HKScan’s business and operating environment are affected by global megatrends. Both HKScan’s own business and that of its customers is directly and indirectly impacted by consumer trends and economic trends. To maintain our competitive edge, it is vitally important that we gain insight on the latest market trends to serve as a basis for our innovation and R&D work.
We keep a close eye on consumer surveys and market research in order to gain up-to-date insights into the needs of today’s and tomorrow’s consumers. Through close cooperation with our customers, suppliers and other stakeholders, we strive to anticipate emerging trends in consumer behaviour, food retail, the food industry and food services in order to help us develop a commercially successful offering.
Food has become a highly visible topic in the public eye. The rising vegetarian trend and the environmental impact of meat production are among the issues that have gained extensive media coverage and public attention. Also issues related to health and nutrition have been highlighted in the media recently.
HKScan has a long history of working in the meat industry, and we have a long track record of close collaboration with our contract producers. We also wish to engage in continuous, open and transparent dialogue with our customers and consumers. We actively contribute to cultivating new culinary culture in the countries in which our products are sold and consumed, and we justifiably take pride in our know-how of the industry and our locally specialized meat expertise.
MEAT INDUSTRY TRENDS
Meat consumption is showing no sign of change on any of HKScan’s home markets. As large a proportion as 96 per cent of the Danish population are reportedly meat eaters, as are 94 per cent of the Finnish population and 90 per cent of the Swedish population. Meat consumption is on the rise worldwide, and this growth is expected to continue for at least another decade. In Europe, meat consumption is growing by a few per cent (3%) per year. The majority of this growth stems from rising poultry consumption, whereas consumption of red meat is expected to decline.
Rather than taking a rigid ‘either or’ stance, HKScan respects everyone’s right to their own personal dietary preferences. We strive to offer products also to consumers who wish to reduce their meat consumption and those who choose a meat-free diet. HKScan has responded to the rising vegetarian trend by launching innovations such as products combining meat and vegetables.
HKScan regards the moderate consumption of meat together with vegetables, wholegrain products and vegetable fats as a valuable part of a healthy, well-balanced diet. Meat is an excellent source of protein and it contains all the essential amino acids that cannot be produced by the human body. In addition, meat is a rich source of vitamin B and an excellent source of minerals such as iron, zinc and selenium.
The following consumer trends hold key significance for the food industry.
Health and wellness are hot topics, small is beautiful
Today’s consumers are interested in looking after their health and wellness. They want wholesome sources of protein, they are eager to reduce salt in their diet, and they favour clean label range products free of artificial additives. Many consumers wish to reduce their consumption of fats and sugars. Vegan and organic product ranges are expanding rapidly. We are seeing rapid proliferation of small, local producers and specialized niche suppliers, and their presence is expected to expand in the future.
Consumers want inspiring experiences
Today’s consumers want to be surprised by new experiences. On one hand, they want authentic, local products, and on the other hand they are keen to seek out new and inspiring international flavours. Communal dining is also becoming an increasingly important part of our culinary culture. Whenever our busy schedules allow, we enjoy getting together with loved ones to enjoy a stress-free slow dining experience. Social media is also becoming an inspiring platform for sharing new culinary ideas. HKScan is responding to this trend by expanding its premium meat range, its local artisanal offering and its other novelty concepts.
Easier weekdays with convenience meals
Many consumers who invest extra effort into their weekend meals want something different from their weekday cooking: ease and convenience – though without compromising on quality or responsibility. High-quality convenience meals and semi-cooked ingredients are making a major breakthrough. For instance HKScan’s precooked products and ready-to-heat meals make food preparation a breeze, freeing up valuable time for other important commitments. We also offer a range of healthy snack options. HKScan plans to continue offering new innovations in the convenience meal category, where we see plenty of potential for expansion.
Corporate responsibility is the new normal
Today’s consumers expect a solid commitment to corporate responsibility both in the products they consume as well as from the manufacturers. All links in the supply chain are expected to adhere to uniform principles of responsibility. Today, everyone from primary producers, industrial manufacturers and retailers to the HoReCa industry and public sector must be mindful of the environmental and climate impacts of their actions. Other priorities include social and economic responsibility as well as product traceability and animal welfare throughout the entire supply chain.
HKScan has actively engaged in corporate responsibility work for many years. One of our key CR goals is to reduce our environmental footprint. We are working to constantly improve our energy efficiency, for instance by investing in renewable energy, by reducing the volume of industrial raw material waste that we generate, and also by helping customers and consumers to reduce food waste. In addition, we are efficiently harnessing raw material side streams in order to promote the circular economy. HKScan’s commitment to corporate responsibility means setting ambitious CR targets, working to achieve them, as well as embracing a policy of open communication.
Packaging and labelling
Consumers value environmentally sound packaging and informative labelling. Young consumers in particular pay special attention to packaging and its environmental impacts. Well-chosen packaging highlights the product’s quality and pure ingredients. Consumers furthermore appreciate local production and ecologically sustainable materials.
The latest innovations on the market include smart and active packaging. The number of single-person households is on the rise, which is pushing demand for optimized sizing of products and packaging.
Labelling is also acquiring increasing importance; consumes expect clear, explanatory labels that are fully transparent in their informative content.
International competition and digitalization are posing new challenges for the retail industry. Sluggish economic growth and the recession, too, have intensified price competition and created further headwind for retailers. Private-label brands have seized a growing market share and strengthened their foothold also in the fresh meat segment.
While the proliferation of digital services is posing a threat to the future of traditional brick-and-mortar establishments, online platforms also present a number of new opportunities. Digital platforms offer a new channel for reaching out, serving and interacting with consumers. They provide a real-time environment for faster, more open communication on topics such as food quality, health, origin and traceability and corporate responsibility.
The retail industry is being challenged by low-cost chains and online shopping, both of which have become established forms of commerce. Online retailing in the food segment is still relatively small in scale on HKScan’s home markets, however.
The food industry needs to find new ways of getting closer to its key customers, fostering innovation, increasing the visibility of its brands and promoting growth alongside private-label brands. One of the key assets offered by traditional retailers is the high quality and broad selection of fresh foods included in their offering. HKScan aim to remain a key supplier of high-quality, responsibly produced fresh foods sold by food retailers.
Ready-to-heat meals are gaining popularity in the HoReCa segment. Sous vide and other slow-cooked products are also in high demand. Recent trends in the food services sector largely conform to those in the retail segment: on-the-go meals are on the rise and locally-grown meat that is traceable from farm to fork is likewise gaining popularity. The number of vegetarians and flexitarians is rising, and demand for organic food has also grown recently.