The Consumer Needs to Be First and Foremost
Darren Seifer, Executive Director, Industry Analyst ;
On March 27, 2018, I had the privilege of speaking on a panel at the 2018 GMA Science Forum in Washington, DC. In attendance were food scientists and technologist from many of the major food manufacturers in the United States, but despite their backgrounds I was surprised to see how much the consumer took a center role during the presentations – especially when discussing GMOs.
Sree Ramaswamy from The McKinsey Global Institute said in a keynote speech that from the beginning, the benefits of GMOs were touted to the wrong audience. The messaging was constantly around how farmers, their crops, and agribusinesses will thrive, but there were very few benefits advertised to the consumer. This is especially true today when consumers are calling for greater transparency, the free flow of information on the internet, and increasingly asking, “what’s in it for me?”
GMOs have been debated for several years with some fearing they might have health issues when consumed over a long period of time. While scientific studies have yet to prove that, our research at NPD shows more than 70 percent of adults have concerns when using GMO foods. As a result, nearly 20 percent of all meal occasions now include a Non-GMO Verified product up from nearly zero just five years ago. Clearly, the science around GMOs hasn’t reached the average consumer.
What I took away from this conference is that food companies have to be consumer focused throughout their entire organization. Even if your role is scientific in nature, you have to be concerned with how consumers will react. So while those of us in the food industry might be close to the information, the average person isn’t and it’s everyone’s job to educate them and satisfy their needs.
Related Blog Posts
Amazon Go is a new kind of store featuring, as Amazon describes, “the world's most advanced shopping technology.” Darren Seifer, NPD food and beverage industry analyst, visits the Amazon Go store in Seattle to get a first-hand look at what some bill as the store of tomorrow.
U.S. consumers have new attitudes about their eating choices and food and foodservice companies are addressing these new realities.
It’s that time of year when I gather and review all of the food and beverage and foodservice research we’ve conducted over the past year and begin compiling the next annual edition of Eating Patterns in America.
I sometimes feel in the minority of men when it comes to grocery shopping because I actually don’t mind the task.
- Top 10 Sellers | Entertainment Industry Trends
- Leisure Sneakers, Comfort-Oriented Styles Drive Footwear Sales
- 10 Trends You Should Know About Kids' Licensed Products
- Plant-based Proteins Aren't Just for Vegans Anymore
- New industry analysis on bra sizing uncovers full-figure opportunities