Changing consumer behaviour: Is your food production facility ready?

The overall picture of food consumption is one that is ever changing.

Agricultural advances and an increase in food availability have led to a change in dietary patterns and nutritional transition.

What we eat, how we eat, where we eat, and when we eat has changed beyond recognition from what would have been known by previous generations.

These changes are ongoing and food producers need to be prepared to ensure the right product reaches customers at the right time in the right place. Advances in technology mean consumers want things quicker and easier than ever before.

The below are just some of the factors driving this change.


Choice

This relates not only to the vast selection of food choices we have each day, but also the fact we choose when and where we eat our food.

Consumers are used to a huge range of choices when it comes to flavours, fat/sugar/or salt content, and of course quantities. More adventurous than ever, consumers are keen to explore new flavours and will be drawn to companies that cater for this choice.


Health conscious

As consumers, we are generally paying more attention to what exactly we are putting into our body.

With regards to food, transparency and honesty is expected from producers when it comes to on pack labelling. In times gone by, assertions may have been good enough, but consumers now require validation and proof of health benefits or claims made by food producers.

This is especially prevalent given the increasing levels of those experiencing intolerances or allergies to common ingredients such as gluten or lactose. Food producers which can provide for consumers with intolerances or which chose to adopt a vegan or vegetarian diet, will appeal to a wider audience.


Snacking

Whether on the go or at home, snacking is common practice.

Food companies need to meet the demand for convenience by providing either smaller packages that can be consumed on the go; or packages that are resealable allowing consumers to reduce waste.


Environmental awareness

As humans, we are paying more attention to sustainability than ever before.

Consumers are becoming more and more interested in how the food they are about to each was sourced, grown and the effect that has on their carbon footprint. Food producers should consider clearly communicating this information on packaging.

Plastic waste is a prevalent topic of conversation across the globe, and consumers are looking for ways to reduce use of single use plastics. Sustainable packaging options are available and should be explored by manufacturers within the food industry.


For further information on any of the above topics, please contact VSM on +44 (0) 28 9073 0153.