Saveurs 2019: A recipe for building customer trust

How technology can power the food and beverage industry’s response to changing consumer tastes and rising demands for food safety, transparency and sustainability.

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Taking the pulse of Canada’s food and beverage industry

In today’s market, leading companies know the importance of building trust to elevate their brands.

Transparency is key to building that trust, which is no longer just about food safety. Consumers want to know exactly what they’re eating or drinking, where their food comes from and how it has been grown, harvested and processed. Running through many of these trends is a rising focus on sustainability.

New technologies are helping the food industry meet these demands—whether it’s using blockchain to track goods from farm to fork, sensors to monitor them during transportation, automation to make sure they’re consistently meeting standards or smart technologies to reduce waste.

Taking the pulse of Canada’s food and beverage industry
 
In today’s market, leading companies know the importance of building trust to elevate their brands.
Transparency is key to building that trust, which is no longer just about food safety. Consumers want to know exactly what they’re eating or drinking, where their food comes from and how it has been grown, harvested and processed. Running through many of these trends is a rising focus on sustainability.
New technologies are helping the food industry meet these demands—whether it’s using blockchain to track goods from farm to fork, sensors to monitor them during transportation, automation to make sure they’re consistently meeting standards or smart technologies to reduce waste.
Taking the pulse of Canada’s food and beverage industry
 
In today’s market, leading companies know the importance of building trust to elevate their brands.
Transparency is key to building that trust, which is no longer just about food safety. Consumers want to know exactly what they’re eating or drinking, where their food comes from and how it has been grown, harvested and processed. Running through many of these trends is a rising focus on sustainability.
New technologies are helping the food industry meet these demands—whether it’s using blockchain to track goods from farm to fork, sensors to monitor them during transportation, automation to make sure they’re consistently meeting standards or smart technologies to reduce waste.

As part of our look at key business issues that are impacting the food and beverage industry across Canada, we interviewed leaders from six organizations:

  • Michael DeGiglio, CEO of Village Farms, a hydroponic greenhouse grower based in British Columbia
  • Gaétan Desroches, Chief Executive Officer of La Coop fédérée
  • Carl Goyette, CEO, and Luc Martin-Privat, Vice-President of Research and Development, Production and Quality Assurance, at GURU Beverage Inc.
  • Darrell Jones, President of Save-On-Foods
  • Cher Mereweather, President and CEO of Provision Coalition Inc.
  • Ian Smith, CEO of Nova Scotia-based Clearwater

The transformation imperative:

Opportunities for companies that embrace food trust, transparency and sustainability

Integrating transparency and sustainability into your strategy to build trust, and investing in the technologies to support this, is no longer an option. The marketplace demands it.

Technology and data systems are creating new possibilities. A quick scan with a smartphone may soon give customers access to a range of information about a product, including rating systems for sustainability issues and other factors. With the industry and customer expectations changing so quickly, companies need to embed these issues into their strategies and invest in the technologies that support them. Options include embedding incentives into loyalty programs by, for example, awarding points for sustainable choices.

While there will be costs, there are opportunities as well. Companies benefit from the operational efficiencies inherent in practices that make use of technologies to tap into data and reduce waste. And as shown by the experience of Clearwater in China, investing in food trust and building the brand can help companies expand into new markets. GURU, too, is seeing significant opportunities for expansion in the United States, particularly in California where its practices and products go over well with health-conscious consumers.

For food and beverage companies, trust, transparency and sustainability are becoming critical business imperatives that will be key to their success in the future. It’s an exciting time for companies that are ready to respond by transforming how they do business.

A snapshot of Canadians’ willingness to pay a premium for sustainability attributes

In our 2019 Consumer insights survey, we asked shoppers about their willingness to pay more for foods with different sustainability attributes, including organic and local products, environmentally friendly items and brands known for their sustainable practices. Explore below to see how consumers in different Canadian provinces compare to the national average:  

Contact us

Myles Gooding

National Retail & Consumer Lead, PwC Canada

Tel: +1 416 687 8598

Janice Noronha

Partner, Sustainability Leader, PwC Canada

Tel: +1 514 205 5693

Robert Coard

Technology and Consumer Markets Leader, Western Canada, PwC Canada

Tel: +1 604 495 8922

Marc-Stéphane Pennee

Partner, Assurance and Food and Beverage Leader, Quebec, PwC Canada

Tel: +1 514 205 5006

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