UK Food Trends: How fast can your supply chain move?

Mar 2016

Food trends come and go – a few Christmases ago it was goose fat on your roast potatoes, this year it’s Kalettes, a tasty cross between a Brussels Sprout and Kale. But the one thing that isn’t going to go away is our love affair with all things fresh.

2016 is the year healthy eating evolved and as consumers move towards a more demand-driven supply chain, retailers need to be able to respond to changes in tastes and trends fast.

This year we saw a sweet potato stampede when toasting it became the new healthy alternative to bread. While watermelon sales increased after news broke that Beyonce had just bought a stake in WTRMLN WTR, a company that was extolling the virtues of cold pressed watermelon juice as the next super food.

In the UK, it was Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s TV documentary War On Waste that sparked demand for wonky vegetable. Asda picked up on the public’s appetite for tackling food waste and introduced its Wonky Vegetable box, which experts estimate will have sold 500 million tonnes of ‘imperfect’ vegetables by the end of this year. Tesco followed suit with their Perfectly Imperfect range of wonky fresh fruit and vegetables to tackle food waste. The move means Tesco’s Perfectly Imperfect apples has increased the crop it can take to 97%, while its Perfectly Imperfect strawberries can now take 95%.

Other big food trends of 2016 included Aubergines. In its Food & Drink 2016 Report, Waitrose highlighted the purple wonder to be its latest surprise seller with sales rising by 18% so far this year, while seaweed, cactus water and sales of the Brazilian rump steak Picanha all became new foodie staples of 2016.

For Supply Chain managers keeping abreast of our changing tastes, timing is everything.

How fast your supply chain can respond to promotions or food trends has never been more crucial. Retailers today need to be able to respond to consumer demand and that means their supply chains need the ability to turn on and off fad foods quickly and easily. In today’s fast paced and competitive world, your demand planning and forecasting system must be up to the challenge.

Food operators and retailers need a system and process that can aggregate forecasted demand across multiple locations and communicate that demand with their global partners as an integrated part of their end-to-end supply chain. At iTradeNetwork, we have a rich demand planning and forecasting solution that increases efficiency and helps our customers improve stock levels and reduce stock outs.

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