Interesting Trends in the Food and Beverage Industry

July 13, 2017 at 8:10 AMChad Moulder

Interesting trends in the Food and Beverage Industry

This week, we take a look at some emerging trends that have begun affecting the Food and Beverage industry. Ranging from packaging to promotion, these are some of the most interesting trends in the industry today.

 

1. Targeting Millennials: While Millennials may seem like a broad and amorphous target, numerous studies show there are some commonalities. Millennials like fresh, less processed foods, as demonstrated by their preference for "fast casual restaurants that offer freshly prepared foods, and shopping the perimeter of grocery stores where fresh and non-packaged foods can be found".


2. Smaller Packages are a Big Trend in Packaging: With one- or two-person households representing 61% of all U.S. households, packages sized to serve one or two people have become a big trend in packaging. Such formats include single-serve packaging, meals for two, multi-packs of individual portions, and resealable packaging. The rise in smaller-footprint stores is also influencing this trend.


3. Packaging for Convenience: Convenience is a major selling point for food and beverage packaging. Features such as ease of opening, resealability, portability, lighter weight, and no-mess dispensing are packaging benefits that influence consumers' purchasing decisions positively.


4. See-Thru Packaging Can Boost Sales: More and more marketers are putting their products in packages that are see-thru or have see-thru windows. Transparency in packaging taps into consumer desire for transparency about how food and beverages are produced, both figuratively and literally. Companies that are transparent about their ingredients, sourcing, and business practices are reaping the benefits in consumer goodwill and trust.


Eco Friendly Packaging Illustration5. Eco-Friendly Packaging Growing: In the past few years, single-serve bottled water has come under attack by environmentalists as epitomizing the wasteful nature of modern society. As a result, some marketers of bottled water have stepped up their introductions of more sustainable packaging. Likewise,  Packaged Facts believes that improved recyclability and sustainability will become ever more important to the success of the single-cup brew market—if not a cost of entry—as this business matures. In the past two years, several American and Canadian marketers have introduced more environmentally friendly designs for use in K-Cup brewers

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Five More Surprising Facts About Manufacturing

July 13, 2017 at 8:06 AMChad Moulder

5 Surprising facts about Manufacturing

Last week we looked at some of the impact that the Manufacturing industry had on the US economy, this week we look  at some additional facts that you may not have considered. American manufacturing has long been the backbone of US prosperity, but with the rise in automation and advances in efficiency and practices, some may be wondering if it still deserves that distinction. In this week's blog we look at 5 surprising facts about the state of manufacturing.

 

1.The manufacturing industry employs more than 12.3 million Americans, accounting for about 9% of the total workforce. Since the end of the Great Recession, manufacturers have hired more than 800,000 workers. There are 7.7 million and 4.6 million workers in durable and nondurable goods manufacturing, respectively. (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics)

2. Manufacturers have become more competitive globally over the past two decades. Overall the manufacturing industry has seen a revolution in efficiencyOutput per hour for all workers in the manufacturing sector has increased by more than 2.5 times since 1987. In contrast, productivity is roughly 1.7 times greater for all nonfarm businesses. Note that durable goods manufacturers have seen even greater growth, almost tripling its labor productivity over that time frame.

To help illustrate the impact to the bottom line of this growth, unit labor costs in the manufacturing sector have fallen 8.4 percent since the end of the Great Recession, with even larger declines for durable goods firms. (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System

3. Over the past 25 years, U.S.-manufactured goods exports have quadrupled. In 1990, for example, U.S. manufacturers exported $329.5 billion in goods. By 2000, that number had more than doubled to $708.0 billion. In 2014, it reached an all-time high, for the fifth consecutive year, of $1.403 trillion, despite slowing global growth. With that said, a number of economic headwinds have dampened export demand since then, with U.S.-manufactured goods exports down 6.1 percent in 2015 to $1.317 trillion. (Source: National Association of Manufacturers

4. For every $1 spent in manufacturing, $1.81 is added to the US economy. This is the greatest multiplier effect of any economic sector. Additionally, for every worker in manufacturing, another four are hired elsewhere. (NAM calculations using economic impact modeling)

5. The cost of federal regulations fall disproportionately on manufacturers, particularly those that are smaller.Manufacturers pay $19,564 per employee on average to comply with federal regulations, or nearly double the $9,991 per employee costs borne by all firms as a whole. In addition, small manufacturers with less than 50 employees spend 2.5 times the amount of large manufacturers. Environmental regulations account for 90 percent of the difference in compliance costs between manufacturers and the average firm. (Source: Crain and Crain (2014))

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It Might Be Time to Get Excited About The Internet of Things

July 10, 2017 at 9:00 AMChad Moulder

The Internet of Things Illustration

The Internet of Things

 

This week, we take a look at the Internet of Things, a buzz-y phrase that is getting more and more attention as the nation and the world move towards a truly digital future.

 

Let’s talk about the future.

 

The most popular definition of the Internet of Things (IoT) is that it is a network of connected devices that operate with a binary connection (on/off) to the Internet. This can include a variety of “things” from cell phones and wearables to the components that comprise them. It can also include other less obvious “things” like virtual items, information or even people. But why should you or your company be thinking about the Internet of Things?

 

Technology research company Gartner recently estimated that by 2020 there will be more than 26 billion devices connected to the Internet. Some analysts even suspect that number to be much closer to 100 billion devices or roughly 12 internet-capable devices per person in just a couple of years. Essentially anything that can be connected to the Internet will be connected very soon. Companies that are looking to improve customer satisfaction, operational efficiencies, and product or service quality should certainly be looking at IoT as a way to address them.

 

Unfortunately, many industries are currently struggling to find a point of access as processing such large amounts of raw data and attempting to create systems that rely upon this connectivity remains one of the most difficult barriers to overcome. Despite these growing pains, I can assure you that it is no longer a question of if but more a question of when large companies begin to integrate IoT into their business models.

 

One of the first industries to adopt IoT on a large scale has been in manufacturing. As many consumers look to curb capital expenses and replace them with operational expenditures, the IoT allows for a more seamless and efficient source of revenue for many businesses. IoT devices also have the benefit of improving the end-user experience which in turn increases customer loyalty and driving sales.

 

In a broader sense, we may begin to see how the IoT might become useful on different scales. Applications and devices could be used on scales large enough to manage traffic or parking. Smaller applications might be to have your refrigerator monitor what foods you have, their expiration dates or the ability to compile shopping lists or recipes based on that information. Although still very early in its current use and adoption, the Internet of Things will most certainly prove itself to be a game changer in ways that aren’t immediately clear.

 

As more consumers begin to move towards cutting capital spending and increasing operational expenditures, businesses may find that early adoption can lead directly to a more seamless and efficient source of revenue. Although it will still take some time to fully realize the potential of IoT, companies that figure out how to collect, process and analyze the vast amounts of information may find themselves at the vanguard of their industry.


Any business can implement IoT, but scale and investment are key to success. Cisco recently conducted a study about the Internet of Things where the discovered that about 70% of IoT campaigns ultimately fail. Why? The top contributing factors from the study revealed that internal expertise, quality of data, protracted implementation, and inconsistent implementation to be among the most challenging obstacles to overcome. The most damning, however was too much emphasis on the technology and not enough on the human element.

 

When trying to define metrics to gauge success, the study went on to suggest that the alacrity with which IoT is implemented and the company’s engagement consistency/commitment were the most important to track. Businesses should be looking at the Internet of Things like they would any traditional implementation. This means competent teams, technology and proper accounting (time and money) all contribute to the success of an IoT rollout. 

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