Carol Christison discusses the trends in food.
Carol Christison, executive director of the International-Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association, speaks every year on the latest trends in the food retailing market. This year she looked at “The Food Parade: Consumers, Trends and New Products.” Here are some of key elements of the current marketplace.
Meal time has become 24/7. One-fifth of employed Americans work evenings, nights or a rotating schedule. Consumers eat what they want, when they want. Dunkin’ Donuts has dubbed this a “clockless day,” Christison said, and McDonald’s fastest growing meal segment is the time between midnight and 5 a.m. What this suggests is that the traditional dayparts are disappearing. Many have already taken advantage with all-day breakfasts and a new morning happy hour with free coffee or two-for-one breakfast promotions.
Social media has enacted a power shift where the consumer has control, not the brand or company. The brand/company is now defined by what customers say about it not what they say about themselves. For example, consumers forced Gap to drop its new logo, Coke to abandon New Coke and PepsiCo to bring back the old Tropicana logo.
Technology also is changing rapidly. Christison said that free in-store Wi-Fi is predicted, along with tunnel scanners that scan a whole cart of groceries at a time and mobile POS that attach to the carts themselves. Along with this are QR codes, which are everywhere. Some stores are using QR walls in non-traditional locations, such as train stations, for customers to select what they want and have it delivered to their home at a specified time. QR codes also are used on the products themselves, and smartphone scanning apps put the product information, purchase location, discounts and social connections in consumers’ hands.