retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Yesterday, MNB took note of a Fortune story that looked at how "Big Food" companies are losing relevance with consumers "who are interested in authentic companies that make real food rather than behemoths that manufacture products loaded with ingredients that few people can pronounce."

Now, Advertising Age is out with a similarly themed piece, writing about "how the food industry has been shaken from its core, forced to reinvent itself in the face of shifting consumer demands. Families once reliably heaped their plates with products such as Stove Top stuffing from Kraft Foods, Hamburger Helper from General Mills and Kellogg cereals, along with similar products from other processed food titans. But now those consumers are increasingly migrating to smaller, upstart brands that are often perceived as healthier and more authentic.

"Quite simply, big brands are losing one of their most valuable assets: consumer trust. And the fight to regain it will shape the industry for years to come."

You can read the entire story here.
KC's View:
I continue to believe that this is a story and a trend that must be taken seriously by people at every level in the food industry. It is about relevance, authenticity, trust ... all the things that are absolutely critical to establishing a relationship with consumers.

It also goes beyond which brands are going to be trusted by shoppers, though this will be the low-hanging fruit to which most people will migrate. I also believe it could have an impact on which stores are trusted by shoppers, and will extend to the demands that consumers will make of the brands they buy and the stores they shop.

It also will have an impact on issues of traceability, trackability, and transparency - because these will be required of the brands and stores that want to remain relevant and effective. You have to be willing to tell people what is in their food, where that food comes from, and be able to act on a moment's notice if questions are raised about a product's safety.

This is, in my view, huge. It reflects the shifting balance of power from businesses to consumers to which every business must pay attention. And in the macro sense, it could be a generational and transformational issue for the food industry.

Ignore it at your own risk.