All Aboard! Where To? Mmmm Not Quite Sure!

There’s so much happening in the world of food, and we do our best to explain past and anticipate future developments in the global food industry for you. For example, we have talked about:

  • demographic and lifestyle changes in all markets that are driving growth in meal solutions at the expense of “traditional ingredients”;
  • the 3 meals a day family eating format breaking down as mini-meals and snacking surge across the world;
  • consumers seeking fewer, more natural, “pronounceable” ingredients;
  • some dairy products declining but sales of plant-based proteins going through the roof!;
  • a ferociously competitive global retail sector with the big guys desperate to stem market share losses and return to sales growth and distinct polarisation between the discount and premium ends of the retail spectrum;
  • on-line grocery finding its place in many markets and the increasing convergence of food retail and food service;
  • retail brands (private label) edging forward in some countries at the expense of secondary national brands; although stalling where retail range rationalization has taken a severe toll on manufacturer and retail brands in mature markets;
  • increasing concentration in big agribusiness with the Giant Six firms emerging as the Gigantic Four;
  • “Big Food Bad Food” struggling in developed markets and hell bent to change radically their portfolios and partner with or purchase fast-growing start-up companies with natural and artisanal credentials;
Prof David Hughes II.jpg

Here is David, talking in Canada about the huge growth in consumer and investor interest in plant-based protein foods.

  • environmentalists clamouring for new agricultural and food production models to respond to a burgeoning global population which is upgrading its diet to more premium meat proteins (although in developed markets, per capita meat consumption has clearly peaked);
  • and, then, of course Brexit – with the prospect of an end to 32 months of food deflation in the UK as sterling plummets against other major currencies;
  • yet, notwithstanding the neo-Malthusian outlook associated with global population growth and dietary change, world food commodity prices have been in slow decline for 5 years or so (only stabilizing in the past 4-5 months). With an increasingly unpredictable climate, are we to face the spectre of a return to hyper-price volatility for food staples?;
  • and, as consumers increasingly seek more “credence attributes” in their food and drink (e.g. free-range/-from, “green”, socially-conscious, known provenance, etc.), then, so the risk of food fraud grows with the consequential threat to major manufacturer and retail brands.

Mercadona Fresh Produce.jpg

Fresh produce is one of the key sections for the Spanish Grocers, competiting with independent greengrocers.

There’s so much more that will have a direct impact on the future of your business in this second half of 2016. Next year will be a raucous ride – buckle up seatbelts and crash hats on!

This Summer, David and Miguel are travelling to Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, South Korea, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Spain. So expect some “exotic” posts during this period – we’re collecting food industry insights for our Autumn talks. If you’re mulling over 2017 and beyond business plans we are ready to speak to your board, senior managers, present and prospective customers, or other stakeholders, discussing topics in English or in Spanish.

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About the authors
Prof David Hughes: Around the world, David speaks to senior agribusiness and food industry managers about global food industry developments that are and will affect their businesses and industry. Energetic, engaging, humorous and insightful, David gains the very highest evaluations at seminars, conferences and Board level discussions in every continent he visits. Miguel Flavián: works for several Spanish organisations and companies to help them to learn from the developments of the British grocery market and improve their business back home.
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