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The Future of the Meal: Mapping a New Fresh Food Economy

January 2019

As consumers prepare fewer meals overall, while demanding more assistance for the ones they do, spending and brand equity will accrue to those companies providing fresh prepared meals on demand, from delivery aggregators to retailers, restaurant operators and others, and away from individual packaged food and drink brands. This report discussing the challenges and opportunities in this new environment, while exploring the broader impact of the emerging fresh food economy.

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This report comes in PPT.

Key Findings

The meal becomes the new value driver

Following a 20th century defined by dominant global product brands, consumer interest (and spending) in the 21st is turning towards the meal in various stages of preparation, from recipe fulfillment to meal kits to high-end restaurant meals

From shopping to “meal fulfillment”

As more planned occasions migrate online, physical retail and foodservice operators will increasingly compete for the same set of same-day, unplanned/low-planning “meal fulfillment” occasions.

Aggregators, assemblers drive branding

As consumers prepare fewer meals overall, with more assistance for the ones they do, spending and brand equity will accrue to the services providing meals, from delivery aggregators to retailers, and away from individual product brands.

Snacking stays in the picture

The growing importance of meals goes hand-in-hand with growth in snacking; both are driven by time constraints and reflect differing priorities throughout the day.

Vertical integration accelerates

A world with more spending on prepared (and often delivered) meals favours new business models, combining the supply chain expertise (particularly for fresh foods) of grocery retail with the curation and creativity of restaurants.

Supply, preparation draw closer to the end consumer

Logistics and preparation will grow increasingly separate from discovery and selection, as regular supermarket and restaurant trips give way to more delivery and more quick meal provision.

Sustainability, obesity debates to shift in a world of meals on demand

More prepared meals means new questions for consumer health and the environment. Prepared meals, particularly restaurant meals, have historically not faced the same scrutiny over ingredients or packaging as packaged food and drink, something which must change if present trends continue. 

Executive Summary
Key findings
Fresh, complete meals on demand define the new fresh food economy
From convenient meals to fresh, personalized meals, on demand
History of clothing gives clues to rise of new, personalized food system
Ethos of the restaurant will define the wider food and drinks industry
A global shift in close to US$6 trillion in consumer spending
More fresh meals: but not necessarily more restaurant meals
Freshly-prepared does not always mean “unaffordable”
7-Eleven Japan integrates an array of categories into value added meals
A self-contained food production ecosystem, in every city
Charting the impact of the new fresh food economy
Understanding the Fresh Food Economy
The power of proximity and the new interstate highway system
Key drivers of the fresh food economy
Smaller households, older consumers drive new behaviours
Dinner prep time continues to dwindle
Fresh food economy being built in emerging markets as well
Prepared meals, snacks drive global packaged food spending growth
Delivery continues to expand
Meals, snacking and the rationing of time and money
Amazon investment push signals scale of what is to come
What are the next steps in this process?
Automation and autonomy continue to gain ground
An all-out struggle for the evening meal
Impacts: Retailers and Foodservice Operators
From weekly shopping to on-demand meal fulfillment
Tracking the intersection of grocery retail and foodservice
HeMa , Super Species bring grocery shopping of the future to China
Food retailers have a future as lifestyle and diet guides
From restaurants to cooking and meal facilitators
Meal kits are a bridge to the future: but may not last
Waitrose’s Beautifully Simple suggests a potential way forward
EDIT Building the “meal fulfillment centre” of the future
Impacts: Food and Beverage Manufacturers
Packaged food and drink companies face a new reality
Private label and bottled water drive value gains elsewhere
“Occasion portfolios” must continue to grow
France’s Michel et Augustin creates an indulgent “moment portfolio”
Coffee industry consolidates as manufacturers chase premium occasions
Keurig Kold , Coke Freestyle and the race for the home
From the Coke Freestyle to the home?
Vertical integration, real time innovation, and owning the relationship
Impacts: Appliance and Housewares Manufacturers
Kitchen appliances in a world of less cooking and more services
On the strange moralism of cooking
The “no cooking” future is already here in Thailand
Changes in cooking could drive a radical reworking of the kitchen
Ovens and hobs go from daily workhorses to precision tools
Next-generation sous vide players link convenience with data
Integrated cooking systems potentially drive emotional connection
Key takeaways

Consumer Foodservice

Consumer foodservice is composed of cafés/bars, full-service restaurants, limited-service restaurants, self-service cafeterias and street stalls/kiosks.

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