Specialty Food Magazine

Summer 2019

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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At the same time, people are approaching their diet and food choices as part of an overall focus on wellness and well-being with more intensity, connecting the dots between their food and health outcomes. The wellness industry now represents more than $3.7 trillion in revenue globally, with the potential for more opportunity still to be seen. Consumers have embraced the notion of wellness to encompass all aspects of lifestyle including beauty and anti- aging, preventative and alternative medicine, fitness, and healthy nutrition. The global wellness industry has developed to encompass supplements and functional foods as well as farm-to-fork and natural food. On the Fast Track Today, those food categories that promote wellness are growing faster than many other food categories. Most health-and-wellness categories are experiencing double-digit growth in comparison to traditional products that have low single-digit or negative growth. Products categorized as natural, organic, fresh, or free-from as well as those directly related to health and wellness (e.g., performance nutri- tion) are outstripping the broader market. The overlap of multi-trillion-dollar healthcare, wellness, and food/nutrition industries has caught the attention of leaders in technology. Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, and Alibaba are all engaged in various forms of healthcare investments, partnerships, new ventures, and innovative devices. Wearable and sensor technologies are rapidly adapting to new and creative data sets. The first wristbands and watches tracked walking and running steps and provided summary information to users. The next generation of devices will incorporate more sophisticated sensors that can track cardiovascular irregularities, blood glucose levels, and provide remote monitoring of patient activity. With this information more personalized recommendations and diagnosis are possible, allowing users to adapt exercise and diet to the feedback to better manage their health and well-being. While providing users with immediate feedback, the devices also harvest and consolidate this information for the technology provider. Information on location, activity, physical measurements, diet, and sleep patterns will be available from hundreds of millions of users, providing a rich database of consumer information. With this information, technology companies can provide more tailored recommendations on products and services that are unique to an individual, but also to that individual's specific time, place, and condition. The ramifications of this large data set are not known but could offer immense benefit to individual consumers. In addition to HIPPA considerations, consumers may choose to invoke or suppress data streams as they please based on the perceived benefits. What This Means for Stakeholders Both healthcare practitioners and food industry brands and retailers must adapt to the information feedback and analysis that will emerge from myriad wearables and sensors available to consumers. Big tech companies see this and are getting involved in wellness and healthcare services. The important question and opportunity for professionals and brand owners is, who is informing the database? Brands and retailers will need to focus on trust and transparency in their relationships with consumers. As wearable technology and nutritional counseling become more automated and personalized, consumers will demand more from their sources of food products. Specific diets and functional food trends and ingredients will increase. The number and permutations will be overwhelming. For brand manufacturers and retailers, understanding how to position products and the ability to target specific consumer segments will become much more critical for continued growth. Consider the following questions that must be answered: • How well do you understand the health attributes of your ingredients? • Are you prepared for ingredient, information, and process transparency? • How well do you understand the data feeds provided by consumers? • Can you target specific diet-related sub- segments of the consumer population? Finally, and perhaps most importantly, it is essential for everyone to understand that they don't have to pick a side. There is no one right way to eat, nor will the population at large buy into this idea. The path forward is perhaps inclusive of looking back to when they "only" had individual conversations with people to honor culture, religion, cooking skills, time, budget, and all the reasons people choose to eat what they do. The industry will utilize technology and these new tools to bring these components to life for everyone. As wearable technology and nutritional counseling become more automated and personalized, consumers will demand more from their sources of food products. … For brand manufacturers and retailers, understanding how to position products and the ability to target specific consumer segments will become much more critical for continued growth. 104 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE specialtyfood.com opinion Dave Donnan is an investor in food startups, an adviser, and speaker on topics ranging from food nutrition to innovations in food. Donnan is a part- ner emeritus with A.T. Kearney. He can be reached at davidcdonnan.com.

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