The consumer’s call for all products – food, cosmetics and luxury – is identical: quality and no fear from health hazards inside those products. How will these industry groups follow the trend and respond to that consumer demand? How can a vertical industry change to revert from processing to farming ?
These are the questions all industry leaders are asking themselves and this is also a political problem as it will need a lot of lobbying and effort to develop new regulations for these new consumer demands.
Most regulations in the USA and the EU are tailored to the industrial and chemical processed food, cosmetic and luxury product channels.
Peter Wennström is a leading brand consultant with more than 25 years experience at such outlets as Wennström Integrated, Health-Focus Europe and the Healthy Marketing Team, where he now serves as president. His FourFactors program is highly regarded by nutrition companies as a way to decipher the near-instant decisions made by today’s consumer at the point of purchase. He was interviewed by Nutrition Business Journal and we found it interesting to comment.
He visited Estonia, one of the smallest countries in the world, a few weeks ago to do a quick test with food industry representatives. He found natural, unprocessed, “like we did it in the good ol’ days,” handmade, local, artisan, products with a real history, with provenance. This is the trend in Estonia and an example to be reproduced worldwide.
This is also what consumers are seeking.
Healthy food started out as a motivation – a “want”- so companies added to products to make them healthier for us. That’s how health started out – as a motivation to buy. What we now see is that health products depend more on a permission to buy. Consumers now want convenient products that taste great, but they want them free from anything perceived as artificial. This is a huge rejection of the idea of processed foods and the conventional food industry. The same problem is raising in the cosmetic industry- major brands are “synthetic” reproduction of natural – and consumers are seeking for authentic natural products.
Industries would love to change, to follow this trends but now need to develop “permissibility”. Most regulations have been created in favour of the chemical industry and it will take a long time to change.
Consumers look at the ingredients in products and from where they are derived. They want to choose the products that appear optimal.
What companies need to look at very carefully is a consumer’s reason for rejecting a product. Consumers are getting more and more reasons to reject a product. As companies open up their value chains, that chain is actively opened up even more by consumers and consumer organizations. As soon as someone improves their value chain—now we have organic farming, for example—then you don’t want something that is worse than organic farming. If you have a choice, you don’t want industrial farming if you can have organic farming.
The consequence of these trends is not easy to digest for different parts of the food industry. We saw a global shift in roughly 2005 when the greatest health concerns for consumers globally began to cluster around nasties in your food, impurities in your food products. Today, instead of cancer or heart health, the biggest health concern across the world subtly shifted toward fear of things that shouldn’t be in the food products. Example: perceived poisons, bad things coming out of the processed food system. Everyone remembers the melamine scandal in China and the growing aversion to pesticides in the U.S. and Europe.
This was very subtle but today consumers began to say, ‘We do not want industrial farming,’ ” We do not want synthetic cosmetics and artificial perfumes” and this is a trend that dovetails well with natural and continues to grow stronger and stronger. The truth for the food industry and the cosmetic industry is that this is not a quick fix and it is not a trend that will just go away. We are in the middle of a large European survey about these challenges, and global companies realize today that they are stuck in business models that make things better, faster, cheaper, more efficiently. Those business models are coming to an end, in a way, because they have greater and greater problems in following the consumer.
The consumer is heading in a different direction. ‘I want it organic. I want it local. I want it full of nutrition. I want variety. I don’t just want this one-size-fits-all. I want lots of different vegetables, I want lots of different grains, I want real natural cosmetics, no parabens, no unknown molecules replacing natural compounds, I want no phthalates in my perfume’—this is a totally different paradigm to the present model. Now it is a political goal to understand the need to change very fast safety regulations in favour of natural agriculture, artisanal craft and handmade products, to put in place organisations and education projects that will provide work to millions of people on the planet. Will this become the New World Order ? Follow 2luxury2 to stay informed on the last development.