Despite the economic gloom, food and consumer goods companies can still prosper if they follow a five step plan utilising a new model for growth, according to international food and grocery experts IGD.
Speaking at the opening of the IFM conference in Paris, the chief executive of IGD Joanne Denney-Finch unveiled the plan:
- Involve consumers more closely in developing new products and services
- Combine regular small improvements with some really bold decisions
- Invest in building skills
- Focus on improving resource efficiency
- Build stronger partnerships through the supply chain
Joanne Denney-Finch, chief executive, IGD, said: “Although delivering growth has become much more difficult, it is still possible if the right steps are taken. And it’s in tough times like these, that the best companies make the fastest progress and gain the greatest advantage.
“Involving consumers in business decisions is the ‘holy grail’ for our industry. We’ve been getting steadily better and now because of digital communications we can engage with shoppers on a much bigger scale. A demonstration of this comes from the My Starbucks Idea website, which has around 27,000 suggestions for new coffee based drinks and over 12,000 food ideas.
“A closer consumer relationship can then be used to improve the shopper experience. The growing interest in provenance, for instance, allows food companies a way to promote quality and loyalty – a key asset for food and drink in the regions of France.
“It’s still crucial to get the basics right and make constant improvements, but this needs to be combined with some bold decisions. For example, a packaging-free store has opened in Texas called ‘in.gredients’ where shoppers bring their own containers to fill, while in Korea Tesco is projecting virtual stores onto metro station walls allowing shoppers to order products for home delivery using phones and QR codes.
“People are the make or break in any plan, so it’s vital to unlock the creativity of all employees as any one of them could be the source of the next innovation. It is encouraging that an IGD poll of consumer goods companies this year found 56% are raising their training budgets, while only five per cent are cutting back.
“Despite the tough trading conditions, growth is still possible under the new model with its increased focus on consumers, teamwork and taking some risks while getting the basics right.”
Notes to editors:
- IGD provides information, insight and best practice to the food and grocery industry worldwide
- Joanne Denney-Finch was one of the opening speakers at the IFM conference in Paris on 22 November 2011
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