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How To Make Sense Of Changing Consumer Behavior And Embrace The Next Normal

We’re proud to present a three-part series featuring key takeaways from our recent supply chain insights webinar from Asia. Our series begins with the event’s opening speaker, Adithya Sari, HAVI’s Vice President, South East Asia Cluster.


His thought-provoking presentation (link to 10 minute full video below) covered the radical changes in consumer behavior taking place in our world today that are set to shape the next normal. We caught up with Adithya to expand on some of the questions he raised.





THCF: Thanks for giving us the chance to follow up on your webinar presentation. Can you start by summarizing the impact that this year’s extraordinary disruption has had specifically on consumer behavior?


AS: In short: everything about everyday lives has changed. For a start, consumers are far more conscious about health and safety – and food safety, in particular. But everything else about our lives has undergone a significant transformation. As consumers, we live differently, we study differently, we socialize differently, we shop differently... The common denominator between these multiple changes is that they all involve moving our lives online.


THCF: Agreed: the shift to digital will be a big factor in shaping our next normal. So, how is this shift changing the foodservice landscape in Asia?


AS: We’re seeing a big switch from dine-in to takeaways and home deliveries. The virtual or ghost kitchen industry is gaining popularity. More people are cooking at home, so they are buying more fresh fruit, vegetables and meat rather than convenience foods.


We’re not just talking about passing trends, by the way. We’re talking about new and lasting habits. Online shopping, digital marketing and e-commerce, for example, will keep surging long after Covid-19.


THCF: To many people in our sector, the sheer speed and scale of the disruption we are experiencing sometimes feels overwhelming. What key priorities do you see emerging from the upheaval and what questions are Important?


AS: As I point out in the presentation, it would make sense for businesses to respond to consumers’ own priorities by focusing on maximizing food safety. And as businesses prepare to restart, fully understanding the type of experience that consumers are now looking for is another important consideration. It won’t be the same experience now as it was before at the start of 2020.


The sort of questions that businesses might ask could include, for example: are we set up for contactless interactions? Are we communicating with consumers so that they trust us to keep them safe? Have we adapted our packaging to match changing behaviour? Above all: are we digital-ready?


I believe that if we focus on finding the right responses to the many questions we face, our industry will come back even stronger.


THCF: Many thanks indeed for your time and insights. There is so much rich information in your presentation that playing it in full is certainly time well spent for our readers.


NOTE ON VIDEO STREAMING: For countries where vimeo is banned (e.g. Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, and China to name a few), we have placed a second version for our readers inside the blog for your viewing... scroll down please


DIRECT FROM BLOG -



Contributing Authors: Adithya Sari, Gwendy Krijger, Joy Ding

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