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In looking at consumer behaviour when it comes to the snacking market, industry specialist Mark Field says, “the biggest disruptor in the market is the consumer”.

We think we are changing things because the consumer wants more, but in reality, we are changing because we are being highly influenced by the consumer. The customer doesn’t always know what the end solution is going to look like, but is expressing a need and saying, “come and disrupt the market”, Mark Field told F&DB.

For Field, there is real skill in understanding when you need to introduce something to meet a customer need. Innovation for innovation sake does not necessarily deliver the right outcome. It is about asking “Where is the opportunity? Where has the customer given us the most permission to change what’s on offer? And then asking how you innovate in that space”.

People’s lifestyles have changed and there is less time for more formularised meals. It means consumers are looking for something they can eat on the run in between meetings, on the way home, or that sees them through to their next proper meal.

What that looks like depends on the consumer, Field says. “The customer is saying, snacking is more important in my lifestyle than it has been for a while. Now, how food manufacturers meet that need is about developing products for that meal occasion.”

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