During a customer event in Chicago at the end of last week, Puratos has released the results of a large-scale in-depth survey into consumer attitudes and choices related to bakery, pastry, patisserie and chocolate. Both the survey and the event are part of Taste Tomorrow, an initiative started earlier this year by Puratos Group to offer its customers insights into consumer behaviour and to inspire them to innovate their businesses. The results of the survey include ten major trends with global reference and uncover clear differences between emerging and established markets.
Industries and markets around the globe are facing increasingly greater challenges. One of the main challenges is the fact that consumers are becoming more outspoken and demanding in their food choices. But, their consumption behaviour is often conflicting and even paradoxical. In order to help its customers to face up to these challenges and to inspire them, Puratos Group started Taste Tomorrow, a unique industry initiative and a platform for knowledge-sharing amongst key players in the industry. The initiative is also supported by a closed online platform for large account customers, where they can find further data and inspirational updates. At the heart of this initiative lies a unique global survey, which will be repeated every three years, that looks at consumer attitudes and trends in bakery, pastry, patisserie and chocolate.
During a Taste Tomorrow event in Chicago (USA), which is part of a series of events around the world that started in April this year with a regional event in China and that will continue until mid-2013, Puratos Group has released the results of this global survey. The research results provide unique global and local insights into ten emerging mega-trends with global relevance in the food sector and provide product manufacturers with actionable information that will enable them to adapt their product innovation and development to current and future consumer needs.
The results centre on a number of paradoxes, which reflect the consumer attitudes – for example, health vs. Indulgence, tradition vs. Innovation, and artisanal vs. Industrial. A further evaluation of the findings uncovered four major topics.
1. The difference in perception about the future of food is driven by the market stage
One of the major observations resulting from the study is that how consumers perceive the future of food is defined by whether they live in an emerging market in a growth phase or in a mature market facing an economic downturn. Emerging markets like the BRIC countries, Mexico and Turkey are optimistic and forward thinking, whereas the mature markets like Germany, UK, France or Japan are the most sceptical about the future of food. The Americas confirm the paradoxical situation and show a mix of hope and doubt.
2. Today’s consumer is critical, pragmatic and demanding and wants the best of both worlds
A leitmotif throughout the results of the survey, is consumers’ paradoxical behaviour. Consumers want quality and a good price; they want to indulge and live healthily; they want tradition and innovation; they want authenticity and convenience. In brief, they want the best of both worlds. With critical and demanding consumers, future-proof brands and products will have to be
transparent in what the product stands for. As a result, storytelling and authenticity are becoming increasingly important.
3. Nutritional value and overall perception of quality are two main dimensions of ‘future food’
The nutritional value is about naturalness and taking things directly from nature. Added health and functional benefits have a future if consumers do not have to sacrifice indulgence, pleasure or taste. Also, products with less sugar or less salt clearly have potential for the future. So, the future is about the combination of launching new products that respond to these nutritional expectations and reassuring consumers on the food production process and taste. As far as an overall perception of quality is concerned, consumers expect improved quality in a general sense: the intrinsic quality of the final product, the packaging, transparency in the labelling and a buying experience connected to their 21st century lifestyle. This means more consumption on-the-go, focus on delivery of food at home or at work, sensory experiences in shops, positive connotations from city brands or concept stores.
Both the importance of nutritional value and an overall perception of quality offer specific approaches to consider: attention to packaging, the display of products, concept stores or the exploitation of local ingredients and recipes.
4. In bread, pastry, patisserie and chocolate, it’s about local taste and convenience
Great taste, with local favourites as a reference, is a future-proof concept. Consumers love their local flavours and products and will continue to buy them. But it is important to keep convenience in mind. Consumers are eating on the move more and more. In that way, food products will have to go to the consumer instead of the other way round. It is not only about what they will consume but how they will consume it. At different moments and places: on the go, fresh delivery, snacking concepts, etc. So there are plenty of innovation opportunities in line with the increasing need for comfort and convenience.
Daniel Malcorps, CEO of Puratos Group, concludes: “With Taste Tomorrow, we want to help our customers to turn today’s challenges into tomorrow’s opportunities. We are convinced that innovation is key to unlock future success. And at Puratos, consumer insights and understanding is always the starting point of our innovation process.”