Twenty years from now, we will have the oldest population in the world. “Already today, you will find in German more couples without a child than families. Last year, more iPhones were sold than children were born.” Futurologist Prof. Dr. Ulrich Reinhardt had the full attention of his listeners, when when he sketched out the framework of market trends with a few charts. “The consumer groups in Germany are increasingly differentiating. The changes in food consumption provides the food industry with new challenges”, said the expert of the BAT Foundation for Future Studies headquartered in Hamburg
His audience: 70 participants, including numerous decision-makers from companies in the food industry and international business delegates, who attended his talk on Tuesday evening at the Business Club Hamburg to discuss trends, tomorrow’s consumer and future challenges faced by the industry.
Many Food Trends Come from Hamburg
Speakers included also Carsten Nicolaisen, CEO of Block Foods AG, who talked about “Food for Homes – Cocooning to Go”. Even though the food service and catering market has been growing for years, it is still mostly at home where the food is being consumed. “Combinations of kitchen and living rooms are very trendy,” says Nicolaisen. Most consumers still have good to very good cooking skills. “But time is short and the will is weak.” Thus, Nicolaisen says: “The market is ripe for high-end convenience products”.
Organisers of the event were HWF Hamburg Business Development Corporation, the communication consultants UMPR, and foodactive e.V., the food network of the Hamburg Metropolitan Region. “Traditionally, the food industry has been a high priority in Hamburg, with the Port of Hamburg as import hub for exotic food. Based on this tradition, an innovative industry settled. Many food innovations come from the Hamburg metro region. This makes our region attractive for many other companies. We are supporting them in establishing, expanding or relocating their business”, said Stefan Matz, head of international companies at HWF.
The Digital Consumer
“Last year, more mobile phones than toothbrushes have been sold worldwide”, thus a startling chart by Professor Reinhardt. The scientific director of the BAT Foundation for Future Studies thus proposes to bow to consumers of tomorrow, who are particularly well-networked and digital. “Every fourth German would buy groceries online by now”, he continues.
A clever business model that combines on- and offline sale is Vincent Vegan invented by Christian Kuper. The founder of Hamburg’s first vegan food truck in Hamburg is selling s online and offline through direct contact with customers. The success of the Hamburg startups also confirms today’s trend of increasingly critical and adventurous consumers. Vegetarians, Flexitarian, or Pescarier – nutrition as a social statement.
Facebook and Apps as Sources of Information
Next to two additional food trucks, there is also a stationary offshot in Altona offering Vegan Vincent’s vega burgers. “Vegan is not a trend”, Kuper believes. And: also real guys like vegan burger. This attitude is also reflected its employees who prepare the burgers fresh in the trendy trucks – with humour, tattoos, and beards. “People who you have been entertaining will more likely become your customers afterwards”,” says Kuper, who tells is fans about the location of his trucks on Facebook or via his own app.
“The development from mere supply consumers towards experience consumers with special demands and wishes will continue in coming year and provide many topics for discussion”, says futurologist Reinhardt.
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