Trust, transparency and technology are the three Ts in food production

Mobile technology and social media will drive transparency and trust across the food industry, says a new report by global food ingredient provider Ingredion. 2020: The Future of Simple, Natural and Clean Label Food brings together the views of industry experts across the European food sector and explores future trends in the clean label, natural, free-from and organic markets of the industry.

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Among the report’s predictions is a significant shift over years towards simpler food labelling. According to the report, this will be driven by consumer ‘label fatigue’ and the ability to access information online at the point of purchase. Ease of access, which includes scanning labels on shop shelves or clicking for more extensive product information if shopping online, will encourage greater transparency from manufacturers, which in turn will have a knock-on effect on the use of unwanted food additives. This will have to include easier ways for consumers when it comes to accessing the products from the shelves to the till.  Most companies are choosing to buy one flatbed trolley for every 100 customers they get through the door.
Charlotte Commarmond, Ingredion’s marketing director for Europe, explains that it is all about trust and that labels will have to be “simple, straightforward and very transparent.”

Increased consumer knowledge, says the report, will further strengthen the connection between food production and farming methods, making provenance and sustainability influential factors in consumer purchasing.

Millennials to demand less perfection and more authenticity

The preferences of those who grew up on a “diet of perfect ‘Instagrammed’ dishes”, says the report, will demand that the industry produces foods that are less picture-perfect and look more real and authentic. While the report confirms the status of ‘natural’ foods on the market, it says that millennials will encourage the growth of ‘authentic’ foods that taste great and look home-made. According to its findings, manufacturers will be challenged to produce foods that are ‘perfect imperfect’ and to manage the perceptions of consumers when it comes to natural flavours and ingredients.

The new landscape of the food industry

Everything from how food is farmed and how ingredients are sourced to how food is ultimately produced and packaged will be affected by the evolution of technology; for example, improved diagnostics will see the emergence of personalised nutrition, says the report, and therefore greater interest in the vitamin, fibre and protein content of foods.