Home' FMCG Business : FMCG SPT 2016 Contents [Q&A]
What are the big consumer trends in
merchandise in New Zealand?
Consumer trends typically reflect wider societal developments, and
right now the ever-increasing technological ‘connectedness’ of Kiwis
is having a big impact on their shopping habits. For example, they
expect to be able to buy anything online, and get round the clock
customer service. Some even expect companies to know who they are
and use their data to provide a personalised experience.
At the same time, more shoppers are looking for foods with high
health values and proven remedial qualities, so we are seeing ‘super
foods’ continuing to increase in popularity. That’s having a positive
impact on sales of fruit and vegetables, and even influencing store
layouts. It also means suppliers are having to rethink and reformulate
their ranges, and that there’s a growing expectation on retailers and
suppliers to offer health-focussed support, both in-store and online.
A third trend of note is the rise of ‘table for one’ shoppers, including
middle-aged singles with high disposable incomes, retiring Baby
Boomers whose kids have flown the nest, and even people living
within families or flats but choosing to eat different meals at different
times of the day. This means smaller quantities bought per shop, and
greater demand for specialised and/or luxury products.
Can you share some of Foodstuffs’ plans
for the next year?
My team are continuing to work hard every day to ensure our
customers are getting more out of our stores, and therefore more out
of life – by getting the best value for money, the right mix of products,
and constant innovations – not just the status quo.
Currently, we’re working on delivering a smart and streamlined
New World online shopping service, which we’re piloting this year
and deploying next year; and rolling out New World’s Club Card
loyalty scheme, which is already available in the South Island and
going nationwide later this year.
Internally, we’re currently landing our new Commercial Operating
Model, which will make the cooperative much more efficient and
bring much simpler trading, greater supply chain efficiencies, and
better market clarity. The One Data project is being rolled out now
too, and will transform Foodstuffs’ product information management
processes by creating a single system and shared team responsible for
the companies’ national product information management.
How competitive are NZ supermarkets?
This is a highly competitive sector with strong competition – we are
constantly adapting and innovating in order to meet new challenges from
services such as My Food Bag to niche retailers like Farro and Nosh.
We welcome competition though, it’s great for our customers and
keeps us on our toes, making us constantly focus on our customers’
needs and innovate more creatively.
What are the biggest challenges for the FMCG
industry in New Zealand?
One of the challenges for the FMCG industry is ensuring new product
innovations get across the line. Creating genuine innovation is often
difficult at the best of times and overlaying that Kiwis have distinct
taste preferences that have developed over decades, our diverse cultural
makeup and our small population makes innovating even more difficult.
Unless there’s uptake by a significant proportion of the population it is
challenging to make the innovation work for all parties. Because of that
there’s a tendency to see innovation in the form of taking something
we know is already popular with Kiwis and trying to add further value.
When it’s done well the results can be great, a case in point: Lewis Road
Creamery took something they knew Kiwis love – chocolate milk – and
reformulated and repackaged it, with huge success.
Another challenge, which is by no means limited to the FMCG
industry, is the challenge of attracting and retaining great people for
the job. For us that means from the shop floor all the way up to the
boardroom table, and as New Zealand’s biggest employer, Foodstuffs
is constantly looking for ways to ensure we get the best and brightest
staff coming through the ranks.
Part of solving this challenge sits with the industry (retailers
included), to look for solutions to ensure we get the best people from
the start, which in turn, fosters loyalty and long-term staff retention.
At Foodstuffs, we have long-standing and very successful butchery
and bakery apprenticeship programmes, run in collaboration with
the respective industry organisations that help us identify talent and
train our teams. And in June, we kicked off our graduate recruitment
programme, giving seven top graduates the opportunity to work in
various parts of the cooperative for two years. That followed our
recruitment drive at the FGC’s inaugural jobs expo at Auckland
University, ‘FMCG Futures – For Fast-Moving Careers’.
Do you have any other news to share?
Just that I am very excited about the opportunity to continue with the
great work that Baden Ngan Kee and the team have embarked on, and
doing everything I can to deliver on our purpose.
WE ARE CONSTANTLY ADAPTING
AND INNOVATING IN ORDER TO MEET
FMCG BUSINESS - SEPTEMBER 2016 15
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