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Seminarie Streekproducten 20 th September 2013. Trends & Evolutions in the Food Sector. Prof. Dr. Xavier Gellynck & Dr. Hans De Steur Ghent University, Department of Agricultural Economics , Division Agri -Food Marketing & Chain Management. Xavier Gellynck.

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Seminarie Streekproducten

20th September 2013

Trends & Evolutions in the Food Sector

Prof. Dr. Xavier Gellynck & Dr. Hans De Steur

Ghent University, Department of Agricultural Economics,

Division Agri-Food Marketing & Chain Management

Xavier Gellynck

Challenges for the food sector: International developments

Competition (BRIC) 

Population growth  30-50% by 2050

Food demand  x3

Battle for land

Changing food habits

Challenges for the food sector:Consumer

  • Consumer trends

    • not suddenly (<-> rage/hype)

    • a long lifecycle, counter trend

    • appears mostly first in society then in the food sector

    • sources of inspiration, that may lead to innovation



Food Trends






(safety, medical, functional)






  • AFRESH = Boosting economic development of EU regions through trans-national collaboration

Global issues need local adaptions

  • Multidisciplinary project

  • EU2020: Innovation – Cluster development (RDCs) – SMEs

AFRESH: The process

  • A common, inter-regional research agenda & Joint Action plan

  • Challenges = 4 priority areas

  • Solutions = 5 horizontal themes

    Solutions = 18 research or product/service ideas

e.g. SMART CHOICES Healthy lifestyle rewards

  • Traditional approaches to promote healthy lifestyles are ineffective and provide only short term effects

  • Additional triggers are needed to compete with rewards induced by unhealthy eating (sugary, salty foods)

  • Applications on the market are few &

    • do not integrate nutrition and PA

    • do not incorporate regional context

e.g. SMART CHOICES Healthy lifestyle rewards

  • Improvingdietaryhabitsthrougha reward-based system

  • Research:

  • Rewards can improve behaviour

  • Children are sensitive to rewards

An incentive system for healthy diets and lifestyles

  • E.g.: a scoring system where social status is increased in a social network as a result of sustained healthy snacking

  • E.g.: regional initiatives are promoted through extra rewards (e.g. buy local, regional foods)

  • Measuring PA, e.g. through app

  • Measuring Food behavior, e.g. through

    • bar code scanning

    • object recognition

Innovative object recognition

(Jia et al 2012)

Taste classes as a leverage of innovation for SMEs in the food sector

1. Supporting food SMEs in their exploitation of the trends ‘health and regional identity’ in the EuregioScheldemond:

  • Product and process innovation:

    • Optimization of the food product (sensory/nutritional),

    • its preparation (development of recipes), and

    • its processes (conservation and packing)

  • Market innovation:

    • (inter)regional market extension and promotion of healthy, regional products

Taste classes as a leverage of innovation for SMEs in the food sector

  • Organization of “Taste classes” in the Euregio Scheldemond,

    • children are educated about healthy, balanced, tasty and regional food

    • across the border + extra muros

    • practically (cooking sessions, taste sessions, excursions) and theoretically

2. Promoting healthy, tasty and regional food products, by which awareness and a healthier eating pattern can be developed

Evaluation taste classes – ‘regional foods’

Evaluation taste classes – ‘regional foods’

Integrating regional foods in school meal system

Schools’ view

  • All of them collaborate with catering service

  • ½ is not entirely happy

  • ½ Healthy foods are in the picture

  • No/less attention to regional foods

    Parent’s view

  • 65% is concerned and looks for

    • more variation,

    • more healthyfoods,

    • more regionalproducts

  • but no priceincrease…

Into the future

  • Coping with the (global, local) challenges & Exploiting the opportunities (trends) through innovation

  • E.g. market innovation through taste classes at EU:

  • Expanding the scope to different EU regions, e.g. a Flemish week in Italy

  • Interest in regional foods @ school

    • Multi-stakeholder approach needed

    • Reward system for children? Schools?

Thank you for your attention!

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