Leatherhead issues global food industry outlook for 2013

18 December 2012

Matthew Incles, Strategic Insights Manager, Leatherhead Food ResearchLeatherhead Food Research, a leading UK-based independent research organisation, has identified the key global issues that are likely to have an impact on the food and drink industry in the coming 12 months. “Global population change will continue to underpin many of these challenges and opportunities,” says Matthew Incles, Strategic Insights Manager, Leatherhead Food Research.

Mixed global economic outlook
Emerging markets will continue to gain more interest as the growth in population, life expectancy, urbanisation, economic output and consumer spending will continue to significantly outpace that of developed economies.

By now, we had rather hoped that the economic outlook for Europe would be much more positive than it is. However, recent OECD projections show that the economy will actually contract in Q1 before returning to very modest growth for the remainder of the year. The situation is made worse by the inability of households to pay down debt and the deterioration in consumer confidence, suggesting that consumer spending will continue to be be constrained.

The outlook for the US is much more promising. The same OECD projections show growth in economic output rising at +2% per quarter throughout 2013, a reduction in household debt and rising consumer confidence, suggesting that consumer spending might also rise.

As food represents a necessity item, the effects of the wider economic environment are not as keenly felt as compared to other industry sectors such as construction. However, factor in an expected rise in retail food prices (because of a poor northern hemisphere harvest for some key agricultural commodities), and we can expect that consumers will still feel the pinch at the checkout. There will be no let-up in the necessity to demonstrate good value for money in 2013.

Sustainability is embedded in the strategies of the world’s leading FMCG companies, encompassing a host of issues that includes energy use, raw material sourcing, the environment, human and animal welfare, waste, water usage, and so on. Top of the agenda in 2013 and beyond will be evidencing the progress made by industry as a whole and individual businesses. Greatest progress will be made when commercial and sustainability objectives align (e.g. reducing energy usage and cost reduction).

Governance and regulation
Here, the greatest emphasis will be directed at creating a legislative framework that works in the interest of consumers and encourages positive dietary changes, particularly in regions of the world where governments prioritise public health issues (e.g. dealing with rising obesity levels). Expect continued scrutiny of the use of salt, fat and sugar, as well as how ‘healthy’ foods are marketed. For example, 14 December 2012 heralded the enforcement of the much-anticipated EFSA article 13.1 health claims. Reviews of the PARNUTs framework in Europe and nutrition facts labelling in the USA can also be expected in 2013.

Innovation and consumers
The business environment looks pretty tough but let’s not get too downbeat. There’s plenty of opportunity too, especially for companies that are prepared to innovate. One of the biggest innovation areas to (continue to) focus on in 2013 will be health and wellness. As health and wellness encompasses so many different platforms, we have identified the stand-out ones for 2013.

For a more detailed insight into the issues that will drive the food industry in 2013, Leatherhead Food Research’s Global Industry Outlook 2013 report is available now. The report is priced at GBP385 + VAT, with a discounted price of GBP295 + VAT available to Leatherhead Members. Visit www.leatherheadfood.com/global-industry-outlook-2013 for further information, or contact publications@leatherheadfood.com.

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Click on the link to download a high resolution image of Matthew Incles, Strategic Insights Manager, Leatherhead Food Research.

Press enquiries:
Matthew Incles
Strategic Insights Manager
T: +44 (0)1372 822274
E: mincles@leatherheadfood.com

Lucy Beverley
Marketing & Events Manager
T: +44 (0)1372 822395
E: lbeverley@leatherheadfood.com

About Leatherhead Food Research
Founded in 1919, Leatherhead Food Research, based near London, UK, is a leading independent organisation delivering integrated scientific, technical, market and regulatory research and consultancy solutions to the global food, beverage and related industries.

Leatherhead’s applied research capabilities and unique offering have delivered added value to a global client base for over ninety years. Leatherhead offers practical advice, tailored consultancy, research and business-oriented support, closely aligned to customer’s strategic and everyday demands.

The company’s services, built around five key platforms each representing a core area of expertise, are supported by a wealth of related and up-to-date information resources. The platforms are:

It is this unique portfolio of services that has attracted over 2,000 companies worldwide. They represent a who’s who of the global food and beverage industry, ranging from large multi-nationals to small and medium-sized companies. Many of these enjoy additional benefits through Leatherhead’s unique membership scheme.



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