Understanding consumer trends and demands will be key in any national food strategy
I spent a lot of time talking at a very high level about a National Food Strategy for Canada. Let’s now dig a little deeper and see how it might impact the various food sectors in the Canadian food industry. But first, let’s dig a little deeper into consumer trends. I discussed this, too, on a very global level in one of my earlier articles. I talked about global markets, demographics, even climate change, but I want to get a bit more specific about the consumer now.
Information in this area is very complex, so I have tried to narrow the trends down into several segments recognizing the demographic and psychographic aspects of food. I get down to five general segments of the consumer market, particularly as it exists in the developed markets but also in the rapidly developing markets. Remember, these segments overlap – people can be part of several of these groups. These are:
So there they are. This is what I see from all the consumer data and marketing discussions I hear. And my estimates of the size of these groups are very much a rough guess derived from conversations I’ve had with people in the industry. Forgive me if I’m way off base.
So where am I going with this information? Well, I want to try to use these consumer segments to look at the various segments of the Canadian Food Sector. For example, what are the potential implications, both challenges and opportunities, for, say, the Canadian red meat sector or the grains sector or horticulture? As I’ve said before, I see a number of “business units” that need strategic plans tied in with the Canadian National Food Strategy, but allowing for differences from one business unit to the next. These are in my terms:
Over the next few articles I want to take those consumer trends and see how they apply to these business units and what strategies might result. In other words, how might our existing “brands” (such as Canadian Pork, Canadian Barley, etc.) need to respond? Are there new brands that we might focus more on (like Canadian Craft Beers)? Let’s keep digging.
Gary Fread is president of Fread & Associates Ltd., consultants to the food industry. He has spent 25 years in management positions in the food processing industry, with a background in sales, logistics, purchasing and technical areas. He has worked with Procter & Gamble, Campbell Soup and Morrison Lamothe, and is the past president and CEO of the Guelph Food Technology Centre. He is active in many food industry associations and organizations, serving on the boards of several. Contact him at [email protected]