Food For Thought


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Global Food Markets

The globalization of the food industry has revolutionized the processing and distribution of food products in a manner that distinctly separates food production from food consumption. Given this circumstance, the bonds between production and consumption are heterogeneous and consist of elements of technology, diverse socioeconomic settings, food producers, suppliers, and consumers. The global expansion of food markets hastened in the 1990s and prompted United States food producing organizations to search for new markets, identify and acquire necessary resources, leverage scale of economies, and outwit competitors to obtain new markets and a competitive advantage. While there are numerous marketing models to facilitate global market penetration, food firms may seek to expand market share by global regions versus countries. Conversely, food companies that are currently in the global marketplace may elect to align their marketing strategies across multiple affiliates; to bolster penetration. However, some international food firms persist to create a homogenous buyers and sellers market which in turn fosters increased globalization.

Consumer Relationship Strategy

International food companies reach billions consumers. Some United States based companies have more than 25% of their firm’s sales and earnings generated beyond the borders of the United States. Consequently, for United States based firms to maintain their market status and presence, continuous and comprehensive market research and evaluation is necessary. Many food firms apply market sampling; composed of mail intercepts and telephone interviews; market expanders provide information on targeted demographics, major competitors, product attributes shown in campaigns, print and media schedules, and 30 second TV commercials and related print ads. Market penetration methodologies are also tailored to meet the requirements of diverse markets. The outcome of several market research programs revealed that combining print ads and television commercials provides an attractive and compelling set of customer communications. Hence, mixed-media promotions deliver more value for food corporations than a singular advertisement campaign.

Marketing Strategy

Market researchers discovered specific consumer tastes differed for consumers from the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, to Spain. These findings prompt customization in advertisements, communications campaigns, and packaging. Additionally, opportunities exist for food companies to tailor food products that are culturally sensitive. From an operational perspective, food companies performing business in foreign markets may elect to standardize their products to control production and advertisement costs. However, due to diverse consumer needs and requirements, the risk may lead to unsatisfied customers. A food company has the potential to make a creditable business case for product adaptation when the product modification develops into higher revenues and profits. A key element to market penetration success aligns with product brand management. That is, developing ways and methods to revitalize existing food products to sell in foreign markets. Often food companies revisited products that are more than a quarter century old and revitalized them by positioning the products as mild, hot, or spicy and microwavable. Applying new ideas to a mature market with mature food products has the propensity to leverage the consumers’ changing tastes and lifestyles.

Dr. Johnny D. Magwood
Northeast Utilities Service Company
V.P. Customer Experience & Chief Customer Officer; Northeast Utilities Service Company. J. D. Power Smart Grid Advisory Council; Chairman- Housing Authority Baltimore City; Next Generation Utilities Advisory Board; Utility Knowledge Customer Service Council; CS Advisory Council; Magistrate Judge Seletion Committee. Marketing Executive Council; Mechanical Engineer - The Johns Hopkins University; MBA - Loyola University of Maryland; DBA - University of Phoenix; Doctoral dissertation; Mergers and Acquisition: The Role of Corporate Executives' Relationships with Stakeholders


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