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High velocity change in the food/consumer products sector

I’m in Manhattan tomorrow, speaking at an event for food, advertising and packaging companies on behalf of Readers Digest Food & Entertaining Division. 2008-RDA.jpg

I’ll be offering a late morning wrap up of observations about the high-velocity change that continues to envelop the sector, particularly the following trends. Dig through the blog — particularly, the retail or consumer product categories — and you’ll find a little bit more insight about each of them.

  • the new consumer is faster — and innovation isn’t just about new product design — it’s about reaching and interacting with the consumer in new and different ways
  • the new consumer is connected — and interactivity is the new brand foundation
  • the new consumer is no longer nuclear — and hyper-nicheing is the new brand reality
  • the new consumer is influenced differently — and social-networks are the new brand influencers
  • the new consumer is shifting their focus faster — and faster paced preference change is the new reality
  • the new product is rapidly re-defined — and time to market and corporate agility are the new corporate capabilities
  • the new product is up-side down as innovation changes — and partnership is the key method to speed things up

    Here’s one of the statistics in my deck — 71% of consumers are choosing to prepare meals at home rather than eating out; restaurant trips have declined from 1.5 times a week in 2006 to 1.2 times today.

    These statistics, from the Food Marketing 2008 US Grocery Shopper Trends report, came out before the economic challenges of mid-September and the problems on Wall Street.

    One of my key messages is that we live in a time when “volatility is the new normal” — a mantra I’ve been using for years — and food companies must learn to innovate faster to capitalize on such fast moving trends.

    We’ll probably see this particular trend pick up steam — and there’s opportunity for new advertising messages, branding campaigns, not to mention new product offerings!

    Faster is the new fast!

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