Consumer Trends and the cost of living – hot topics at the latest food industry event hosted by Future Food Network

Consumer Trends and the cost of living – hot topics at the latest food industry event hosted by Future Food Network

Professor David Hughes (aka Dr Food), an international speaker on global food and beverage industry issues, spoke to a sell out audience at Optus Stadium last Thursday.

His message was fresh but contained a window into the brutal day-to-day of commercial life with supply chain issues, labour shortages and inflation challenges as the world comes to grip with a post-covid, war affected reality.

Laying the groundwork, cost of living was explored in depth by Hughes, with data showing that between 702 and 828 million people faced hunger in 2021 globally. A common question considered by families is do we heat or do we eat and to save on the food bill, consumers are buying less meat, lower quality products, less fruit and vegetables and less local food.

Labour issues were examined as aggressive investment into R and D for food supply robotics began its robust journey in 1999 in line with COVID driven global shutdowns. Just- in- case inventory management rather than just- in- time inventory was discussed along with the reduction of single source suppliers. A complete about turn from prior efficiency practices.

With a look through a future lens, Hughes discussed the different ways food and beverage businesses are gaining access to their consumers, through restaurant delivery services and make your own meal kits. He said that consumers are also seeking out products that are both good for them and good for the planet, with Nutri and Eco scores increasingly featuring on packaging. Hughes also talked through trust factors from artisanal producers through to traceability and its impact on consumer acceptance.

From farm to fork Hughes gave a comprehensive insight into how our whole food world is morphing with food security high on the global agenda.

Marie Wong, intellectual property lawyer, trademark attorney and principal at Wrays, also spoke about the importance of protecting, growing and defending IP and used two food and beverage brands, Vegemite and Oatly as examples of how to future proof branding. She also gave her top 5 IP takeaways, which included choosing distinctive, not descriptive trademarks and conduct IP clearance searches in both Australia and overseas markets.

Paul Coghlan, co-founder of moonsail marketing and branding firm, said that it was a fantastic event and sobering discussion around the need for short & long term planning for businesses.

“As brand building experts, we see a real imperative to be bold and to stand out in now saturated markets, but also brutally honest in messaging given the current consumer mindset globally.”

Hannah Lalor, CEO of the Future Food Network, said the event had fulfilled its promise of connecting and inspiring for the benefit of the industry.

“It was wonderful to see Professor David Hughes engage with the audience during and after his presentation. It is clear that events like these are so important to bring people together, to learn and find opportunities for future product development in line with consumer trends.” 

This breakfast event was just one of the industry engagement events Future Food Network have planned for the next 12 months. The Sustainable Packaging Showcase is their next event, which will be held at the Claremont Showgrounds on 27th Oct. For more information about these events and more, sign up to the Future Food Network at: