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How can technology inform customer choice? All your concerns on one screen.

Posted 28 May Josef Hoccom

Healthy eating focussed recipe books flying off bookstore shelves, Athleisure dominating the fashion industry, and if you’re not doing it yourself, you’ll know someone doing Slimming world or another diet. The health-conscious consumer has created a shift in demand. As consumers, we’re now educated on the importance of a healthy lifestyle, and this is changing how and what we eat.

However, it’s not just the fitness aspect that’s affecting the food industry. ‘Free from’ foods to cater for those with allergies, intolerances, health needs and, those seeking ethical diets such as vegan and vegetarianism. This means that brands need to be catering to these consumers and offering alternative choices.

We have also seen a shift in the products available within the industry. There has been a shift for companies to provide much healthier options and be utilising their marketing to show this. McDonald’s is a great example of adapting to meet consumer demand. By introducing more fruit bags, salad sides, sugar-free drink options. Their marketing canon focus around no additives in their products. Not forgetting the famous Greggs vegan sausage roll that took the industry by storm. Tapping into a certain consumer and as a result increased their sales/profits.

Furthermore new brands are coming into the market solely to meet these consumer needs. The food chain Itsu’s whole ethos is surrounded by ethical, sustainable, fresh, healthy Asian cuisine. They have taken this stance to appeal to the health-conscious consumer. Changing the perception that fast food is an unhealthy option ‘fresh not fried’. Offering dishes to meet dietary requirement needs, displaying calories of each dish and marketing themselves as a healthy choice eatery.

So how does technology come into this? We’ve seen technology enhance the consumer experience in the hospitality sector. Through kiosks, digital media boards, and POS solutions that aid in both marketing and upselling of products. Consumers are putting pressure on companies to be transparent about what’s in their food and where it comes from. We believe that technology could offer the solution to aid in consumer choice and education around products and ingredients.

To meet food standard agency requirements companies must provide allergen information on both prepacked and non-prepacked food or drink items. This could be in the form of allergen information on the menu or in writing. Such as a signpost explaining how to acquire this information, e.g. asking a staff member.

This process has many flaws and has formed part of a wider conversation around food safety within the news recently. Companies have been increasingly under pressure to showcase a more honest and reassuring role towards their customers they have checked everything. We believe that technology could be a valuable partner to many brands in tackling this.

This could be in the form of interactive touch screen Information Stations. Where consumers can vet the products themselves in comprehensive detail. Without having to go through the faff of finding an employee, asking the questions, making the decision and as a result holding up the queue. A process that seems counter-intuitive to the consensus that everything must be efficient and seamless. (Check out Celestra’s Touch Screen Concept Here)

To collate product information quickly the screen could be further streamlined by including scanning technology. As well as allergy advice the screen could also give further information about the product; where it’s made/produced or where the ingredients were sourced. Also, the ethical lifecycle and possibly suggestions for other products in the range with similar ingredients and dietary suitability.

This technological solution could be a useful tool in a company’s experience strategy. Addressing this change in consumer attitudes towards a more conscious consumer demographic. Therefore by adopting this more transparent approach to customer interaction, the benefits of repeat business and customer loyalty can only improve.

Get in touch today to see how Celestra can transform your customer experience, email or call 01908 889 500

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