Focus on SIAL: Propercorn
Over the next couple of weeks I will be focussing my attentions on Paris and SIAL: the world’s largest food innovation exhibition.
Innovation is the lifeblood of food retail as it drives new shoppers, new interests, new sales and new opportunities. There has been a plethora of game changing innovations over the last few years that have redefined food retailing in one way or another: bottled water, the shelf check-out, home delivery, micro-meals, vaping…the list is endless.
So, in the spirit of SIAL, I’m going to give my view of the world of retail and food innovation before I adjust my focus to an exhibitor at the conference in Paris.
This has been a hot topic in the food industry for a long time and probably always will be. Sustainability can mean different things to different people but in its simplest form it’s a means to ensuring that we have longevity in supply of food. That can be achieved through fair wages and working conditions, exploring renewable energies or protecting the environment that produces the food. I wrote on this subject in a previous blog and in particular about how manufacturers are turning away from organisations, like the Fairtrade Foundation, in search of a more effective way of creating a sustainable supply chain.
In commercial terms, sustainability is still important to shoppers which can be evidenced from campaigns like The Grocer’s Waste Not Want Not. Suppliers should be mindful of their sustainability stance and can use it for commercial gain such as the multiple retailers’ adoption of ‘wonky veg’ to win hearts and minds.
I touched on this point briefly above but, as odd as this may sound, the management of food waste is becoming more and more trendy. This is partly driven by social awareness and hardship programs like Fair Share and also a socio-economic drive to stop throwing money down the drain through negligence and ignorance.
This trend has seen brands such as Toast Ale, beer made from surplus bread, to emerge. Now, I’m not claiming this is a new trend, far from it; the practice has existed for hundreds of years since fruit manufacturers wanted to preserve their wares in sugar to make jam or potato farmers wanted an outlet for surplus potatoes in a snacking format. What I am saying is that this concept and story is now becoming a commercial opportunity.
Online food shopping is something that has been growing steadily year after year in the UK but there has to be a significant leap forward in the near future that will be a game changer. If I was a betting man I’d say that is more than likely going to come from Jeff Bezos et al over at Amazon where drones are already lining up laden with groceries. Amazon will steal a march on the grocery sector, it’s just a matter of time.
For now, companies like Deliveroo will continue to innovate and do things differently and better than before but surely no one can beat the Amazonian beast to the online food retailing crown?
Flavour trends are really difficult to predict and if I could tell you the difference between a flash in the pan and a sticky trend I’d be a very rich man!
Flavour and food trends tend to be driven by social elements like which holiday destinations are popular at the time and therefore it changes frequently, almost on a yearly basis. One trend that is definitely here to stay in the UK is provenance. We are still obsessed by where our food comes from to keep a check on traceability and quality.
Health is still prominent on the trend agenda in the UK and the movement over the last 18 months has seen protein come into the limelight. Is this trend a sticky one? I think not but only time will tell.
Now that my soap box is well worn, I’ll introduce my SIAL 2016 exhibitor focus for today…
Who are they?
Just in case you’ve been living under a rock for the last six years. Propercorn is an innovative snacks business co-founded by Ryan Kohn and Cassandra Stavrou. Propercorn has led a mini snacking-revolution and transformed the market space with its premium popcorn brand.
Why are they innovative?
Propercorn had first-mover’s advantage in the premium popcorn category and has, to date, done it better than anybody else. Since 2010 they have enjoyed astronomical success and yearly growth but now is the time to diversify. Crunch Corn is Propercorn’s new sub-brand which propels the business into a new category, snacks and nuts, with a half-popped corn product.
Innovation is a key market driver in this category and I truly believe that Propercorn have developed a game changing product. It tastes fantastic, is healthy and hits on a number of key cues demanded by the snacking populous.
Why should you love them?
Propercorn just do things differently. Following in the footsteps of Vita Coco and Red Bull, they have worked hard to create a lifestyle brand that is more than just a food but a statement. If you haven’t looked into Propercorn yet you really should stop whatever you’re doing and go and find some…now!
SIAL Location: JK 001 National Pavilions and Regions of the World
So all that leaves me to ask is what are your food or retail trends for 2017 that you want to highlight? Come on people, sharing is caring.