Christmas lunch, but not as you know it

Illustration by Tanawat Sakdawisarak

CHRISTMAS LUNCH, BUT NOT AS YOU KNOW IT

Instagram at the table, live chat to farmers and news on who just bought your favourite foodie start-up: how your Christmas lunch is changing.

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INDUSTRY: FOOD It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas with the traditional lunch planning already under way.

Long-term weather forecasts are being studied assiduously.

Will it be torrential rain and inside at the parents? Or maybe it will be a stinker – in which case it will be poolside at the uncle’s.

Wherever, it will be the usual Australian fare: sushi, prawns, Greek and Middle Eastern dips, Italian antipasti, BBQ turkey, ham and spicy Asian salads followed by New Zealand pavlova (so they say), English pudding, Jewish honey cake and French cheese.

While the weather may be hard to forecast, nine trends are changing the food industry and will affect the Christmas table for years to come.

 

1. Consumers are now more disruptive than competitors – PwC research shows consumers are the most disruptive force facing business today – their voice, values and the trust they feel for food brands matters more than ever. Changing tastes and growing customer expectations will continue dictating the fortunes of food companies that must meet these demands or risk losing preference. Expect faster food innovation as further data exchange between physical and digital systems and a greater use of insights to capture changing customer preferences.

 

2. Farmers are building personal brands – There’s a growing trend for consumers to want direct links to the companies and people who grow and produce their food. Companies are collecting more data and using it to feed customers with the information they crave. Farmers are building personal brands and sharing their stories and food passion with customers. Given most people are already up to date with family news through social media, it’s likely food news will dominate talk at Christmas lunch with chat and Instagram at the table focusing on where and how everything is sourced and produced.

 

3. Scandals will have greater impact on brand value – Fake food, contamination, safety and quality failures, and ethical and environmental concerns cost money and damage trust. And bad news travels fast on the social bush telegraph. Post-Christmas lunch is an excellent time to rate, engage and share where you will never go again, what you will never eat again and what company you will avoid at all costs, leaving some with a big post-Christmas hangover.

“Given most people are already up to date with family news through social media, it’s likely food news will dominate talk at Christmas lunch.”

Craig Heraghty

4. Millennials, mobile commerce and platforms are changing the game – Demand for organic, sustainably sourced, ethically traded and healthy food is rising, spurred by millennials and more health-conscious consumers. Mobile devices act as mini researchers with mobile commerce becoming the online shopping tool of choice for millennial shoppers. Australians are early adopters and our northern neighbors are equally hungry for ‘’digital’’ food.

Consequently unique and novel platforms are being built, bringing products and producers a click away from the consumer.

 

5. Red tape isn’t just a Christmas decoration – Regulation by governments and industry bodies is increasing worldwide in response to the surge in supply chain failures. Concern is growing that something may go very wrong, either here or overseas before Australians take this risk seriously.

So let’s hope that while growing regulation might be part of lunch conversations, a scandal isn’t.

 

6. The security of food supply under pressure – Price spikes, availability of food and the integrity of supply are a concern as global food demand grows. Solutions are linked to trade, regulation, technology, infrastructure and increased public-private partnerships. 

Australia punches above its weight in the food game and produces more than it needs but it also imports large amounts, too, and is not immune to these issues.

 

7. Bye-bye favourite foodie start-up – Big food companies are investing millions in the integration of their supply chains to improve oversight, control and integrity.

Increasingly news at Christmas lunch may include who just bought your favourite start-up.

 

8. Megatrends changing the game – Global megatrends, such as climate change, urbanisation, digitisation and demographic change, are transforming society and the way business is done. Staying on top of these issues is paramount and means adapting faster. 

 

9. Huge new consumer markets emerging – The growth of maturing economies is creating huge consumer markets where none existed.

More economies are moving up the value chain and becoming core consumer markets. Just look north.

Expect to see more conversations at the Christmas table about how to take advantage of these huge opportunities. Maybe post-lunch is a good time for the kid to discuss her new entrepreneurial idea with you.

The Press is a publication by PwC Australia, aimed at sharing expertise, capturing insights and working together to solve important problems.

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