All human beings function as true biological machines and we all know that a machine does not function without fuel. Food is our fuel and occupies a place of constant importance in the life of any person, since all the biological processes essential for the development of daily activities depend on it. More and more people are aware that good nutrition plays a key role in the prevention and treatment of disease. Thousands of years ago, Hippocrates already stated: "let your food be your medicine and let your medicine be your food". But how is this reflected in the new consumer?
In an environment where markets, products, technologies, competitors, legislation and even entire societies are changing at a rapid pace, where the evolution of the social, economic and technological context has had a high impact on citizens' consumption habits, the vast majority of the population is increasingly concerned about the health properties, origin and sustainability of food, not to mention the management of the family budget.
Easy access to and use of digital devices connected to the Internet creates new consumer habits and significantly changes the factors that influence consumption. All these changes in consumer habits raise another question: what are the expectations and demands set by the consumer, and how can they be met?
The fundamental challenge is to satisfy the constant search for products that offer comfort, health, well-being and sustainability associated with the art of consumption, products that generate confidence, pleasure, coexistence and unique experiences.
In this scenario, companies are constantly faced with the challenge of innovation in order to differentiate themselves and maintain their position ahead of their competitors, for which they must present a product that is capable of:
- Creating value by accessing new possibilities and natural ingredients, to provide a higher quality of life and to guarantee the absence of ingredients harmful to health;
- Promoting quality, safety and profitability (smart buying);
- Demonstrating your commitment to sustainability and social responsibility;
- Providing the consumer with a pleasant experience along with a lasting memory;
- Facilitating rapid purchase and consumption for better time management.
Companies in the food industry can be very different from each other. However, being from the same sector they face similar challenges. Understanding what these challenges are and how best to overcome each of them is essential to anticipating and ensuring business success.
The issue associated with changes in consumer habits and access to information must be seen by companies as an opportunity to reposition themselves, offer superior qualities and communicate this information to the consumer as added value. It is important to emphasise that companies must be able to communicate in a clear and objective manner across various media, as well as being more transparent in order to ensure confidence in the product and the brand based on its credibility.
Companies must be able to demonstrate that the benefits, quality and food safety promised by their products are genuine. One way of responding to the requirements of this challenge, imposed by the market and the consumer, is through certification, whether it be for products, services, management systems or sustainable responsibility chains. Today it is of utmost importance to look for certification bodies that are able to offer and develop a collaboration that implies added value, provides trust and credibility, and that this translates into an easy way to communicate with customers and final consumers.
Certification is a powerful tool for establishing trust and can be used by companies wishing to position their products in highly demanding markets of high-purchasing power. The seals or certificates issued mean that the companies, products or brands meet internationally recognised and highly demanding requirements with a high level of credibility.
Finally, a transformation is taking place that is characterised by a "back to basics" trend. The "basic" refers to the composition of the food, in which priority is given to ingredients of high-quality with guarantee of origin, to the detriment of complex and non-transparent compositions. It is a question of promoting simple foods that have high added value and, in addition, knowing how to communicate in a direct, clear and transparent manner.
Agrifood Business Developer