What Will Consumers Want from Food Companies in 2020?

Today’s consumer is demanding more control over their world. What would the food industry look like if consumers were in charge? In 2008 we put consumers around the world “in charge” and asked them what they want from food manufacturers in the year 2020. 

Ketchum’s “Food 2020: The Consumer as CEOstudy revealed how consumers’ view the food industry decisions and decision makers. In 2011 we repeated the study, this time asking c-suite executives, NGOs and analysts what to make of those expectations. This global research reveals just what tomorrow’s shoppers in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, China and Argentina will demand from our food agriculture, manufacturing and retailing leaders.

I recently attended the Institute of Food Technologists’ Wellness ’12 conference where I presented 2011 findings from part two of Ketchum’s “Food 2020: The Consumer as CEO” study. You can listen to my interview on IFT’s ePerspective blog highlighting the key findings:

  • The main reason for this global food trends study was to examine how consumers and brands are relating to each other especially, but not entirely, due to the growing use of social media.
  • Consumers believe they have more control over the foods they buy than marketers and companies believe they do.
  • Consumers want to be more of a partner with companies in designing and choosing how and what products are brought to market.  They are not satisfied with traditional consumer testing or surveying methods of new and existing products.
  • In 2008 and 2011, ‘healthfulness’ is the non-negotiable core value in choosing products and brands in every country surveyed around the world.  The term encompasses a broad category of values that far extends the concept of nutrition.
  • The #1 thing food companies need to do now is always consider that both values and value matter equally to consumers.