September 6, 2017      3 min read

Manufacturing companies are always in competition with producers of similar products, and there are multiple factors to consider when seeking to remain competitive. Changes in social and cultural trends and preferences need to be taken into account when companies are looking to maintain or increase profit margins.

For the food and drink industry, for instance, manufacturers need to regularly assess the public reception to the products they are selling. This article examines what factors manufacturing industries may need to consider, and later uses the sale of ready-to-drink (RTD) tea as a case study.

Taste

The taste of any food or drink product can be a make-or-break factor influencing the popularity of the product and its ability to retain a customer base. For this reason, manufacturers ought to regularly assess the publics’ taste preferences for their specific food or beverage product, and alter recipes accordingly.

Look and Feel

The look of the food or drink product in question is an equally important factor in attracting customers and retaining them. It may be useful for manufacturers to survey which colours, tones, patterns and shapes are most appealing to the general public in order to keep up customer attraction and maintain their interest.

Similarly, how the product feels in terms of texture is also a very important factor, and again, manufacturers may benefit from getting to know the likes and dislikes of their customer base.

Price

Price is an important factor for manufacturing purposes as although products with higher retail costs may intuitively deter people from buying, it is equally true that a product that is exceptionally cheaper may give off the wrong impression. For this reason, manufacturers should find a middle ground between these two extremes that sends the right message about the quality and value of the product they are selling.

Health

In recent years, health has become an increasing concern for the public when buying and consuming different food and drink products. Take for example the success of the RTD tea product in Australia in 2015. That year, the product’s retail value increased by 9%, with customers scrutinising competing soft drinks for their high sugar content.

Customers expressed a preference for the RTD drink because of its antioxidant benefits, refreshing feel and its hydrating properties. The domination of still water and the general trend toward carbonated water beverages and products such as vitamin water and coconut water demonstrate the customers increasing preference for drinks with a lower sugar content.

Given the Australian consumers increasing concern with sugar in bottled beverages, the RTD tea company may need to reassess its recipe in order to maintain demand. The company may benefit from experimenting with other natural ingredients and natural sweeteners such as honey, stevia and maple, and may also find that customers respond well to a reduced sugar option.

The RTD tea company’s experience provides an important lesson for manufacturing companies in general, but especially for those working in the food and drink industry. Customer preferences and dislikes can fluctuate rapidly, so manufacturers need to regularly assess these changes and adjust their products accordingly, in order to stay as competitive as possible.

Track Sales Trends with Food Manufacturing Software

In order to keep on top of changing trends, manufacturers may benefit from using a food manufacturing software. This will allow manufacturers full oversight of sales trends, including information on which of their products are fast or slow movers. Moreover, a reliable food manufacturing software can help managers assess the popularity or otherwise of particular products, potentially providing insight into any changes that might be necessary to maintain sales.

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