As everyone who is involved in the food industry knows, it is a rapidly evolving landscape and consumer demand for higher quality products has never been greater. In this blog, Tony Hennessy, client solutions manager looks at new products being launched almost daily, and how the consumer is constantly facing a range of product choices they’ve never experienced before.
Consumers consistently demand that their food is of the highest quality and comes from manufacturers and producers who they believe are aligned with their personal beliefs and ideals. Some primary concerns include the ingredients used and where they come from – whether they are organic and non-genetically modified (GMO), and if the ingredients used were sourced responsibly and ethically.
Of paramount importance is whether the product is safe and free of any impurities and contaminants, and that the end product and individual ingredients come from sustainable and ethical sources. If the product is of animal origin, consumers want to see that it has been sourced from an animal which has been well treated and fed.
Sustainability is increasingly becoming a dominant factor in the decision-making process. Individuals are becoming more aware of their environmental responsibility, which includes a desire to support local growers and suppliers. Concerns around climate change are also having an impact on consumers and driving a desire for more transparency on produce labels, as well as concerns over a product’s carbon footprint.
Transparency around product labelling is now vital when trying to engage with consumers to build trust and brand loyalty. For example, healthier products which contain low sugar and fat are becoming more and more popular and clear information around healthy ingredients is a keen focus for many consumers.
Anyone with a food allergy can relate to how difficult it can be to establish whether a product contains ingredients which may be harmful to them. There are established standards in place for the labelling of potential allergens, however, more could be done to make it easier for the consumer to recognise them.
The majority of us have smartphones with access to the internet. Having the ability to scan a digital label or QR code which clearly lists that product’s allergens, healthy ingredients and nutritional values will provide the consumer a more user friendly and informative experience. By providing them with all the information they are seeking, in a simple and innovative way, will only help to contribute to long term loyalty to the brand.
One such initiative, SmartLabel® was created by a group formed by the Consumer Brands Association and the Food Marketing Institute, with the goal of making it easier for shoppers to find information about products. Typically, when scanning a label, the consumer will find nutritional information, a comprehensive list of ingredients and known allergens, along with other pertinent information about the product. In most cases, there simply wouldn’t be enough room on the packaging to fit all of that information without it leading to a confusing mess.
Huge sums of money are being invested into the sourcing and manufacturing of food and drink products that are increasing in demand, so ensuring that these benefits are clearly communicated to the consumer is an important part of the process. Technology such as SmartLabel® is a vital step in the right direction however without doubt, if businesses want to retain and increase brand loyalty, a more robust and transparent engagement with the consumer should be a driving factor.
Integrated Food Projects have partnered with Kettleby Foods on a number of high-profile multi-million pound capital projects since 2003/4, helping the business to develop and grow. Throughout that time they have provided cost-effective and efficient solutions on development projects both at our existing ready meals production facility and also in creating a new satellite facility. The projects at our existing facility were managed without impact on our ability to service our own clients, and all projects have been delivered within budget, in a timely fashion and to the requisite standards of safety and quality. Their team work ethos and professional approach ensure successful projects and I would utilise Integrated Food Projects in the future without hesitation.
- Jarrod Thorndyke, Production Director
I have worked with Integrated Food Projects on many capital expenditure projects since 2004, the latest being the development of the new plot of land adjacent to our main site. They successfully employed a project delivery process to ensure the integration of a leased modular building solution with the development of the site infrastructure to improve logistics and Health and Safety. Their staff are always positive and enthusiastic and have fostered a team-work approach ensuring another successful project delivered. I look forward to working with them again in the near future.
- Engineering Manager, Major UK Ready Meals Manufacturer