Tackling e-Commerce in the Food Industry

An analysis of the growth of online sales specifically within the Food Industry

11 November 2016

The food industry is in constant motion, continually growing and diversifying to meet the demands of the modern consumer. With changing behaviours towards food and new technology evolving, it provides new opportunities for brands to innovate their service and offering.

The growth of online sales has been driven in part by the maturation of digital natives, consumers who grew up with digital technology – the Millennials and Generation Z (Nielsen 2015 The Future of Grocery). These consumers are heavily engaged with technology and it is part of their behaviour and culture. Making the future development of e-commerce is strongly connected to the culture, habits and beliefs of each country.

The wide spectrum of adoption represents a global challenge for FMCG e-Commerce. World retailers must ask how they can continue to develop the growth, especially in the highly digital East, while encouraging further development in the West.

Due to globalisation of the markets, selling one product online in one or many different countries has now become common practice, with some challenges to be considered and anticipated. Regions are not covered by the same laws, regulations and in some cases to the general rules of labelling. Additionally, the specifications associated with each product type must be considered. Not being in compliance can limit market access and may land businesses in trouble with enforcement bodies.

Food labelling and presentation is the primary method of communicating product information. It provides legal product mandatory particulars, including nutritional and safety details, and acts as a vehicle for marketing and advertising. As consumers are becoming increasingly health conscious, they rely on product information as a way of differentiating between various foods and brands to make informed food choices.

In recognition of this growing trend, regulatory authorities have established and enforced the policies and standards used to protect consumers against false or misleading representation. Retailers and brand owners need to understand where a target country is positioned in order to design marketing and sales strategies which will properly impact those shoppers.

For further information about the topic join us on our Complying with labelling and merchandising rules for e-Commerce webinar and find out more.

Maud Nauge is the Global Key Account Manager for Intertek. Maud joined Intertek in 2003 as a business engineer and contributed to the development of local and international quality control programmes on behalf of clients in the retail and food industry. She has subsequently evolved into a business development role and in this context, she has over 10 years' experience of regulatory consulting projects and label validation for the French, European and global markets.