(Editor’s Note: This is an online-only article attributed to the December/January 2019 issue.)
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Explore this issueDecember/January 2019
Today’s consumers have more shopping options than ever, from brick and mortar grocery stores to online storefronts to meal kit delivery services to traditional restaurants, consumers have a lot of options. In addition to increased competition, food service operators and food retailers face unique challenges, like continuously evolving consumer habits and a dynamic global food supply chain. To ensure food safety amidst a changing landscape, it’s important for food service operators and retailers to first understand the complex customer and the food supply chain in more detail, and then how the appropriate tools and right outlook on food safety can make a difference.
The Complex Consumer
Consumer expectations are evolving rapidly and continuously. Not only do they want year-round access to food from around the world, according to Bob Gravani, professor emeritus of Food Science at Cornell University, “Consumers are scrutinizing food and food service establishments more closely.” They are placing a greater emphasis on the food origins, how it’s harvested, processed, transported, potential additives used, whether allergens are present, as well as concerns about food freshness, safety, sustainability, and even the ambience of retail and restaurant environments.
Consumer shopping habits are also evolving. “Today’s consumers are spoiled with regards to food because there are so many options available to them,” says Jean-Jacques Vandenheede, retail insights director, Europe, The Nielsen Company. Rather than completing all of their shopping at one retailer or frequenting only a few restaurants, consumers are exploring more. They may get pre-sorted ingredients from meal delivery kits, unique ingredients from specialty grocery stores, bulk items from quick-ship online retailers, and the remainder of their food from traditional grocery stores and restaurants.| | | Next → | Single Page