Digital Disruption in the Food Industry – Is your brand ready?

Digital Disruption in the food industry

The playground in Australia is ripe for digital disruption in the food industry. As this disruption occurs it will drive change and create many new opportunities for food producers. RMH Consulting Founder, Rachael Hedges, discusses the keys to be in the best position to take advantage of these opportunities. With a clear business ‘why’, an authentic brand story, investment in your online platforms and clear social channels you will be well positioned to grow your loyal consumer base.

Who are these digital disrupters?
Amazon Fresh for one, is an online-only grocery delivery service. An Amazon executive says the US $338.7 billion retailer could launch its fresh and frozen food delivery service, known as Amazon Fresh, in Australia as early as this year – and could quickly snaffle billions in sales in a grocery market worth $90 billion.

Amazon doesn’t set up any physical retail locations, but handles orders via their website and delivers groceries direct to customer. If Amazon were to roll this out worldwide there are huge business value benefits for the farmer and food processors.

The Amazon Fresh model is already tried and tested in the US. Amazon has a strong brand name and reputation worldwide. They have a proven system, an established customer base that trusts the brand, existing infrastructure and the ability to scale quickly.

There’s an established and growing market in Australia for digital disruption, with online grocery sales in Australia reaching $2,194 million in 2015. This is up 14.6 per cent from $1,914.2 million in 2014 and is predicted to grow according to market research organisation IBIS World.

Top 4 reasons digital disruption could benefit your fresh food & food processing business:

  1. A ripe consumer base you are much closer to.
  2. Profit margin can only go up. By avoiding retail giants more margin is retained.
  3. Relationship with consumer improves. The relationship becomes closer to a direct line and open communication lines are opened.
  4. A controlled brand experience. The brand can personally address and monitor perception or quality issues.
  5. Complimentary products launched to a ripe consumer base you control. Eliminating the rigours of a supermarket accepting a new line.

With this in mind ask yourself, when digital disruption hits Australia, are you prepared for this change? Is your brand positioned and ready to take on the opportunities from the very beginning?

Your brand will be closer to the consumer than ever before. To keep up with this here are some key elements you need in place to embrace the digital traffic headed your way.

How do I prepare my brand for digital disruption in the food industry?
The overarching element in communicating your brand and inspiring a loyal consumer base is knowing why you are in business in the first place. If you know why you are in business and can communicate your reason for being authentically and with passion, consumers will align with your values and become loyal to your brand. “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” –Simon Sinek.

Why do you get out of bed each morning? Why did you get into this business in the first place? Why are you passionate about it? Your business started with passion about something remarkable – so make sure you’ve connected to your ‘why’, communicate that, and watch the consumers align themselves with your brand.

Once you know your business ‘why’, focus on your communication channels. Where and how can the consumer find you? A strong brand story and voice will position your business well to communicate your ‘why’. Invest in your online platforms to ensure they are compatible across multiple devices and deliver an enhanced customer experience. Social channels such as Facebook and Instagram provide an avenue for you to engage with your consumers and for them to investigate your credibility. A steady following, authentic posts with real people and reviews will help to get you there. Consumers will always trust word of mouth more than you, create a space where consumers can share and give real feedback.

Be prepared for digital disruption in the food industry and watch the opportunities roll in.

Rachael Hedges

This article was first published in Food & Drink Business Magazine.