- On May 24, 2021
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- 2021trends, consumertrends, coo, foodandbeverage, operations
Operations Leaders Prepare Food and Beverage Companies for Shifting Trends
For any company to be successful, it is essential to keep up with the latest consumer trends. This is especially true in the food and beverage industry. According to the US Department of Agriculture, 21,435 new food products are released every year (1)! With more and more competitors entering the marketplace each day and consumer preferences constantly changing, food manufacturers and distributors need to be able to quickly adapt their production processes to accommodate the latest trends. While traditionally the head of sales or marketing would be considered the champion of trends, operations leaders play a pivotal role in successfully adjusting to 2021’s new food and beverage trends.
Give Consumers the Transparency They Are Asking For
Total transparency around the sourcing, production, and nutritional value of food are increasingly important to consumers in 2021. 60% of consumers are interested in learning more about where their food comes from and how it is made (1). This takes the term ‘clean label’ to a whole new level, as consumers want to know how sustainable and humane a product is, in addition to its health benefits. But is no longer enough for consumers to just read a nutrition facts label and “take your word for it” that the product has been responsibly sourced and produced. Customers want to know what farming practices were used to grow the raw ingredients in their food products and if the workers who harvested these ingredients were treated and compensated fairly. They want to know that the production processes in the processing plant were sanitary, free of allergens, and sustainable (i.e. clean energy practices and waste reduction).
Technology that allows for full supply chain visibility, from farming practices for raw ingredients all the way to storage and delivery methods to direct consumers, gives operations leaders the insights they need to provide customers with a complete background on the products they are consuming. Customers have confidence that the food they are eating has been produced sustainably, ethically, and with their health in mind.
Zero Waste and Greater Profits
“Upcycling” and repurposing byproducts that would previously go to waste is also a leading trend for 2021’s food and beverage companies. With the population growing and expected to exceed the world’s food supply by 2050, finding innovative ways to reduce food waste while also creating delicious new products is top-of-mind for consumers and operation leaders alike. One example is an orange juice manufacturer. Rather than discarding the peels of the oranges, they can be used as feed for livestock or even repurposed to create an entirely new product, like candied or chocolate-covered orange peels. The juice manufacturer can produce the product themselves or even sell the orange peels to another company, possibly a candy manufacturer. This results in less waste, more profits, and capitalizes on the growing consumer trend to go “zero waste.”
Technology that allows operations leaders to track your entire production cycle, including which and how many of each byproduct is being produced at each stage, lets companies identify opportunities for reducing waste and uncover opportunities for upcycling. You can also make consumers aware of your sustainability effort by marking your products as upcycled or zero waste and providing them with insights into your sourcing and production. This incentivizes them to purchase your products guilt-free!
Consumers in 2021 expect food and beverage manufacturers to maintain high levels of corporate responsibility. This includes greater visibility into production processes as well as more sustainably sourced ingredients. Operations leaders play a key role in adjusting to these trends and helping their company thrive in an increasingly competitive marketplace.