Emerging trends that can make a difference

A need for simplicity in a complex world, increased consumer empowerment, globalisation and rising stress levels are just some of the factors creating new demands on consumers and new opportunities for foodservice operators.

Ericsson ConsumerLab, the research department of global IT company Ericsson, has identified five key trends and we believe wholesalers and foodservice operators can use them to improve their business performance.

You are what you do

In this global society we constantly meet new people in different social contexts and through a variety of social forums.The days are long gone when people rarely interacted with people of a different class or type, and consumers nowadays define themselves not only by their material possessions but increasingly by what they have done or seen.

This gives foodservice operators an opportunity to attract business by ‘creating’ experiences such as themed nights or themed menus, and those that do so can credibly charge more and they can expect repeat business through word of mouth.

More power in consumers’ hands

The abundance of information on the internet and the development of smart phones has made it easy for consumers to research alternative brands, products and services and thereby make informed decisions.

Foodservice operators need to consider different marketing strategies. Word of mouth spreads quickly online and so foodservice operators need to spend time developing their on-line profile and cultivating their presence in social media.

The world at your fingertips

Mobile internet and smartphones have given consumers constant connectivity and apps are fuelling this revolution. App usage is becoming increasingly significant and is driving decisions such as which restaurant to use, where to go to spend leisure time and how to spend the discount voucher that has been received on line.

The use of apps gives consumers the power to personalise choice because they select apps that are relevant to their lifestyle and their reality, and so referring to their own apps has become part of their daily routines.

Foodservice wholesalers need to work with independent foodservice operators to help develop apps that can attract consumers to their Features > Business, whether through geography, offering discounts or through consumer appeal.

The hunt for simplicity

The complexity of everyday living is driving people to look for simpler solutions to everyday problems.

The acceptance of smartphones is a great example of this as it is a tool that gives consumers more control of their digital content and ultimately their lives

Consumers now use their smartphone for gathering information, booking events or tickets, reading the news, listening to music, storing and taking photographs. This one technology is making Walkmans, camera’s, diaries, books and newspapers obsolete.

This means that the smartphone is becoming the centre of information in a consumer’s life so it is vital for foodservice operators to have a presence on this piece of technology.

Anxiety on the rise

Consumers are becoming more anxious as a result of media coverage of incidents such as natural disasters, terrorist attacks the Eurozone crisis and the effects that the austerity measures have had on their living standards.

The foodservice industry needs to work harder on reassuring customers on issues such as food safety, care of employees and customers and the environment, and this needs to be demonstrated through actions that touch people and not via rhetoric and spin.

Could all of this be done through an app that provides information on local restaurants on such issues.

These five consumer trends can be used by the foodservice and wholesaling industry to establish the battleground for competing for today’s consumers custom, they can be used to establish dialogue with, and influence consumers and can be used to help consumers tailor the choices they make to suit the individual.

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