Tackling food waste has become the number one issue for food retailers to tackle (48%), more important than managing costs (36%) or technology innovation (15%), according to new research among 225 UK food retailers from global software consultancy ThoughtWorks.
Food Waste: Tackling food waste and ensuring that less is wasted during production was the top priority for food retailers (48%). This issue was more important to women than men (57% versus 42%) and was an issue that smaller food retailers (those with less than 50 employees) were more passionate about (53%).
Changing diets: Second on the priority list, food retailers acknowledge major change is on the way in terms of consumer attitudes about health and wellbeing, as well as their diets (44%). Some 18% of people between 18 and 24 years old, for instance, believed they will avoid eating meat in 10 years’ time.
Ethical sourcing: Food retailers are gearing up for much greater scrutiny on the sourcing and origin of foods, as 40% of decision makers said they will be putting a far greater empha on ethical issues in the years ahead.
Health and nutrition: The research found that providing improved health and nutritional information and promoting healthy living is fourth on the agenda for forward-thinking retailers (39%).
Energy saving: Energy supply is a major issue for the future of food retail. More than a third of respondents said a greater focus on energy saving – using less energy in food production and buying more local food – will become a bigger priority than it has been in the past (36%).
Overall, smaller food retailers placed greater importance on the issue of food waste than their larger counterparts – 53% compared with 38% – and were more concerned about the ethical sourcing of food (43% compared to 30%).