The topic of food industry disruption has never as relevant as it is today.
From recent extreme weather events to Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods - it’s hard to talk about food innovation without discussing the disruption.
Disruption is a topic Stacie Sopinka of U.S. Foods tackled during our Innovation Breakfast series on September 14. As Vice President of Innovation & Product Development, Sopinka and her team spends their days working on products clients will hopefully buy three or four years from now. Sopinka says all new product development must take into account potential pitfalls. She recognizes these three food disruptors heavily impacting consumer demands today:
- Weather: Hurricanes Irma and Harvey serve as a reminder of how weather can hugely impact on our industry. From floods to droughts, weather impacts the entire ecosystem and our ability to maintain a constant supply for consumers.
- Technology: The way people are procuring food is changing. About 60% of U.S. Food’s customer base orders online. Technology requires a more holistic approach - restaurants, retail, etc. We need to evolve our technologies to meet consumer demands.
- Food Security: Companies are expanding. And when growth occurs, issues arise. Now we’re facing issues on a bigger scale. Issues such as food safety and keeping people informed of potential food issues. We must recognize our role as food safety educators as we continue to scale. Consumers rely on us so they can make informed decisions about what they’re consuming.
Sopinka was full of real-world answers to many audience questions. You too can join us at our next Chicagoland Food & Beverage Network Innovation Breakfast on October 12. The discussion: Food entrepreneurs,start up investments, and Food 2.0.