Meet the Better Burger

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What does it take to make the perfect burger? Is it the sauce? The type of bun you use? Toasted or not? What about the ingredients? Fresh, organic, local? Some people like peanut butter on their burgers. Some like a big fat onion ring. Some just like it plain with a little bit of ketchup.

But all would agree that a great burger always starts with the meat.

The hamburger is one of your staple menu items. It’s the feel-good choice and it’s so versatile. Your guests arrive, sit down, order drinks, and open the menu. There they find not just one burger, but a plethora of gourmet choices your kitchen or your executive chef has created from just a simple base: a good, well-rounded, tender meat patty that’s seared to perfection.

You could create those patties in the kitchen, but that would take time away from building, tweaking, and monitoring the whole menu and making sure your guests are happy.

Don’t worry – we got you.

Albion Farms & Fisheries has just introduced a new machine to our family – the Burger Former – a high-speed production meat former that is designed to make the perfect hamburger patty. It offers endless possibilities with precision in mind – perfectly formed, exactly weighted and the right temperature, so that each burger patty is ensured even cooking and only the finest ingredients are included. We can make it pure beef, chicken, turkey or any other protein.

The difference is in the texture and the look – most conventional meat processors use a high-pressure form to create their patties. That damages tender meat fibers and creates a uniform look that looks, well, manufactured. But the Burger Former uses a gentle, low-pressure to form the burgers, creating a patty that looks and tastes like it was made right in your kitchen. Meat fibres aren’t crushed and destroyed. They are tender, juicy, and light. Because you can’t have a good burger without an excellent patty.

The Breakthrough of Kuterra Land Raised™ Atlantic Salmon

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Located on Northern Vancouver Island, one kilometre from the Pacific Ocean, is the ‘Namgis First Nation’s Kuterra Land Raised™ Atlantic Salmon farm. In the language of the ‘Namgis people, “kutala” means salmon, while “terra” means land. Therefore Kuterra means “salmon from the land”.

Albion Farms & Fisheries is proud to be the exclusive distributor of Kuterra Atlantic Salmon. Brock Farrall, Director of Purchasing at Albion Farms & Fisheries says, “The number one reason we distribute the Kuterra brand is because it is great tasting salmon.” According to Garry Ullstrom, CEO at Kuterra, “Kuterra Land Raised™ Atlantic Salmon is inherently a premium mild-tasting, firm flesh and low-fat composition salmon.”

Kuterra Land Raised™ Atlantic Salmon is high in good oils, which gives it an extra rich flavour with health benefits of omega-3 and -6 fatty acids, vitamin D, B-vitamins, antioxidants and protein. It is easy to cook and use in recipes. It mixes well with a lot of other flavours due to its healthy fat composition and mild taste. Kuterra Salmon is raised with no antibiotics because it is land raised, unlike ocean farm raised Atlantic salmon that requires therapeutic treatments to manage concerns arising from the different farming method. Additionally, Kuterra Salmon has no problems with sea lice, diseases, low oxygen levels caused by fluctuating water temperatures, storm escapes, or natural predators.

The Kuterra Land Raised™ Atlantic Salmon farming method and its distinctive rearing practices ensures the highest and healthiest quality of fish with the lowest environmental impact. The system’s discharges are captured, cleaned and filtered. The solids are composted and used to make environmentally sound fertilizers. The water is the cleanest, safest possible water for growing salmon. Most is reused, and a small amount is released into gravel beds on the site. There are no negative environmental impacts.

Mr. Ullstrom notes that “over the years the ‘Namgis First Nation had concerns about Atlantic Salmon ocean-farm rearing practices.” They determined that there was a better way to grow Atlantic Salmon that was environmentally sound and sustainable while protecting wild salmon. The ‘Namgis chose to start the Kuterra Land Raised™ Atlantic Salmon farm to show that Land Raised™ salmon is the future of sustainable salmon farming. He added that, “a two and one-half year analysis led by the Pacific Salmon Foundation, which is an independent charitable organization that protects wild Pacific Salmon, to assess the environmental impact of raising Atlantic salmon on land reported that there is no negative environmental impact caused by the Kuterra Land Raised™ Atlantic salmon farming method.”

Albion’s Mr. Farrall emphasized that, “We are very pleased with our business relationship with Kuterra. Kuterra is a brand name that stands for seafood sustainability with a great tasting profile. Everything one looks for in a quality brand name product.”

Interview with Musleh Uddin, Director of Quality Assurance, Albion Farms & Fisheries

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Although the boy could have chosen the economic route of operating the family seafood business, his love for the seafood industry guided him down the academic path. Therefore, instead of working in the seafood business with his family he chose to become a seafood scientist. Now Musleh Uddin with a Ph.D. and two Masters Degrees in Food Science and Seafood Technology has the best of both worlds. He is Albion Farms & Fisheries (AFF) Director of Quality Assurance concurrently supervising Post Graduate food science student and research programs at AFF for UBC and students from abroad. We recently had a chance to talk to this remarkable man and his passion for the seafood industry.

Albion Farms and Fisheries: Where were you born and raised?

Musleh Uddin: I was born in Cox’s Bazar, a major fishing port and district headquarters in Bangladesh. I was raised in several countries. The beach in Cox’s Bazar is the world’s longest unbroken sandy sea beach (120 km long). It is located 150 km south of the industrial port Chittagong. My family ran a black tiger shrimp farm and a medium size processing plant. They sold their product in EU and USA.

AFF: How did you get started in this business?

MU: I was raised in an economic (agribusiness) based family. I started working part time on my family business learned about seafood and the seafood industry first hand. My family wanted me to stay and take over the business one day but I became interested in learning about seafood and wanted to become a professional food scientist.

AFF: A food scientist? Where did you get your training?

MU: Instead of staying in the family business, I took the educational route. I earned a Bachelor of Science Honours’ degree in Fishery Science and then a master’s degree in Seafood Technology major fish processing and preservation. I received a scholarship from the Tokyo University of Fisheries, Japan and studied for six years sponsored by Japanese ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT). The University is renowned around the world as the leading educational institution in seafood studies and fishery science. The first year I conducted background research for proposed research topic and an intensive Japanese language course up to intermediate proficiency level required by the university. Next couple of years I worked on my second Master’s degree in food science (food quality major) then remaining three years I went on to earn my Ph.D. in Food Safety. I was offered a post-doctoral fellowship from the National Research Institute of Japan, which I completed in two years. I then received a second tenure-track fellowship from the Kobe University. Upon completion, I was offered a position as a research scientist with the National Research Institute of Japan where I worked on seafood quality and safety for three years. In total, I was educated and worked as a seafood scientist in Japan for over 12 years. I am fluent in my native tongue of Bengali, Japanese, Hindi and English.

AFF: How did you end up in North America with AFF?

MU: I wanted to touch, feel and smell the fish so I went to work for a large Japanese seafood distributor with branches in the USA and Canada. They offered me a job while I was working as an inspector for the Japanese government. I worked for them in Japan for one year then they offered me a position in the USA. At the time, I was married and we had a three-year-old son. They sent me to the USA for four months but I was not happy, so they offered to bring me back to Japan or take an equivalent job in any other country where they had facilities. I requested a move to Vancouver, Canada. Unfortunately, I was being underutilized according to my level of education, knowledge and abilities so, while at a conference in Vancouver, a former AFF President offered me a job and I have been here now for 9 years. I started as a QA Manager and have been Director of QA Corporate for four years. My wife who has her Ph.D. as a nutritionist working full time, and I now have two adorable boys ages 13 & 9 and we all love living here in Vancouver.

AFF: As Director of Quality Assurance, what are your responsibilities?

MU: I am obviously responsible for food safety, food quality, regulatory affairs, and sustainability however with the approval and encouragement of AFF executives, I have been able to utilize my fisheries and seafood scientific knowledge for the economic and technological advancement of the company. I am combining my academic achievements, influence and contacts to provide learning and research opportunities to the University of British Columbia (“UBC”) and international students majoring in the seafood, food science program. In addition to my QA duties, I have provided a platform for graduate students to conduct their thesis research projects in association with AFF and their respective universities. I have close ties to the UBC as an Industrial Advisor and I am an academic advisor with the Tokyo University of Fisheries, Japan. Each year I oversee the graduate research and thesis of two to four overseas students from Japan, South Korea, Germany, France, Brazil or Taiwan. These students receive scholarships from their respective universities and coming directly here at AFF or through the UBC. They have the privilege of choosing their supervisors, they are unpaid but they get to work on their research theses within a real-life business environment. The students are conducting research on a variety of projects that are intended to promote safer, better quality control and more sustainable seafood while at the same time focusing on the development of modern technologies benefits to AFF, the seafood industry and their respective universities. For example, some students have taken the challenge of changing any given seafood processing methodology that could lead to a safer, better quality, more sustainable and more profitable practice. Other students could be working on ways of utilizing discarded parts of fish such as using the oils in the skin/belly or scales of fish that can be converted into high quality collagen (protein) to be used in cosmetic products to protect, enhance or in some way provide benefits to human skin. Other students are pushing the limits of quality control by trying to find better working processes that require less time touching and handling the fish and therefore lowering the risk of cross-contamination.

AFF: What are you most passionate about?

MU: Without a doubt, I am most passionate about food safety, food quality and sustainability. Sometimes when I am shopping is a grocery store I observe people selecting their food and I can tell they know little or nothing about what they are buying because I know the food they are buying comes from a processing facility that has little or no concern for food quality also do substitution of high-priced fish with low-priced species by tempering common name.”

AFF: What is the most interesting thing happening in the seafood industry?

MU: The industry is constantly changing. New and better technology is introduced every second year. I want to make sure that the seafood available in market place is of the highest quality and safest for human consumption.  I want to see every company adopt these same standards. Several years ago, food safety was either very low or non-existent on a manufacturers list of priorities. Now the industry focuses on safety, quality and sustainability. I am doing what I can do to contribute to keeping the industry sustainable for future generations. Fifteen to twenty years ago, the industry was more reactionary in terms of food safety hazards. Today, we are proactive, protective and preventative.

AFF: What other interests do you have?

MU: As well as my responsibilities, here at AFF and my involvement with the universities and graduate students I am also a member of the International Seafood Inspectors Forum. We have about 200 members worldwide. We regularly discuss food safety issues and help establish policy. I also review articles for several scientific and trade journals. As a reviewer, I examine submitted articles prior to publishing. Most articles are submissions based on the latest scientific research works on analytical advancement, non-invasive/non-destructive rapid technology, food chemistry, food safety, food quality and analysis from industry experts, academic personal and researcher. I also contribute my own articles from time to time and frequently joining seminars, conference and workshops internationally.

AFF: What keeps you loyal to AFF?

MU: I enjoy working at AFF because of its beautiful working environment, exceptionally nice coworkers and senior executives. Guy Dean knew about me through my experience at the number one seafood science university in Japan. AFF GM, Danny Ransom has given me the flexibility to pursue my scientific passion allowing me to utilize my academic expertise and contacts. AFF has given me the opportunity to give time and space in our company for graduate students with their research while I maintain contact with the scientific and academic community. Most recently, I returned from a twelve-day trip delivering keynotes in seafood workshops held in Japan, Philippines and Hong Kong. I do not know of any other companies that have four food science graduates in their QA team and local/international graduate students working with them at any given time. I have the best QA team consists of four passionate food technologists including three UBC food science graduates! I am able to work every day on my passion of achieving safe, quality and sustainable seafood while continuing my connections with the academic and scientific communities.


So, the young boy who grew up loving the seafood industry is now doing his part to keep it safe and sustainable while sharing his knowledge with future generations of fervent seafood enthusiasts. That is why Musleh Uddin is respectfully referred to as the ‘Seafood Savant’.

An Interview with Guy Dean, Vice-President and Chief Sustainability Officer, Albion Farms & Fisheries

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Born in Calgary and raised on Vancouver Island, Guy Dean is one of the leaders in the Albion Farms & Fisheries organization. On his LinkedIn page, Dean speaks about his experience, being involved in the seafood industry for over 25 years as a farmer, harvester, fisher, processor and distributor.

Dean is passionate about supporting and promoting the consumption of sustainable seafood, particularly the long-term viability of the seafood industry. Dean sits on the board of several industry led foundations within North America including Sea Pact, of which he is a co-founder. Dean readily volunteers expertise regarding marketing of sustainable seafood and closed contained aquaculture to move the industry forward.

We spoke with Dean to discuss his storied career and his current role with Albion Farms and Fisheries.

Albion Farms and Fisheries: “How did you get started in this business?”

Guy Dean: “I started working on fishing boats in high school and throughout university. After earning a degree in Marine Zoology from the University of British Columbia, I went to work for a small independently owned salmon farm, scuba diving among other chores. The urge to travel and see the world took me to Japan to teach English however, my love of the sea and not so competent ability to teach English, brought me to a Japanese diving company as a commercial scuba diver where I volunteered on weekends until the owner broke down and hired me full time.”

Dean learned the language and developed a strong knowledge of the Japanese seafood industry. And upon his return to Canada his first job was working for a seafood processor focused on selling fish to Japan. As markets changed, and more and more business was created in North America, Albion Fisheries was one of his customers. When it was time for a change, Albion (recently acquired by GFS) approached him. He accepted the job offer and has been with Albion now for over 11 years. He went from two years of teaching English in Japan to where he is now, 27 years later in the seafood industry.

AFF: “Why have you stayed in the seafood business?”

GD: “What has kept me in the seafood industry is my experience and passion. In Japan, I was immersed in their service-oriented culture for seven years and throughout the rest of my career, I learned about many jobs from the ground up. My experience as a fishing boat hand, commercial scuba diver, primary processor, seafood product sales and distribution has given me the understanding of what it takes to achieve success in the seafood business.

“I have either made companies profitable or helped turn them around to become more profitable because I am good at what I do. I am an analytical thinker always considering three moves ahead much like a chess game.”

AFF: “What are some of the major changes that you have witnessed in the seafood industry?”

GD: “The industry has become more regimented and there is better control of the resource. In the past, the industry was run like a fishing derby. Catch as much as you can, as fast as you can, and sell as much as you can. Now there are individual quotas within each season. Times are staggered resulting in a consistent supply all year round. The catches are better quality. There is a lot less waste.”

According to Dean, the biggest and most important change is the focus on sustainability. Guy has always been a big proponent of sustainability and worked hard to see it materialize, grow and succeed.

AFF: “How did the issue of sustainability materialize?”

GD: “This happened because of the major financial support from environmentally oriented organizations like the Packard Foundation (from the Hewlett Packard company), the Moore Foundation (computer chip company) and the Walton Foundation (Sam Walton, Walmart). These foundations (and companies) have been the drivers of change. They have funded NGOs like Ocean Wise, Sea Choice and many others to conduct research that helps drive the sustainability philosophy, laws and fishing processes. What is ironic is that most fishers have always been focused on sustainability because their livelihood depended upon having a constant supply of seafood for them and their children to continue their lineage and way of life. Growing interest in sustainability also came from the processors and distributors via their customers who requested changes in fishing habits to ensure constant and plentiful supply. Seafood processors and distributors recognized that supporting sustainability reflected a positive corporate social responsibility.

“The whole view of sustainability is changing at first it was a black and white issue there was no grey area. Seafood suppliers took a staunch stance. If it was not sustainable, they would not carry it and a lot of seafood product was de-listed due to overfishing practices of certain species by private fishers. This meant foregoing a lot of financial benefit to these organizations just to make a point. However, in business money talks so (in reality) not much of the fishing practices changed. The fishers simply sold their catch to others who did not care about sustainability.

“Now the movement is spearheaded through a cooperative, educational continuous improvement approach. Programs like FIPS (Fish Improvement Projects) and AIPS (Aquaculture Improvement Projects) are focused on developing and implementing fishing improvement projects thereby making the fisheries more transparent. NGO’s that Albion works with like Ocean Outcome, Sustainable Fisheries Partnership and World Wildlife Federation are constantly introducing improvement projects to help make the industry more sustainable.”

One of Guy Dean’s major accomplishments is the co-founding Sea Pact. Created and operated by member businesses, Sea Pact sets the tone for what like-minded companies can do in a pre-competitive market. Sea Pact grew out of Santa Monica Seafood’s successful Responsible Sourcing/Vendor Partnership (RSVP) Program in collaboration with FishWise. RSVP educates the industry and customers on current issues as well as getting actively involved in those issues. FishWise combines sound science with practical, business oriented consulting to advise Sea Pact on improvement projects to fund, and how to best utilize their resources to promote positive environmental gains.

Knowledgeable, experienced, and passionate about seafood. One can understand why some people refer to Guy Dean as the rock star of sustainability within the seafood industry. You can connect with Guy online via his LinkedIn and Twitter profiles.

Transparency is Driving Change in the Food Industry

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Food and beverage industry consultant, David Henkes of Technomic, has prepared a research report for Emerson Climate Technologies outlining the ways in which consumer demands will drive change in the food industry by examining key trends through 2020. Here is what he has to say about transparency.

According to Linda Eatherton, of global food and nutrition practice Ketchum, “When questions don’t appear to be answered or clearly addressed, the assumption is we are hiding something.” Henkes reports that consumers want transparency, which comes in many facets: products, prices, performance and planet.

In regards to food industry products, consumers want to know where they originate from and whether food suppliers are following sustainability practices. They also want to know the growing and processing methods that are used and what ingredients and additives are in the food they consume.

Consumers are also becoming shrewder about the cost of food. What is the true ‘net’ cost and unbundled cost? Transparency in pricing will change operators’ behavior. Today pricing is inefficient. If there are 10 operators, 10 prices exist. Tomorrow, the advent of alternate communications channels, primarily through the internet, will introduce transparency.

How does the food industry fare from an operations point of view in terms of how their employees are treated? Forward thinking and successful companies know that their employees are the backbone of their operations, hence the move toward fair living wages and health benefits. Consumers will patronize companies that practice fair trade and have a diverse work force. However, they will not be so loyal to companies that provide outrageous executive compensation packages.

Saving and protecting our planet also plays an important role among today’s consumers. They are watching companies closely to ensure their operation has a positive impact on the environment, that they care about animal welfare, and that they implement positive conservation policies and performance.

Menus and food operations are under greater scrutiny than ever before. Forward thinking companies such as McDonald’s addressed the situation head on a few years ago with their ad campaign that featured consumers asking tough questions. One question being, “Do you use pink slime in your meat?” McDonald’s answered the questions head on, showing a distinct interest in being transparent.

Transparency is more important than ever as shrewd consumers are better informed and much more interested in their own well-being than ever before.


Polarization is Driving Change in the Food Industry

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Polarization is effecting change in the food industry, according to food & beverage industry consultant, David Henkes of Technomic. Mr. Henkes completed a study for Emerson Climate Technologies detailing the ways in which consumer demands will drive change in the food industry by examining key trends through 2020. Here is what he has to say about polarization.

Outside science, polarization usually refers to how people think, especially when two views emerge that drive people apart, kind of like two opposing magnets.

“The shrinking middle class is not going out as much because they can’t afford it. Food service industry operators have to address this group.” says NPD Group, a market research firm that provides consumer shopping trends, market information and advisory services to retailers and brands across 21 industries around the world.

Polarization is a growing factor affecting industry growth, pricing and profitability and policy. Value-oriented consumers are becoming more critical to growth. According to Emil Brolik, CEO Wendy’s, after disappointing 2016 third quarter sales, “If you look at the last 10 quarters in the industry, the price/value consumer growth has been stronger than the non-value customer.”

NPD Group reported that the third quarter of 2016 saw the largest decline in quarterly GDP in seven years, and the unemployment rate climbed. Inflation for groceries dipped below inflation for restaurants for the first time in two years, making restaurants less attractive for consumers.

Spending was up 2% and visits were up 1% in the third quarter, with spending outpacing food inflation. The average eater cheque kept pace with food inflation. A challenge is seen in the full service restaurant (FSR) segment in Canada when it comes to overall spend, (down 2%) but most sectors posted gains, (retail +15%, on-site +3% and QSR +2%).

Traffic performance told a different story. As Canadians cut back on restaurant visits, independent restaurants in particular, are suffering, with more than 6,000 closing in the past four years.

Rabobank, a leading partner to the corporate food, beverage, and agribusiness industry says that the food industry must adapt to an increasingly complex and disruptive landscape as consumers move away from heavily processed foods, towards less processed and more personalized options.

Specialization and Deconsolidation are Driving Change in the Food Industry

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Food and beverage industry consultant, David Henkes of Technomic, completed a study for Emerson Climate Technologies detailing the ways in which consumer demands will drive change in the food industry by examining key trends through 2020. This is what he says about specialization and deconsolidation.

It is on the rise. It will affect menus, operations and the number and type of industry participants. Market segments will become blurred and the overall market structure is changing. Single item specialists will flourish. Traditional retail and innovative foodservice alternatives will take share from others by diminishing restaurant advantages of enjoyable experience, quality and convenience.

The market structure is changing. Consumer options are expanding into all kinds of areas that did not exist on a large scale as early as five and 10 years ago. Areas such as next generation vending, kiosks and ‘pop-up’ stores will grow to 10 – 20 billion dollars. Personal/private chefs are providing everyday meals and special occasion dining. Food trucks, ‘grocerants’ (food as theatre e.g. Eataly), and snack boxes are on the incline. Fresh meals/kits and a larger variety of fresh prepared foods in the grocery store are more examples of specialized food service growth market segments. Internet subscription sites, like Amazon Fresh, Instacart and many others, including community supported agriculture farms and urban gardens, are expanding exponentially. Delivery services and food lockers like Blue Apron will grow to 3 – 5 billion dollars.

Traditional retail FPF will grow dramatically. 3,000 – 5,000 square foot mini-fresh stores like Little Waiterose, Rewe on the Grow, Goodness Me and Farm Boy are all in expansion mode. Farmer’s markets are expanding into year round operations.

Growth in the nontraditional* retail market between 2014 and 2024 is expected to be around 5.5% versus 1.5% in the traditional** retail market. Nontraditional retail represents 33% of growth versus 13% among traditional retailers.

In the foodservice industry, independent restaurants are expected to achieve 21% share of growth compared to Top 500 chains at 17% and all others at 16%.

In conclusion, business is fundamentally changing, change has major implications, supply chain will undergo a re-vamp,  and innovation, reach and efficiency are critical.

*Includes club stores, dollar stores, c-stores, fresh format, limited assortment, drug, on-line and other.
**Includes Supermarkets, supercentres, and mass merchandisers.

Technology and Big Data Driving Change in the Food Industry

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A food industry forecast commissioned by Emerson Climate Technologies and produced by David Henkes of Technomic, a consulting and research firm specializing in the food & beverage industry, has provided some interesting insights and intelligence into what will drive change in the food industry by examining key trends through 2020. Here is what Henkes has to say about technology and big data.

According to Nishat Mehta, EVP of global partnerships, Dunnhumby, exclusive marketer from Kroger food stores, “We make decisions not on what you bought today, but what you have bought over the last two years. You don’t have to know but we know.”

The foodservice industry is changing and recognizing the benefit of big data. “Food quality is still important, but it’s not number one anymore. Now it’s data, it’s analytics.” said Jeff Wineman, EVP New Business Development, Levy Restaurants, after losing a concession contract to the data-savvy Aramark.

Big data coming out of the analytics in the food industry is poised to affect pricing, product assortment, demand planning, forecasting, market reach, and effectiveness. For example, shopping and buying habits are changing. On-line research, shopping and buying is increasing and those with the most up to date analytics are the early winners. Many online operators in the food industry like Plated, Magic Kitchen, Freshology, and Peapod, as well as some leading brick and mortar operators, have taken a leadership position based on the data they have collected.

Even equipment manufacturers and distributors are getting into the big data/analytics game. Cooking equipment, commercial ovens, dishwashing equipment, worktables and stations, commercial sinks, and plumbing and faucets are some of the items featured on the website Wholesale distributors who specialize in non-food items required in the food service industry can use their online ordering system not only as a quick and easy purchasing platform but they also use the data from previous customer orders to recommend support products to their customers, thereby providing better service, and as a method of increasing their revenues.

Technology, big data, and analytics are definitely driving change in the food industry.

Localization Driving Change in the Food Industry

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Food and beverage industry consultant, David Henkes of Technomic, has prepared a research report for Emerson Climate Technologies detailing the ways in which consumer demands will drive change in the food industry by examining key trends through 2020. Here is what he has to say about the rise in demand for local food.

According to the National Restaurant Association in the United States, “farm to counter is not a passing fad; it is only going to get stronger.”

Eating locally produced fruits and vegetables, beef, pork, poultry and fish, among other foods, resonates with consumers and equates with the following feelings and conditions: social responsibility, fresh, clean, natural, food with a story, small business, high quality, sustainability, and wholesomeness. The definition of local is subjective and multi-faceted, having several combined meanings among consumers, operators and suppliers alike. For example, local can mean fresh and natural, a family owned producer, or delivered direct by the producer.

This growing shift to local food will affect menus, operations, purchasing, marketing, distribution and sourcing. Food retailers and restaurateurs are finding ways to highlight local ingredients by displaying signage and labeling in store and including statements in their menus highlighting which ingredients have been sourced locally. As ingredients change based on seasonality and availability, some quick serve restaurants are proudly displaying the names of farms that have supplied those ingredients.

Consumer Demands Driving Change in the Food Industry

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Let’s take a closer look at how David Henkes of Technomic, a consulting and research firm specializing in the food & beverage industry, observes how consumer demands will drive change in the food industry by examining key trends through 2020. Emerson Climate Technologies commissioned this food industry forecast.

Consumers are becoming increasingly health oriented.

  • They want fresh, natural, additive-free food.

Consumers are becoming increasingly polarized.

  • They are forming different priorities on value and service.

Consumers are focusing on ethnic choices.

  • They want bold, authentic, adventurous meals.

Consumer activism is on the rise.

  • They demand transparent, local, sustainable practices often through regulation/mandates.

Consumers are becoming urban.

  • They want convenient, sophisticated experiences.

While focusing on all of these demands consumers will continue to remain highly value-oriented.

Operators take these consumer demands seriously. In most cases; over 80% of operators agree that these new and changing consumer demands will have a moderate to great influence on purchase decisions in the future. The percentage of operators agreeing with the top seven consumer demands are as follows:

Humane animal treatment – 79%
No hormones/antibiotics – 79%
Sustainability produced – 82%
Clean labels – 82%
No Chemicals/pesticides – 84%
Buying local – 84%
Health & Wellness – 89%.

It is clear that operators, intent on succeeding, are listening to new and changing consumer demands, and taking them seriously.