1 Department of Marketing and Statistics, Aarhus School of Business, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University2 MAPP - Centre for Research on Customer Relations in the Food Sector, Aarhus School of Business, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University3 Aarhus BSS Administrative Centre - Aarhus BSS Communication, Aarhus BSS Administrative Centre, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University4 Department of Management, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University5 Aarhus BSS Administrative Centre - Aarhus BSS Communication, Aarhus BSS Administrative Centre, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University6 Department of Management, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University
What kind of foods will the consumers choose to buy in 2010? Will they be buying organic foods, functional foods or go for the cheapest products? Nobody can predict the future. However, by using scenario techniques qualified indications on future developments can be put together. Researchers at MAPP and the Department of Manufacturing Engineering and Management, The Technical University of Denmark have constructed three scenarios about the Danish food industry in 2010. The aim has been to identify the demands the food industry can expect to meet in the future plus which research areas the public research should prioritise in order to support the development of competences within the food industry. The scenarios are isolated developments. In practise, the future is likely to be a combination of the different tendencies within the scenarios. The first scenario 'Naturalness' has focus on sustainability from farm to fork and organic foods are considered to be more wholesome. The consumers feel a growing need for protecting the nature and living a healthy life and they reject genetically modified foods. In the second scenario 'Technology-driven health' tendencies are very different. The consumers have accepted both functional foods and genetically modified foods. They have confidence in modern food production and believe they are well informed and have a realistic picture of how to produce modern foods. The last scenario 'Tight spending' is based on a lower disposable income and extensive internationalisation. Prices have become the main criterion of choice with the result that quality foods and organic foods have become niches. The scenarios make different demands to the development of competencies and offer a variety of directions. In the following we will look at the challenges pointed out by practicians in relation to the scenarios. The scenario 'Naturalness' requires a change of attitude among food producers and society in general. A big challenge for the Danish food industry is that they must accept that its primary role will change from being an important exporting industry to an industry mainly supplying the home market. From a social point of view this will require further growth of other industries to replace the important place of the food industry. Another challenge will be to define sustainability and naturalness in relation to food production plus to simplify and standardize rules and regulations. The biggest challenges in the second scenario 'Technology-driven health' are the accumulation of knowledge that has to take place in order to develop and produce 'high-tech foods'. The scenario calls for research and development and it is questionable whether individual companies will be able to finance this. More research collaboration between industry and Government is needed if Danish food companies are to compete against multinational food companies in this future. The last scenario 'Tight spending' is the only one involving recession. The spending power of the consumers and the focus on value for money are the central driving forces in this scenario and it is therefore important that the perception and attitudes to price of the consumers are followed. Since international retailers are central in this future, it will be important that the food companies choose the right retail chain(s) as partners for future relations.