Foodservice Trends and Transitions – A Year in Review

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Bob Goldin, Executive Vice President of Technomic, a leading research and consulting firm servicing the food and foodservice industry, spoke to participants at the 2015 AFS user conference about the direction of foodservice and some of the key drivers of change. A year later much of what Bob shared has come to fruition and continues to drive our industry full speed into new and innovative ways to drive growth.

Bob foretold of two main shifts in an industry that historically had prided itself in independent, close to chest growth; collaborative partnership and data sharing. After attending GS1 Connects earlier this month, the parallel can be drawn that the two things are not so different. I witnessed firsthand how partnerships are being formed industry-wide between manufacturers, distributors, operators and even GPO’s to collaborate on data standards that will ultimately result in more effective data sharing across the industry all with the end goal of servicing consumer needs for information. Although the consumer may be driving these new relationships, all parties understand the ROI they face with this investment, access to focused insights that will allow all partners to drive growth in a highly competitive, low-margin landscape.

Bob went on to share that in a world where data is more broadly shared, technology will play a critical role in the successful data mining required to derive action from insights and develop short term plans that support long term strategies. All this data does not come without a caveat, data quality measures are still being developed and advanced analytics will require the advanced tools and people to effectively manage the desired outcome. Data mining of this magnitude can no longer be done using standard desktop tools like excel, companies will need to invest in technology designed to let the server be of service leveraging unique algorithms designed to support critical business processes such as:

  • Predictive analytics
  • Consumer specific market segmentation
  • Personalized Offers
  • Price Optimization
  • Laser Focused Targeting

Warren Buffet once said, “In the business world, the rearview mirror is always clearer than the windshield.” For many years, sentiments like these drove organizational leaders to try and navigate forward while looking backwards.

Technology is working at a rapid pace to change this perspective and provide organizations with dynamic mobile access to real time data intelligence that can be utilized by a non-sophisticated user to drive business decisions with confidence and ease. Industry partnerships are furthering this end goal through the creation and implementation of standards, processes and governance to support improved data sharing across the channel.

Bob was on par with his predictions for this past year and the after participating in events like IFMA World and GS1 Connects, I would wager the next several years to come as industry leaders come together to form and strengthen mutually beneficial partnerships that will strengthen their position on the plate.

A sale is not something you pursue; it’s what happens while you are immersed in serving your customer. – Unknown

Article by Sheryle Blasko – Foodservice Enterprise Account Director