Food consumption trends are ever-changing and experts generally only agree on high-level, overall trends, which makes it difficult for food distributors to use industry trending to make day-to-day decisions about their product purchasing. In an industry with very tight margins, anticipating customer buying trends and having the right products available at the right time for the right customers is critical to success.
That’s where seeing true sales trends in real-time becomes an advantage for food service distributors. Prime FoodService Software, built on the Acumatica Cloud ERP platform, provides these role-based, easily customizable data and trend visualizations through its dashboards and analytics.
Coming Trends in 2020
Experts agree that health and wellness eating is one of the few trends that will continue in 2020. While the determination of what qualifies as “better for you” foods or ingredients varies from distributor to distributor, there are several common criteria that help inform those decisions, including fat, sugar, protein, and fiber content.
Snacking is another dominant trend in food, especially for Gen Z and Millennials. Younger consumers have largely replaced the traditional concept of three meals per day with frequent snacking throughout the day. Many traditional food companies are responding to this trend by creating or acquiring their own snack food divisions.
The use of plant protein analogues for meat is a trend many distributors believe will continue for the foreseeable future. Burger King’s Impossible Burger is one of the most well-known examples of this trend, which uses specific proteins and other nutrients to simulate the experience of eating real meat. Sales of the Impossible Burger are still low, but customers who buy them have larger average check sizes.
Future Food Trends
Predicting future trends requires food companies to analyze current patterns to determine if they’re sustainable or just a passing fad. One of the strongest indications of a lasting trend is a pattern that shows up in multiple categories, rather than just one. This process requires a company to continually collect data on its sales. However, this analysis must also be accompanied by a willingness to take risks if a company is to obtain the long-term advantages of being first in a market. Waiting until a trend is completely apparent before acting virtually ensures that a company will be too late to lead the market.
Food Trend Analysis
Modern business systems, like Prime FoodService Software, give food service distributors the ability to track trends across the organization in real-time through role-based, customizable dashboards.
The top-level dashboard in Prime FoodService Software shows saleHows and other operational data. Yellow and red trend boxes indicate warnings such as accounts receivable that are more than 14 days past due. This software also highlights customers who have ordered within the last 30 days but not the last 14 days, indicating they may be at risk of using another distributor.
The ability to combine information is another important feature of Prime FoodService Software. For example, reviewing sales side-by-side with gross margins for the same time period allows the user to gain a better understanding of the reasons for a change in margin during that period. This software also allows the user to view sales by customer, item and item category.
With a solution like Prime, you can track industry trends affects on your sales in real-time and making purchasing decisions accordingly so that you can reduce spoilage and maximize margins.
To learn more, see Prime in action with this on-demand webinar.