LITTLE SECRETS BETWEEN FRIENDS FOR SEDUCING THE CONSUMERS OF TOMORROW
How will their expectations evolve? What kind of behaviour will they adopt? And, above all, how can they be won over today and tomorrow? Three experts in Trends, Retail, Distribution and Foodservice face off.
1) HELP ME TO DO IT RIGHT
Xavier Terlet : “Helping me to do it right is about eliminating the tedious tasks in order to retain just the notion of pleasure. This trend also echoes the desire to make savings and the wish to control ingredients, in a heightened context of vigilance. In short, you produce for yourself in order to eat better and for less.”
Olivier Dauvers : “It is indeed a growing trend in retail! The most striking example for me is pastry dough: you give consumers a hand by letting them have the feeling that they are the ones “producing” the end product. In trade, this trend translates into the strong resurgence of raw products – to accompany, for example, the pastry dough – whereas it was processed or ready-made products that were all the rage not so long ago. Note, however, that this is a trend that mainly concerns the mature markets: Europe, North America, Japan, etc.”
Bernard Boutboul : “This is also true for foodservice: we find this trend in the mature markets, with an expanded offer of pre-prepared products; an offering aimed at helping professionals to concoct their ‘dishes’.” For a number of years now the food wholesalers have been surfing on this trend! This success can also be tied in with the inexorable rise of ‘fast casual’ in the USA, and also in Europe.
2) ZERO WASTE
Xavier Terlet : “Zero waste is not so much a matter, for consumers, of growing ecological awareness, as the consumers’ concern to maintain their purchasing power! In concrete terms, this translates into the appearance of products prepared from leftovers of unconsumed, unsold fruits and vegetables destined to be discarded; by smaller formats to avoid excess storage and waste; and also by cutting down on the packaging.”
Olivier Dauvers : “I agree. Behind this trend lies, above all, the rational consumer. For these kinds of consumer, zero waste is solely about economic benefits. Yet, in my opinion, this is not as strong a trend as we are led to believe. What is more, smaller formats correspond not so much to the desire to limit waste as to a new sociological reality: the break-up of households into smaller units, particularly in the major cities of the world. For, nowadays, consumers often live alone, or in nuclear families.”
Bernard Boutboul : “With the doggy bag, this trend also exists in foodservice, but it is still something of a rarity in Europe. It’s somewhat more in vogue in Asia, and is of course deeply entrenche
d in the habits of North America. What is it exactly? The doggy bag is a packaging in which restaurant customers can take away the leftovers of their meal. It is a concept that still has room for development”
3) WHERE DOES THAT COME FROM?
Xavier Terlet : “This is a very strong – and universal – trend! Today’s consumers demand more information about products, for greater transparency. They want to know where ingredients are sourced, the conditions of livestock husbandry and how products are manufactured. One way in which this trend is manifested is in seeing behind-the scenes: an example being Domino’s Pizza, which proposes to its customers to monitor live on the Internet its pizzas being cooked. Another illustration is the highlighting of the source of ingredients on packaging, or the particular care paid to animal well-being through the creation of new labels.”
Olivier Dauvers : “The way I see it, this trend addresses an extremely irrational expectation: ‘the closer I’m situated to the product’s source, the better it is’, which is, of course, not always true. Another explanation? Customers are seeking as much reassurance as possible. And the retailers are surfing this trend through the organisation of their supply channels. But how do you really make yourself stand out? Quite simply, through the reality of the space afforded to local products, and through efficient showcasing of products.”
Bernard Boutboul : “Perhaps this will surprise you, but concerning this trend I see no concordance between retail and foodservice, since consumers lead, in a way, a double life when it comes to food matters. When eating out, what we look for above all is the notion of pleasure, and have an appetite for savoury, sweet and fatty dishes. The question of where the products come from barely matters. This ambivalence is above all apparent in countries with deep culinary roots, such as France, Italy and China.”
4) FULL OF NATURAL GOODNESS
Xavier Terlet : “This trend keeps gaining ground. It’s about products that are naturally beneficial for health, bringing with them new promises to keep us healthy and improve and boost our daily vigour. In this way, health, performance and food are melded together in the shape of new products, such as alternative proteins or super-foods: acai-based fruit juices, soups based on kale or broccoli, etc.”
Olivier Dauvers : “I agree with you, it’s a fundamental trend that addresses a massive issue on the mature markets. However, this does not apply to the markets where simply accessing food is problematic. We therefore need to differentiate between simply “wanting food”, and “wanting healthy food.”
Bernard Boutboul : “In this scenario, we need once again to talk of the double life of the consumer who, at the restaurant, is seeking above all culinary pleasure! However, a rising awareness can be observed, in the United States for example, with the initial success of the campaign to combat obesity, launched by Michelle Obama. On the West coast today, most restaurants propose organic and vegan cuisine. Northern Europe, Australia and Asia are also starting to pick up on this. The same applies in France, where the vegetarian offering is finally taking off, on account of a growing population of exitarians.”