Transparency for the future consumer

This year’s has ended. Collaborating bright minds stirred the business pot and came up with new ideas – and a key takeaway was: In the future more transparency is a must.

Old fashion street light, blooming trees decorated the surrounding in the TechCity hall, at the FoodTech fair, where 2018 took place from 13 to 15 November. Next to the green decoration the innovation was buzzing, as 35 students with 25 different nationalities and 18 experts worked on challenging business cases alongside the 9000 visitors at this year’s FoodTech fair.

But what did we learn from gathering all this knowledge at one place?

Taking transparency to a whole new level

Industry 4.0 was the overall theme of 2018. Therefore, it was not surprising that blockchain technology was one of the themes on the agenda.

And what role will blockchain play in the future?

Well, consumers will crave for full transparency in the future – transparency that blockchain can provide:

“Is your data good enough to share with the consumers? The consumers are going to demand it.”

Was a point by keynote speaker, Colm O’Brien, Director of Offerings and Solutions for the Global Consumer Industry at IBM – a company that has developed the largest blockchain on the market today called “IBM Food Trust”. IBM Food Trust provides a completely new meaning to the notion of transparency, as it allows the consumers to trace the food, they eat all the way back to its origin.

A future business must be a sustainable business

Sustainability was another hot topic, and for Arla who deals with the most CO2 burdened animal, the cow, there is a need to think outside the box in relation to a sustainable future for dairy products:

“We have reached the limit of how many cows we can have around the globe, and therefore we are looking into plant based dairy products.”

Peter Sinding Andersen explained, as he pointed to the idea of combining dairy with vegetables – an idea that the farmers are also interested in exploring.

That businesses ought to look in a sustainable direction when it comes to future product portfolios, was also stressed by Armando Perez-Cueto, Associate Professor at University of Copenhagen, who addressed the global consumer at the KMC expert session:

“A healthy diet is also a sustainable diet, and that is what the consumers want,” he argued and pointed to the fact that the plant-based trend is actually not a trend but a societal change that is here to stay.

The everchanging consumer

The subject of the consumer was central to many of the sessions:

“Companies should strive for understanding the future consumer,”was Science Director at Arla Foods, Peter Sinding Andersen’s advice for companies.

And the future consumer goes by the popular name, Millennial, which was another key topic in many of the discussions throughout the different expert sessions. And they sure are different compared to the 60s generation:

“They don’t eat three times a day. They wake up at 10 in the morning, go to Starbucks, meet up with their friends and are constantly going somewhere,”said Peter Sinding Andersen.

The main point was that this new generation requires different product types, which Arla need to adapt their future product portfolio to, so it includes products such as smaller meals that can be enjoyed “on the go”.

Andreas Kjær Thomsen, Head of Strategic Innovation at Tulip, also expressed how Tulip needs to adapt to this future consumer:

We have much more to understand and know about them in order not to lose them in the long run.

Smaller packages of pork could be a way for Tulip to meet the Millennial consumer’s need. That was an advice from one of the experts, Line Mielby, Postdoctoral Researcher at Aarhus University, since this segment often lives by themselves.

The yoghurt-mountain won

Holland, Hungary, Germany and Norway. That was the four nationalities representing the Chr. Hansen student team, who worked intensely over three days trying to solve the challenge:

How can awareness and acceptance of natural ingredient solutions and the use of pesticides be enhanced?

The team stated that in Denmark, we each year throw out an equivalent to 11 swimming pools filled with yoghurt. Their presentation revolved around how to change the consumers’ opinions towards adding bacteria to yoghurt to prolong shelf life in order to reduce the waste of food.

“Our team has come up with a solution. We call it the LiveCulture Kit. It’s a toolbox for Chr. Hansen and their customers, the dairy producers, for them to work in collaboration in order to communicate and create a better awareness and acceptance of bacteria in food products,”said the student presenter, Johanne Arnet.

The team then presented a concrete, creative and innovative idea of how Chr. Hansen could handle this in practice, and with their solution they won FoodTech Challenge 2018.

The three days were thus packed with collaboration and knowledge sharing between people coming from completely different backgrounds – all in the attempt to provide the best and most innovative ideas for the seven companies.

What where the seven company challenges and what were the key points?

Read more about it below the videos and pictures.

Video of 2018

What did Arla gain from participating with a challenge at & FoodTech Challenge 2018?

The winning student team: “The inputs from the experts boosted the challenge and helped us find our solution”

Pictures of the event

What where the seven company challenges and what were the key points?

Here you can read more about the seven company challenges and the expert sessions, where some of the key points from the expert sessions are highlighted.

Arla Foods: How to create a strong community, where Arla farmer owners and consumers are joined together?

The experts on the challenge were:

  • Sarah-Kristin Thiel, Postdoctoral Researcher at Aarhus University
  • Marco Hubert, Associate Professor at Aarhus University
  • Susanne Højlund, Associate Professor at Aarhus University

Involving stakeholders through games
Gamification is about wanting to make people do something in a certain way. It is not only a matter of games but also a way of getting the content you want across. It has to be framed in the right way, adapted to the given context, and it should be integrated into the corporation because you want the receiver to understand the underlying message.
– Sarah-Kristin Thiel at the Arla Foods expert session

Marel: How can big data benefit food processors to make better decisions that support their business, the consumer needs and ensure a sustainable production for the future?

The experts on the challenge were:

  • Karen Brunsø, Professor at Aarhus University
  • Bent Egberg Mikkelsen, Professor at Aalborg University

I want it tailored to my specific needs
The consumers are getting more and more individualised, and they want something that is produced to them on an individual level. Consumers are more educated now that 20 years ago, and this has among other things resulted in an increasing demand for organic production. Consumers are not just consumers – you have to think about how you can provide the right information to the right segment.

– Karen Brunsø at the Marel expert session

Chr. Hansen: How can awareness and acceptance of natural ingredient solutions, that help fight food waste, and the use of pesticides be enhanced?

The experts on the challenge were:

  • Rumakanta Sapkota, Postdoctoral Researcher at Aarhus University
  • Anne Odile Peschel, Assistant Professor, Aarhus University

Understand your consumer
Know your consumers and understand what is acceptable to them. Create awareness by positioning the “new” as something familiar. Remember, sometimes less awareness is more valuable.
– Anne Odile Peschel at the Chr. Hansen expert session

KMC: How can KMC optimise their innovative plant protein ingredients to match customer and consumer trends and needs?

The experts on the challenge were:

  • Jesper Malling Schmidt, Postdoctoral Researcher at Aarhus University
  • Lars Karnøe, Head of Legal at Plougmann Vingtoft
  • Camilla Kiørboe, European Patent Attorney at Plougmann Vingtoft
  • Armando Perez-Cueto, Associate Professor at University of Copenhagen

The Millenial way means new marketing ways
For the Millennials, advertisements do not have a real effect. The effect of marketing has to be rethought. They trust reviews, they value authenticity and they want to be participants. As a company, you need to be aware of where your consumers are on social media and you need to use the social platforms to understand them and reach them. This is where you will get to connect with them.
– Armando Perez-Cueto at the KMC expert session

Tulip: How can Tulip make port more appealing to young people, and create new, exiting food concepts and products based on insights regarding food trends and consumer behaviour?

The experts on the challenge were:

  • Line Mielby, Postdoctoral Researcher at Aarhus University
  • Tino Bech-Larsen, Associate Professor at Aarhus University
  • Søren Lavrsen, Senior Lecturer at VIA University College

Put yourself in the consumers’ shoes
You need to understand how consumers think about food quality in order to understand what they perceive as quality. You need to think about how you communicate with them and how you create trust. Take an outside-in perspective and look into how they prepare and consume pork. They are less likely to trust information from officials and companies compared to information from bloggers and YouTubers.

– Tino Bech-Larsen at the Tulip expert session

DNA Diagnostic: PCR Diagnostic Kits – The Future of Food Safety Diagnostics

The experts on the challenge were:

  • Marija Banovic, Associate Professor at Aarhus University
  • Anne Harboe Hoelgaard, Quality Manager at ISI Food Protection

Avoiding brand damage through food safety
Food safety is about ensuring that food produced is safe for human consumption. Every year, 1 in 10 falls ill from contaminated food and 420.000 people die annually. Consumers are increasingly aware of food safety. Companies need to ensure that their food is safe for human consumption in order to avoid sick consumers, product recalls and in the end, great damage to brand image.
– Tina Mygind, Development & Production Manager at DNA Diagnostic at their own expert session

AAK: How should AAK co-develop within the area of special nutrition?

The experts on the challenge were:

  • Marianne Zangenberg Lynggaard, Senior Lecturer at VIA University College
  • Thomas Dolberg, Design Director at Designit

What does the consumer actually need?
Take a starting point in the end-consumer. Remember that what matters to people also matters to businesses. The key challenge in innovation is creating something people would like to use. E.g. people do not want to buy a quarter-inch drill – they want a quarter-inch hole. Think about what the consumers hire your products to do and think about how to upgrade the user instead of always upgrading the actual product.
– Thomas Dolberg at the AAK expert session

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