What started as a digital think tank on the jovoto platform went analog at the “NGIN presents: Future of Food & Beverages Conference by jovoto and Ignore Gravity”. The Future of Food & Beverages Think Tank kicked off the discussion with 973 submitted ideas, more than 50 000 ratings, and over 10 000 comments.
On October 28, 2016 over 250 decision makers, innovators, and experts from the food & beverage industry and startup scene met with creatives in Berlin to expand on the discussion started online. The event agenda included inspiring keynotes, panels, startup booths, and an exhibition of winning ideas from the Think Tank. Read on for an overview of the key takeaways!
Food and Beverages have become more and more identity-establishing
Ludwig Feuerbach, gastrosophy thought leader, once stated: “Man is what he eats.” Especially for the Generation Y, food and beverages have evolved into an identity-establisher, says Lars Wöbcke, former Head of Marketing & Communication at Nestlé Germany. This not only means “you are what you eat”, but also “you are what you don’t eat.”
Cooking is not losing meaning, but is redefining itself
In times of acceleration and rapid change, “cooking is not to be taken for granted anymore”. Food expert and founder of the futurefoodstudio, Hanni Rützler, adds that even the increase of new technologies and the access to more information do not necessarily lead to more cooking.
But Rützler stays positive: “We are going to reclaim cooking.” Innovative concepts, such as the social cooking app HOMELY – connecting people worldwide for a collaborative cooking experience via augmented reality – will help make this a reality. Renzo Vallejo, one of the winners of the crowdstorm initiative adds: “Cooking is about home, it’s this culture of transmission. Behind every recipe are people. Home is my grandmother’s orange cake.”
The consumer in midst of constant change
“When it comes to the consumer’s needs, it feels like more has changed in the past five years, than in the fifteen years prior,” Lars Wöbcke says. The causes are a changing value systems, paired with a new mindfulness. According to Hanni Rützler, this is a great chance since “people want to know again what they are eating.”
Marius Swart, Global Director Innovation & Entrepreneurship at Coca-Cola, adds: “The consumer is getting smarter because so much more data available.” In order to keep cultivating current customer relations, the industry has to operate more transparently than ever.
There’s one thing everyone agrees on: The market and its stakeholders are in the midst of constant change due to innovative technologies, value changes, and a new awareness in the way people eat and drink. The customer has become smarter and less brand loyal, while constantly challenging the status quo.
The future of retail is uncertain.
“Currently, more than half of all food products are being thrown away,” states Fabian Siegel, Founder of Marley Spoon. The delivery service allows customers to cook with fresh ingredients and seasonal recipes – without going shopping. “You need to know what people want to eat, so that you can deliver exactly that,” he adds.
Nowadays, the customer can be directly connected to the producer. A pressing question so arises: Is the supermarket doomed to die? “I believe trade will move into online more and more. This has not yet happened in the food industry, but it is about to change,” Siegel says.
In order to stay relevant, food retailers have to learn to inspire customers, tell stories around food, and orchestrate appreciation for food that is not available all year, Hanni Rützler rounds off the conversation.
What’s next? Impulses for Change
Both the digital and the analogue part of the global think tank have shown: How we eat and drink is changing – and the topic’s relevance is increasing. But an ambivalence toward the topic has also crystallized. Rapid transformation and an imperative of change on the one hand, the growing desire for consistency on the other hand.
The demand to the food & beverages industry therefore is: More sustainable, more innovative. The successful brand architecture of the future is value-oriented and based on sustainable food systems. Innovation requires collaboration – online and offline. Marius Swart encouraged the audience to do just that: “Try, learn by doing. You’ve got to start somewhere. There are plenty of resources that can help you.”
In other words: Don’t wait, innovate!
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