Why investing in food & nutrition values could be worth $14 billion

While Amazon's purchase of Whole Foods Market in the US late last month sent shivers down the spines of some traditional food retailers, it also sent a strong signal of confirmation that the trend toward purchasing food that’s good for the health of the person and the planet is here to stay.

No doubt Amazon is preparing for the future and the future of food retailing is looking healthier and more sustainable than ever.

One of the differentiating factors that likely contributed to Whole Foods Market’s long term success was their investment in establishing and working by a set of core values that not only reflected their business goals, but their values and beliefs about the nature of the food they are committed to stocking and selling.

Their decision to put products on their shelves is evaluated against a set of core principles and beliefs that address not only their business goals, but the values they hold around the presence of additives, freshness and wholeness, taste and pleasure in sharing food with others, nutrition and the contribution that foods make to health and wellbeing.

It’s relevant to note that while many food businesses have corporate values that guide internal behaviour and corporate culture, fewer have food values that serve to connect these corporate values with consumer values – the things that people really care about. 

A review of the corporate commitments outlined by the Top 100 food and drink companies in Australia last year, shows that of the 55 companies selling food through retail, only 40% had food and nutrition related values and commitments.

Unlike corporate values, food and nutrition values reflect what a food business believes about the way their food is produced, how it contributes to health and wellbeing, the nutritional value it aims to provide and the way that information about the food is communicated to consumers.

For at least 60% of food businesses, this gap provides a significant opportunity to establish a strong platform for the future.

The spending power of Millenials is one of the key factors supporting this assertion.  This cohort of consumers will double their spending over the next 3 years, and will be seeking food that is produced with their health and that of the environment in mind. Research shows that 70% are willing to pay more for food produced responsibly meaning food providers with genuine food related values in place and well established commitments, will be well positioned for long term success.

If not done already, establishing your food and nutrition values and developing commitments that demonstrate these in the market, differentiates your brand for consumers, highlights what you stand for and communicates how your foods can enhance consumers lives by helping them to eat better.

Who knows? – it could be an investment worth $14 billion.