Consumers 'shaping future of food trends'
Dubai, March 2, 2013
Consumers are the driving force shaping the future of the food industry; with demand for convenience, a hunger for greater transparency and use of social media platforms identified as the three key game-changers for the industry.
These are the conclusions of McDonalds Middle East and Africa managing director Yousif Abdulghani, reported the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.
"Consumers' changing needs are driving us as an industry to offer more choices, better service, and better value," said Abdulghani at Gulfood food and hospitality show in Dubai.
"Consumers are changing their eating habits - there is more out of home consumption, they want convenience and they want to know more about their food, how it is made and where it comes from. They are hungry for information and demand transparency from companies," he stated, when asked about major trends affecting the Middle East food industry.
"What is exciting and also challenging to see is how lifestyle shifts, technology and social media are changing the way that people interact with brands in our industry," he said.
"Customers no longer want just to be broadcast to, they expect to be able to have personalised conversations and interact one-on-one with brands," he added.
"For example, consumers are more active in seeking nutritional information of the food they consume - whether this means checking the packaging for the ingredients or nutritional content," he explained.
Abdulghani praised the role of regional governments in ensuring quality standards among the industry - especially in terms of halal certification, food safety and hygiene.
"We believe that governments should actively work with businesses to establish guidelines and regulations that can positively enhance industry practices," he noted.
Calling on the industry to ensure they implement and adhere to their own internal strict sourcing and food safety checks to complement government actions, Abdulghani said, "McDonald's has built a system of quality, service and cleanliness into every aspect of the business, including our supply chain. Our food safety and quality requirements - which meet government standards - are among the strictest in the restaurant industry."
McDonald's operates more than 360 restaurants and employs more than 10,000 people in the GCC, he added.-TradeArabia News Service