GBC PART 1: CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR AND MARKET TRENDS

GBC PART 1: CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR AND MARKET TRENDS

Mar 31, 2017 | News

“There will always be new consumers for us to convince” was the opening line at the Global Berry Congress which took place this week in Rotterdam. OctoFrost was there to meet, brainstorm and share the latest market trends with professionals from the berry industry.

We will share with you our findings in a series of 4 articles, since there were many interesting topics debated during this event. This week we will tell you all about the hottest topic of the Berry Congress, which refers to consumers and the way their behavior is influencing the berry market.

CONSUMERS ARE MORE KNOWLEDGEABLE
AND DEMANDING TODAY

Actually everyone agreed that the consumers have never been more demanding than they are now, and this is also one of the reasons why there have been so many developments in the food distribution chains worldwide in the last 20 years.

Consumers look for new, exciting products, and the most important aspects are taste and flavor, communication and the price. Taste was definitely the keyword in all the presentations and discussions. “Taste is king” said Pippa Bailey from Ipsos Mori. “Enjoyment, the experience and of course the taste is what work on the market now”, said Stephan Weist from REWE Group. Important to remember: sell is easy, the return is harder, as first sell is an impulse while the repeat purchase is a confirmation of the satisfaction. If demand was supply-driven before, today it has shifted directions: the suppliers look at what consumers want.

As the research “Perils of Perception” concluded: Consumers’ perceptions are not a reality, they can be changed to increase consumption. Therefore Pippa recommended a few steps in achieving success on the berry market: optimize taste, develop sensory branding, strengthen PR role for health benefits, bring in young consumers, and challenge the pre-conceptions of the production and distributions of berries.

IS THERE A RECIPE FOR SUCCESS?

The supplier today is challenged to make people consume in new, different ways. This can be done by packaging development, recipe development, new varieties offerings, etc. In addition to these, it has to satisfy both physical availability (where the product can be found) but also the mental availability which means that your product should resonate with a mental need of the consumer (be healthy, be cool, be fun, etc.).

So is there a recipe for success for you as a supplier? The simple success formula defined by Pippa was about New Faces + New Spaces + New Places. New faces stands for addressing new demographic or behavioural groups, while new spaces is all about offering a new way of consuming and finally new places reflects the development of new sale channels.

ORGANIC AND FAIRTRADE CERTIFICATION
MAKES A BRAND STRONGER

Organic products have grown in popularity in the last 10 years, and this is something to keep in mind. The consumers are generally more open to buy locally grown berries, a mark which gives taste benefits, identity to the product but more importantly: emotional value. Organic, Fairtrade, locally-grown are all hot topics now, however if these traits are communicated but not promoted, consumer shall take them for granted. Trust is important, as Ben Maes from Special Fruit said: “Create trust and then you create the buying impulse which will lead to growth”.

MILLENNIALS ARE THE GAME CHANGERS

Young consumers don’t consume as much fresh berries as the other age groups and this is simply because of today’s different life styles. Millennials are indeed too busy to do shopping, cooking and learning but they want high quality, good food. Young consumers are all about easy cooking today.

What seems to work for the young audience is that frozen is better than fresh. In this way all the boxes are ticked: all the nutrients and the taste are preserved, frozen berries are ready to consume whenever needed and they have a longer shelf life. The frozen sector also gives the opportunity for the less strong purchasing groups (which is usually the younger one) to afford a healthy product.

Frozen berries are the solution to the growing trend of snacking as well. Most research show that berries are usually used for breakfast and snacking, especially in the case of the young demographics. The “snacking trend” is everywhere, and the frozen berries segment is not an exception.

“THE FUTURE WILL BE A MERGE BETWEEN
ONLINE AND OFFLINE RETAILERS”

One interesting and inspiring talk came from Eric Li – Yiguo, which said that even though in the past the commodity was the fruit, now that is no longer valid in China. The new commodity now is data.

E-commerce of fresh food is blooming in China and this phenomenon shows how important data and market intelligence is. Technology and innovation is changing everything and continuously communicating with the customers is the key. Over 20% of the consumers in China do their shopping online, and the penetration rate for fresh food is already 5%. It is expected that it will reach 20% during the next few years only.

Right technology is the key

Since we are talking about technology, the event didn’t lack the presence of interesting technological solutions for producers and processors. OctoFrost had the pleasure to present the OctoFrost IQF freezer, which can address the growing trend and growing market share of frozen berries in the best way possible. Our colleague Anna Dyc explained how producers can turn their berry loses into business opportunities with the help of innovative high-end IQF technology.

As the processors noted, the food safety legislation in the freezing sector is much tougher than the ones in the fresh sector, therefore choosing the right equipment must be the key decision when entering this segment.