Pundit Mailbag: Consumer-Focused
Jim Prevor’s Perishable Pundit, August 23, 2006
At virtually every food industry conference, there are 20 speakers who all repeat, like some kind of mantra, that we have to be consumer-focused, we have to serve the consumer, on and on.
Yet in actual execution, I find that consumers are generally ignored or viewed in a very limiting way. I don’t think it has to be that way. How do we sell better, healthier, more life-enriching foods to the people of the world? How do we help people with diabetes, cancer, heart disease and other illnesses? How do we help people fuel themselves with high energy food so that they can live their lives to the fullest.
It is asking questions like this that really defines being consumer-focused.
Among the generally supportive responses was this:
Somewhere in all this, there is a kind of intellectual leap that great executives take in which they stop thinking narrowly of the consumer. They stop breaking down the consumer into a consumer of cheese or radishes or sneakers but start associating themselves with the hopes, dreams and aspirations of that consumer.
Then producing mushrooms or soup or shrimp or a cupcake becomes bigger and more important as it becomes part of the way to help a person be what they want to be and what they can be.