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Anticipating Consumer Needs


To succeed and grow in today’s complex market, you must stay on top of constantly evolving consumer demand. The food and beverage manufacturers that have a strong understanding of what lies ahead are better equipped to get into new markets early, giving them the competitive edge required to succeed in a rapidly changing and increasingly global industry.

Here are 10 key trends to help you anticipate what is impacting the success of Canada’s food and beverage industry:

  1. Serving boomers — The Canadian population has more seniors than ever before. Their needs and desires will affect both the type and quantity of food demanded as well as where it will be consumed.

  2. Socio-demographic drivers — The size of the average household is shrinking, and changes in workforce participation, globalization, environmental awareness, and media fragmentation will all have an impact on food choices.

  3. Fusion-gumbo Canada — Canada’s urban areas will continue to see immigrants from areas such as Asia, the Middle East and the Caribbean. The response will require food processors to diversify and offer fusion and blended cuisines. Unfamiliar food ingredients, cooking methods and presentation styles will also have to be understood and incorporated.

  4. A knowledgeable public — Consumers are increasingly interested in making informed decisions about their food and beverage consumption. Processors need to be online, engaging consumers and ensuring that misconceptions, which abound on the Internet, are addressed.

  5. Quick bites — Some consumers will take a more sporadic approach to eating and shopping. Meal-planning cycles will be shorter, snacking will replace courses and entire meals, and food will become more portable. This will affect the type of foods demanded and have implications for package waste.

  6. Reduced focus on meat — A number of drivers are leading to reduced consumption of meat, including perceptions of healthfulness, a desire for meals that are quick to prepare and ethnic food options. While vegetarianism may not increase dramatically, consumer interest in meatless meals will continue to grow.

  7. Organic foods — Organics, at a modest price premium, will continue to rise .This will be particularly true for those organics that are able to develop niche markets within the category and match the quality and availability of conventionally produced foods.

  8. Small Indulgences — Gourmet food represents a small indulgence, an affordable luxury and a reward. Adult Canadians will increasingly embrace gourmet foods and boutique brands. Consumer interest in high quality, smaller portions, nutritious foods and slow foods will continue to increase.

  9. Safety and trust — Consumer perception drives sales and the public’s confidence in foods tends to shift with the news of the day. Canadian processors need to be vigilant at ensuring safe food and communicating the facts about ingredients, process and commitment to food safety.

  10. ​Sell local and think global –The buy local movement will continue to grow as communities view food as important to the fabric of their communities. This is a positive trend that is strengthened by understanding the global impacts as well as the resulting challenges and opportunities.

Understanding your corporate customers’ commercial requirements and connecting emotionally with consumers are key ingredients to developing market-driven strategies. The resulting informed decisions can then be incorporated into phased-growth strategy that can be calibrated to respond to the increasingly common peaks and valleys.

For more information, contact Glenn Fraser, Vice-President of Food & Ag Processing at 877.251.2922 or [email protected].