Disruption, Innovation, and the FGC Conference

Hot off the press from the NZ Food & Grocery Council’s (FGC) annual conference, the themes of ‘disruption and innovation’ were strong. From innovative online delivery service My Food Bag, through to the imminent arrival of Amazon Fresh on Australian shores, the traditional supermarket model is being challenged.

Customer loyalty is about ROR, or ‘return on relationship’. It’s no surprise it’s all about the data, with those customer loyalty cards you sign up for providing valuable insight into purchasing decisions. It’s not only what people are purchasing, but why, leading to some interesting developments in personalisation strategies. Smart companies are using data to influence future purchasing decisions, and in new product development (NPD) pipelines.

Terry O’Brien, chair of the Australian FGC, discussed the shift of power to a discount environment including a redefinition of ‘Value’. Brand differentiation has been eroded; combined with increasing customer expectations, competition is fierce. Aldi has upped the ante in Australia, with a winning strategy including product procurement, brand trust, an execution playbook and benefits of global scale. However, Coles is finally starting to claw back some market share, offering lessons to NZ suppliers in how to be agile and responsive in a rapidly changing environment along the way. Fostering customer alignment – your business strategy with your customer’s strategy – is the key to working together on growth and margin expansion. Veronique Cremades-Mathis, Chair of the NZFGC, also talked about the need to take action in this time of disruption, including having a commitment to diversity, quality and sustainability.

Katherine Rich, CE of the NZFGC, does a great job communicating initiatives within the industry, and Brandworld NZ put together an interesting FMCG summary below:

Managing change through the culture of the business, building capabilities within organisations to respond and adapt, and having an execution strategy are essential. Technology can provide a competitive edge, but your people are the key to success.

All in all an interesting conference for FMCG industry leaders, and it’s great to be part of the conversation. Meeting clients, understanding industry challenges, and networking on the sunny Gold Coast – ROR indeed.