stuck in the middle”, and although the middle remains a big market, you have to be very good and have low costs to survive. The growth markets are above and below the middle, in the “premium & lifestyle” and “quality discount” segments. Don’t forget the top layers of the trend funnel All market players are trying to come up with a product that responds to growth markets, is new for the retailer, and that consumers would like to buy. ‘However, more than eight out of ten things that are introduced fail. We believe this is because the concepts, products or services that are devised are not anchored in the top three layers of what we call the trend funnel. From top to bottom, in this funnel we find ‘changes in society’, ‘changes in value’, ‘food trends’ and ‘concepts, products and services’. The law behind this model is that changes in society will ultimately lead to changes in business. ‘That’s why we first monitor what changes are taking place in society that lead to changes in values in that society. The food trends that emerge, in turn, lead to new products, concepts and services. In fact, the sector only looks at the food trends while forgetting the underlying forces. This trend funnel is universal. Because we have an Anglo-Saxon society in the Netherlands, you can monitor what changes there are in other Anglo-Saxon societies, and how they work through the trend funnel towards new products, concepts and services. Just remember that everything that’s new and dominant in the Netherlands comes directly from the United States in seven to eight out of ten cases. Because the changes in society there are ahead in many areas, you can see clearly at how the trend funnel works there. From the USA it travels to Canada, it then fans out to Australia and the UK, and from there it also reaches the Netherlands. Grievink mentioned some examples of changes in society that he believes can be summarised under the heading PET: People, Economy, Technology. As far as the People element is concerned, this means the growth of the number of single-person households, for example, or an ageing population. In terms of Economy, there are the costs of health care and pensions, for example. Technological changes are everywhere, such as being online 24/7, or robotisation. ‘These changes in society are leading to changes in what we think is important. Five values that already exist in our society and that are becoming ever more important are convenience, freshness, indulgence, transparency and health.’ People want to have a social impact In addition to the trend funnel, Grievink also cited the Maslow pyramid, applied to the food sector. From the bottom up we read the terms ‘functional needs’, ‘emotional needs’, lifechanging needs’ and ‘social impact’. ‘In the Netherlands, you no longer have to worry about whether or not you have food to eat. The functional needs are therefore filled. The emotional needs that comes next are also reasonably well filled. What then follows are the life-changing needs such as “I want to become a vegetarian”, and the need to have social impact. People want to change society in the way they deal with food, for example by paying more attention to packaging materials. At FSIN, we argue that if you want to be active in the food sector in the next ten years, you must be able to respond credibly in each of these four layers. You should also be able to tell a good story about this to the media and society.’ It is no longer enough to tell the consumer that potatoes are good, bursting with vitamins and also not very expensive. ‘You’ll also have to fill in the emotional side, the life-changing side, and the social impact’, the FSIN director inspires his Audience. Go to those growth markets Another trend that Grievink has observed is that people have started to pop to the shop for only a few items. ‘Weekly shopping hasn’t stopped, but growth is found in instant buying. That’s the immediate consumption to satisfy the 6.2 eating 6 Potato World 2019 • number 3 Pagina 5

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