I read this quote recently while walking up the stairs in my local municipal building, which had posted some motivational messages along the walls. (Something tells me the elevator featured no such inspiration.) This little gesture reminded me that health is a series of choices we make every day—however subtle those decisions may seem individually. Likewise, from a business perspective, the choices you make about your company and products collectively send a strong signal to your customers about your values and intentions.
There is a widening gap between what food has become and what people believe it should be. Fortunately, it seems industrialized food is giving ground back to natural, organic, clean label, non-processed products. This sensible shift back to basics is being driven in part by demographic changes.
For example, a recent report from The NPD Group suggested sluggish restaurant traffic growth and stalled sales in the center aisles at grocery stores are evidence that U.S. consumers’ eating habits are evolving. The growing influence of Hispanics, Millennials going through life stages, aging Baby Boomers, smaller households, and the need for fresh and non-processed foods are among the significant factors driving the shift in what and how consumers eat.
Case in point: in 2015 the Millennials are expected to surpass Baby Boomers as the nation’s largest living generation, according to the U.S. Census Bureau population projections. In addition, 65% of U.S. Hispanics—a population base that is growing exponentially—are Millennials or younger, NPD noted.
“Macro food and beverage consumption behaviors are slow to shift, akin to the movement of the continental plates,” said Darren Seifer, food and beverage industry analyst at NPD. “If you sit and stare at the plates along a fault line you’re not going to observe any discernible difference from one moment to the next. However, if you put a stake in the ground on both sides and return some time later, you will see that a small but definite movement occurred. Food manufacturers, foodservice operators, and retailers need to be aware of these slow changes in behaviors or they will be caught off guard.”
Responsible companies in the nutraceuticals industry are on the right side of this important shift. However, it’s also critical to make an absolute clear distinction between those that play by the rules and those that are poisoning the public.