Loren Kimura is the president and CEO of Basic American Foods and the 2014 chairman of IFMA's Board of Directors. Here he shares his thoughts and feelings regarding the foodservice landscape and how, with collaboration and collective support, we can all work to improve the forecast.
Growth, or lack of growth, is the biggest challenge we face in the foodservice industry. Since 2008, the foodservice industry has lost more than $20 billion in sales as consumers have reduced the amount of money they spend on meals away from home. To turn things around the first step is to get the consumer back. It's a simple statement and one that shouldn't come as too big of a shock to any of us, but that's where we have to start. The consumer is the key to our future and we need to refocus on what matters most to them.
Consumers remain cautious with their spending. They don't go out as often, and their value proposition has shifted. They are preparing and consuming more meals at home. This is a challenge as an industry that we need to face head on. Relying on industry peers to pool assets, insights, and best practices will help us all pull ahead of the curve and be better prepared for the future. We need to cultivate a sense of urgency in this drive; we have to work together.
IFMA has taken the lead. The goal is to get manufacturers, operators, and distributors to work collectively to leverage combined resources to determine how to provide a better selling proposition and a better value proposition to consumers. My personal goal during my year as IFMA's Chairman of the Board is to leverage all of the resources available to me to increase industry cooperation in pursuit of this important goal. Through IFMA, we've been able to get a broader array of companies engaged in this effort. We need passionate minds and inventive people to get involved. This is a critically important initiative that requires everyone's involvement and participation.
When you look at IFMA's 2020 Strategic Imperatives, it makes perfect sense that the top priority is the consumer. Our goal is to make foodservice the preference of choice when consumers are choosing where to spend their food dollars. Working together we can make it happen.
What are your thoughts on the matter? What's your one big thing to know when it comes to serving the consumer? Continue the conversation below in the comments section.