Food and beverage: a resourceful industry
While the Coronavirus is being tackled and countries are easing lockdowns, shops, restaurants and bars are re-opening, a very good news both for the restaurant industry and its consumers. In connection with this re-opening, Nathalie recently had the opportunity to interview Corinne Oppenheim, founder and CEO of SALT’Ô, marketing & business development specialist consulting with a focus on Food & Beverage & Entertainment. Mrs Oppenheim has been having responsibilities for many years within the FMCG, retail and food beverage industries, including holding the position of Sales & Marketing Director for leading food chain Buffalo Grill. Here are some snippets from the insightful interview we conducted.
In general, the food and beverage industry can be separated into two categories. On the one hand, there’s what Mrs. Oppenheim describes as “emotional food”. This type of food is traditionally eaten with a view to having a convivial moment with friends or family, to create memories that can be remembered afterwards. On the other hand, there is the so-called “functional food”, associated to moments when customers want to eat quickly, for example during their lunch break or in-between trains.
Image ©Pierre Blaché
Today, we as customers tend to eat quicker than we used to. However, as the Coronavirus has shown, we are still looking for convivial moments. In other words, “emotional food” is still very popular with customers. The pandemic has just highlighted this phenomenon. New methods of consumption have emerged that combine both types of food.
"This acceleration of meal-taking outside the home is also linked to the emergence of more consumption moments.
Mrs. Oppenheim points out that another consumer trend is that many tend to go back to the basics of cooking, finding an interest in simple, homemade cooking. Buyers turn to lunch boxes for various reasons. One of them is that traceability has become very important to consumers.
“Thanks to studies that were carried out some time ago and before Covid of course, we saw that almost 1 in 2 employees came in the office with their lunch box.”
Digital transformation in the Food & Beverage & Entertainment has occurred long before Coronavirus and has been generating new challenges and opportunities.
For example, Food and Beverage businesses have been increasingly using automation and artificial intelligence to provide targeted offerings to consumers. The constant digital development of the market has generated new challenges and opportunities for companies.
Digital transformation in the Food & Beverage & Entertainment has occurred long before Coronavirus and has been generating new challenges and opportunities. For example, Food and Beverage businesses have been increasingly using automation and artificial intelligence to provide targeted offerings to consumers. According to Oppenheim, digitisation has become an enabler for the Food and Beverage industry.
"Digital brings the customer into the restaurant."
This goes through all stages of the customer journey, from before to after services. Restaurants have developed new access points for customers. Customers can discover new restaurants from the comfort of their own home, and thanks to the development of digital applications, and more recently click and collect, customers have been able to order from their favourite restaurants during lockdowns. From applications, to click and collect, to digital invoicing and newsletters, restaurants are bursting with inventiveness to use automation and artificial intelligence in all its forms.
Even though, as Mrs. Oppenheim explained, AI is yet to be used on a widespread basis in the food and beverage industry.
“It's still in its infancy and even AI in Food & Beverage is at a fairly experimental stage.”
However, even with this global digitisation of the market, Mrs. Oppenheim points out that customers tend to go back to the basics of cooking. They are finding an interest in simple, homemade cooking. In a world of constant innovation, this trend should be considered in company strategies.
In conclusion, although the Coronavirus crisis has severely impacted the Food and Beverage industry, this unfortunate event has also shown the sector’s resourcefulness and helped uncover new opportunities for companies to take advantage of.
We hope you've enjoyed this first blog post!
We can also announce Mrs. Oppenheim will be speaking at our exclusive talk on July 1st ‘Did Covid-19 accelerate change in catering and B2B events?’
Stay tuned to get more details about this exclusive webinar!