Supply Chain Study: Consumers Demand Sustainable Food Products

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September 1, 2015

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Although today's food-supply chain infrastructure is efficient, the underlying assumptions that form its foundation are becoming less relevant. Consumers are demanding more locally sourced, fresh and sustainable food products from companies that are environmental stewards and good corporate citizens, Technomic Executive Vice President Bob Goldin said in "Food Industry Logistics: Trends That Matter," a whitepaper compiled by Technomic and Deloitte & Touche Advisory.

"Consumer demand patterns are evolving fast, and food spend is increasingly diverted to an expanding number of innovative niches such as fast-casual restaurants and specialty markets, Goldin said. "This is a real and material threat to the underlying assumptions that food industry business models and food supply chains are built on."

The ability to deliver new logistics solutions to meet the rapidly changing supply-chain challenges will be essential for companies that want to remain competitive. From smaller, closer-to-market and more responsive distribution and consumption sites, all the way to entire production systems built to predictive demand analytics and retail-time information, organizations must remain flexible and know how the market is changing in order to anticipate the next market move, said James Cascone, advisory partner at Deloitte & Touche LLP.

"Consumers have expanded their set of purchase criteria beyond cost and convenience to include benefits such as wellness, transparency and social responsibility, Cascone said. "Providing safe, fresh food that meets this consumer expectation in an anytime-anywhere on-demand delivery basis presents emerging strategic risks that restaurants and food service companies need to consider."

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