Bakers Journal

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New IDDBA research focuses on innovation


September 1, 2011
By Bakers Journal

September 1, 2011, Madison, WI – New, original research from the International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association (IDDBA) on innovations trends and attitudes, is now available.

IDDBA commissioned Datassential to study innovation in relation to new shopper technologies, social media, new food trends, nutrition, and a host of other areas. 

The research included more than 3,000 consumer surveys, interviews with more than 20 experts from various categories, and a review of notable food and flavour trends via Datassential’s MenuTrends system, which tracks over one million items from more than 6,000 North American restaurant concepts.

Key insights from the research include:

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Appearances matter for today’s grocery shoppers, it’s less about the specific, individual items or technological perks and more about the total collective experience. While the components of innovation are often incremental, true innovation tends to be more transformative; it’s important to consider how those various pieces work together. For instance, a single new food item may not necessarily be regarded as a motivating innovation for consumers, but a well-developed platform for promoting new foods might.

It’s also important to make sure that the basics are covered. For instance, many consumers noted cleanliness as an issue and a major turnoff. In that regard, simply doing a great job with the basics can be in some ways be considered innovative as well.

Consumers are more aware of where their food comes from. They want to know the where, when and how’s of the foods they buy. For instance, the burgeoning popularity of farmers markets is no accident – consumers gain a sense of community from interacting with the actual producers of goods they purchase. Consumers indicated repeatedly that they would welcome the chance to create ties with farmers and artisans via their local supermarkets and delis.

Healthy and convenient have both been major themes in food and foodservice for some time now. While this is still the case, both of these terms have grown and evolved. Their definitions have broadened and they mean widely different things to different people.

For instance, where “healthy” used to refer generally to low-fat, low-sugar or low-sodium foods, survey results indicate that healthy means simply fresh or local to many consumers today. Likewise, convenient once meant just microwaveable or ready-to-eat. Now for many it can mean elimination of the wearying parts of making scratch meals or the ability to bypass customer lines by ordering from kiosks. New, innovative retail approaches to both of these persisting issues need to be developed in order to better suit changing consumer attitudes.

With the advent of sites like Groupon.com, LivingSocial.com and Restaurant.com, not only is it no longer taboo to use coupons, it’s nearly in vogue. People are no longer ashamed to demand the best value for their dollars and they’re glad for it, given that they are only now starting to get their post-recession bearings. Consumers consistently indicated high interest in a variety of coupon and discounting mechanisms, from traditional mailed coupons to more innovative couponing vehicles including smartphone applications, scannable bar codes and social media.