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Are you ready for Generation Voice?

Lisa Cork at Asia Fruit Logistica
“The Internet of Things and connectedness will change how we all market fruit and vegetables”, Lisa Cork at Asia Fruit Logistica
 

 

These are the megatrends fresh produce marketers must prepare for

 

Generation Voice will revolutionise digital retail. And it’s just one of various global macro trends set to shake up every fresh produce business. Lisa Cork, CEO of Fresh Produce Marketing Ltd, says we’re in a time of unprecedented disruption, but this brings opportunities for incredible differentiation. The way to survive and thrive is to understand what’s coming, she says. In a session on September 5 at Smart Horticulture Asia, part of the Asia Fruit Logistica show in Hong Kong, the New Zealand-based expert shared her advice on just how to do this.

The era of Voice activation

When she started out in fresh produce marketing over 25 years ago, Cork said there was one clear target to influence – the female household shopper. But fresh produce marketers today face a never before seen degree of demographic diversity. Now there are 6 main demographic groups to take into account – Silent, Boomers, Generation X, Millennials and Generation Z – plus the game-changing Generation Voice. The latter will be the generation that, from a very young age, verbalises commands into all sorts of audio devices, including phones and home speakers, and has the power of purchasing and influence in its hands from a far younger age than ever before. The fact that this generation will grow up with voice as its predominant interaction with technology “changes everything about how we do everything,” Cork said.

Capitalise on increasing 
connectedness

The Internet of Things, or IoT, is all about connectedness. This trend has been driving us for the last decade and it’s only getting stronger. “We are seeing a whole new way of connecting with the devices in our homes,” said Cork, who went on to share examples including the Samsung smart fridge. Aptly called the Family Hub, this fridge allows people to manage their fresh food like never before, including to see inside it from anywhere with built-in cameras, create and share digital shopping lists, look up recipes on its touchscreen, scan product barcodes, and order groceries online. Cork urged fresh produce companies to start thinking about the implications of the latter, namely how to get their brand into consumers’ hands when doing replenishments via a smart fridge. “The Internet of Things and connectedness will change how we all market fruits and vegetables,” she said.

Don’t dismiss 
plant-based diets

What’s the biggest food trend now? Cork says it’s probably “food mindfulness”, which is all about plant-based protein and diets. Some people say it’s a fad but Cork is adamant it’s here to stay. “Two generations from now, they are going to look at those of us who ate meat in horror and wonder how we allowed our diet to do the damage it did to the planet,” she said. This goes well beyond things like non-dairy milk and yogurts to things like chicken and egg replacements that taste just as good, and even meats made from real meat cells. And people are voting with both how they eat and their money. The brand Just has already sold 10 million egg equivalents of its “Just egg” product made of mung bean and Beyond Meat saw its shares surge more than 500% after its May initial public offering. Who is interested in such new foods? Consumers who are environmentally aware, against animal cruelty, who want to avoid saturated fats and those against mass scale farming and degradation. People are becoming incredibly food conscious, from preteens choosing to be vegetarian through to 40-50 year olds and even senior consumers who are starting to spend with companies who are more mindful about food production.

Protect your brand 
identity online

The digital revolution is causing major disruption in retail and not all of its impact so far has been good for fresh produce brands. One thing Cork is regularly seeing in western countries is a loss of brand identity online, “and the moment you lose that, you lose the ability to command a premium,” she warns. Produce companies that have made double-digit million dollar investments in branding, logos, product photography and marketing in brick and mortar stores can find that online all that aesthetic is lost and instead generic photos of the relevant fruit or vegetable are used to represent their products on sites such as online stores and shoppable recipe platforms. Similarly, the product descriptions are often bland and fail to transmit what is special about the brand. The fact that these problems are not the norm in China, which pioneered online retail and appreciates brands, shows all this is not due to a lack of technology, Cork stressed.

 

How to proactively prepare for the future

  • Sign up for omni channel shopping – it’s the fastest way to learn about what’s happening with brands, replenishment and recipe lists, and so on. Download and try shopping apps and services like Amazon Go, Peapod, etc.
  • Say your brand’s name into voice – assisted shopping apps and see what happens. Cork says you may be surprised – most brands don’t cut the mustard because their name is too complex or associated with another, non-produce brand.
  • Be clear on your brand strategy –  you need to define who you are and who you are targeting because voice will completely change the way you need to market your product.
  • Learn how to optimise how your brand looks online –  including creating high impact tiny images for people shopping on phones.
  • Prepare to make mistakes – that’s the only way you’ll learn what works, especially in places like China where you have to jump in and adapt your brand strategy on the fly.
  • Find plant based protein products and eat them. Participate in the trend.
  • Seek out the leading companies among AgTech startups and understand the 
    innovation they bring to the industry.

 

BY JULIE BUTLER
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Israel’s Fresh AgroMashov starts June 28

Fresh AgroMashov, Israel, is an international exhibition attracting the world's leading players in the marketing of fresh agricultural produce.

The next edition of the Israeli agricultural showcase Fresh AgroMashov takes place June 28-29.

The location for this event – and one of the secrets to its success – is the rendezvous point of Asia, Europe and Africa – Tel-Aviv, specifically at the Israel Fairs & Conventions Centre.

Promising a vibrant mix of conference and exhibition elements, Fresh AgroMashov 2016 is expected to double the number of presenting companies and visitors.

This year the focus will be on the leading players in the marketing of fresh agricultural produce.

“The increasing quality of life in Eastern Europe and the Far East offers fascinating new marketing opportunities and channels for growers and marketers of fresh produce worldwide. The exhibition for marketing of fresh produce – Fresh AgroMashov – is one of the pivotal international meetings in the world of dynamic trade in agriculture,” the event organisers said in a press release.

“The existing Western European market is supplemented by new Eastern markets that are changing the rules of the game in the area of agricultural produce marketing. Following the rise in quality of life in Russia, Ukraine, Poland, India and China, Eastern Europe and Asia, (they) have become important destinations in the marketing of agricultural goods.

“These developments were paralleled by a decrease in the purchasing power of Western European countries that were considered as major consumption players, forcing growers and marketers to acknowledge and accept the new rules of the game in terms of new major players in this dynamic market.

“Both the new and old players will be our guests at this year’s international Fresh AgroMashov exhibition,” they said.

Important topics attracting presenters and visitors to this edition of the Fresh AgroMashov international exhibition are those of taste and health. These important factors for modern consumers will also be addressed at the exhibition’s central symposium.

For more information: http://agro.mashovgroup.net/

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Why the PMA is reaching out more to younger Americans

PMA chairman Kevin Fiori explains the reasons behind marketing fruit and vegetables to young people as cool and convenient and ‘one big iconic brand’ .

Marketing fruit and vegetables to young people as cool and convenient and ‘one big iconic brand’ is one of the goals of a campaign in which the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) is now involved. New PMA chairman Kevin Fiori, also vice president of marketing for Sunkist Growers, explains why this matters and key trends in America’s fresh produce consumption.

Why is the PMA is investing $1 million this year in the new Partnership For A Healthier America initiative, FNV, promoting fruit & vegetables to teens and young adults?

The FNV campaign (www.fnv.com/) is designed to build an emotional connection to fruits and vegetables among young Americans using marketing strategies and tactics relevant to them. Health and nutrition messaging is obviously a strong motivator for making better choices, but it’s nothing new and research shows it’s not changing the mind of the ‘skeptical’ teen who is choosing the heavily-marketed, less healthy options over what s/he might find in the produce department. We need to take our marketing straight to younger demographics in their environment – on social media, through their local community activities and with the help of their favorite celebrities.

What trends are you seeing in fresh fruit & vegetable consumption in the USA?

According to Produce for Better Health Foundation’s 2015 State of the Plate research, which PMA co-sponsors, children of all ages are consuming more fruit “as-is” and they are consuming more of it at all meal occasions. This research further emphasizes the importance of programs like eat brighter!™ and FNV to leverage these trends to continue increasing consumption.

From the foodservice perspective, menus and recipes are evolving to deliver global inspiration and local sourcing to better serve consumers changing preferences and expectations.

According to the National Restaurant Association’s What’s Hot in 2015 chef survey, healthful kids’ meals and providing produce sides in kids’ meals are among the top trends. Kids’ menus Increasingly include bolder, global flavors and healthy, smaller versions of items from the adult menu, featuring whole grains, vegetables, oven baked items and entrée salads.

Who else is eating more fresh produce?

According to The Packer’s 2014 Fresh Trends, Asian and Hispanic consumers are the demographic groups most likely to serve fresh produce every day and Produce for Better Health’s 2015 State of the Plate report found many demographic groups are eating more fruit.

Hispanics make up 17% of the population, approximately 54 million people. and are the fastest growing ethnic group in the country. That combined with the fact Hispanic spending power is projected to reach nearly USD $1.7 billion by 2017 mean this consumer segment will continue to influence food and flavor choices for years to come.

And who is eating less?

According to PBH’s 2015 State of the Plate report, almost all age and lifestyle groups are consuming fewer vegetables compared to 2010 report (with the exception of teens and adult males ages 18-34).

The trend towards convenience may be contributing to this decline because as consumers seek to simplify their in-home meal preparation they use fewer ingredients, exclude side dishes that are difficult to make or time consuming, and/or opt for ready-to-eat frozen meals or store prepared meals, all of which can decrease vegetable consumption. Other barriers impacting vegetable consumption include uncertainty about how to prepare them and concerns about spoilage.

Why do transparency and authenticity matter so much?

Demonstrating both is the first step to gaining credibility and loyalty with consumers. Fast Company recently noted, “as technology generates more transparency, consumers will hold businesses to higher standards, with no room for fabrication or deceit”.

This year we will see growing consumer concerns with not only the authenticity, origins and integrity of food products, but how they are made, by whom, and with which ingredients. Transparency and authenticity will continue to be key variables to generating a “unique value” for companies in the future because unlike prices, products and technologies, they cannot be duplicated. Millennials have the strongest inclination to spend more on products from companies investing in social and environmental betterment.

Why are millennials so important?

It is vital that we engage millennials now and in the future to continue driving fresh produce consumption in this country. This demographic represents a quarter of the U.S. population (according to Nielsen data), and they’re now having children of their own. We need to enter their space (mobile, social media, etc.) and address their concerns

What can the F&V sector learn from the floral industry?

The floral industry thrives by making an emotional connection with the consumer, every day selling a product (flowers) not because the consumer needs them but because they want them. In today’s produce industry, the consumer has many year round varietal options. We must drive the emotional connection.

JB