GLOBAL consumer trends in food have a large scale impact on how producers create and market their goods.
At the Inspire Summit 2018, Perth last week, Rabobank senior grains and oilseeds analyst Dr Cheryl Kalisch Gordon questioned the audience on how they needed to position their businesses and themselves to be a part of the future of food.
The United States, China and Japan are all fast-moving consumers of Australian products.
“They are consumers that won’t stay in a job more than two years, so trying to get them to commit to a brand or a way of thinking or deciding is a huge challenge,” Ms Kalisch Gordon said.
The main issue is that science is having a reduced impact on the regulations which is evident all around the world with the consumer demands leading into regulatory impositions.
Cases include humane practices with meat and the impact of chemicals on grains.
“Things that are starting as consumer demands are now being imbedded in regulation around the world, regardless of the accreditation of science that sits behind it,” she said.
“What we are seeing in market trends is happening faster and more broadly due to the use of technology and we have really seen the development of premium markets.”
Ms Kalisch Gordon’s advice was to accept the need for a social licence to operate, not only in the regulatory side of things but in the market side of things.
“We can’t tell consumers that what they want is not okay and we can’t expect them to jump to our side of thinking,” she said.
Supply chains will soon see change, more often than before, which may cause a farming business to change too.
Ms Gordon said some of these things weren’t new, but now changes were happening quicker and more globally.
With data soon to underpin how people manage their farms into the future and how they assure they’re delivering the product that consumers are paying for, block chains will soon be an important element in the industries future as a new way of managing supply chains.
“It’s about this shared distributor ledger, where by every one in the supply chain is charged with managing the integrity of that supply chain so it’s like having an electronic ledger book, and everybody has a copy,” Ms Gordon said.
“What is important about that is these platforms are really going to deliver the capacity to sit behind providence of your products into the future, into that world market that you so much depend on.
“The providence, the origin and the futures are all completely traceable, which at the end of the day is what that consumer is looking for when they are buying their products to confirm that when they pay that extra money, that they are actually getting what they thought they were getting.
“This will replace the traditional supply chain which is to trust one handler to the next.”
Ms Kalisch Gordon said there was no way for a consumer eating a bowl of noodles at the end of the supply chain to know what happened at the top of the transaction and that a block chain was the net that verified the whole transaction.
“The key here is the providence, the capacity to say this is a non genetically modified wheat grown in the Esperance region and it’s great for the noodles and I can tell you that each person who handled it along the way had no chemical residue issues in their transport equipment,” she said.
Ms Kalisch Gordon said growers needed to recognise that they might not see value in something, others might do.
She said growers might not want to produce a green steak but if somebody wanted to eat a green steak and will pay extra for a green steak, there was a market there.
Ms Kalisch Gordon said doing nothing in her view was not an option - farmers have had the disruption on the consumer side, with consumers wanting more, now they can get more and they have access to more information.
“I think the message I want to leave you with today is on one side of the ledger we have technology changing our market but we also need to have technology on our side if we are to reach into those new markets and take advantage of those new markets into the future,” she said.