Food for Thought: Re-defining convenience foods
Over the past several years we have observed many changes in the convenience food industry. The market has exploded with a huge increase in the variety of products offered. The spectrum of quality has also grown tremendously – from simple items to high end offerings. Areas in which convenience foods are used continue to grow, which is helping to drive the increase in the range and variety of products. The change is a direct consequence of global societal shifts, for example, more working women, more travelers worldwide, and massive progresses in technology.
Why Convenience Foods?
Convenience foods promise to make life easier and their main benefit is helping to save time. For a majority of people, life is getting faster and busier. With balancing work, travel, school, and family time, we’re constantly on the move. That’s a big reason why convenience food is becoming more and more relevant in our lives. The definition of convenience foods is ambiguous due to both individual perception and cultural background. Different people and cultures use convenience foods in different ways. Opinions on how to use convenience foods – and to what extent – might vary drastically to people from Hong Kong or Los Angeles or Frankfurt. What makes the topic even more complex is that it represents a very heterogeneous range of products: from “little helpers” for a home cooked meal to entire “ready-to-consume” meals.
Content along the whole Experience
We see that today – and in the future – only offering a quality product will not be enough. All product offerings are and will continue to be linked to an entire experience. The benefit of offering “convenience” to the end consumer will be mirrored more and more in all services that accompany an offer: transparent production process, suitable packaging, appealing design, provided services and more. Convenience is part of the whole, complete story. This is especially true for those services that reflect connectivity aspects in innovative ways. This trend will definitely be interesting to watch.
Challenges of Convenience
The perception of convenience foods will change in the same way their quality and services will change. We are undergoing a new approach of how convenience can support us in living the lifestyle we want to live. Convenience foods will provide for every occasion an appropriate and easily available solution: be it basic, sophisticated or simply matching your very personal mood. How is convenience food used in your culture to make daily life easier? Where do you see convenience food taking us in the future?