GET TO KNOW: DR NADENE PIENAAR
Dr. Nadéne Pienaar is a fulltime lecturer at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. Her experience in both the retail and hospitality industry fueled her passion for consumer research that transpired in her Master’s and PhD. She is currently an active research member of the DST/NRF centre of excellence in food security. Other collaborative relationships and industry partners include key retail groups and their respective supply chain members, the CSIR, as well as prominent international Universities.
Dr. Nadéne Pienaar will be a panellist on our session focusing on “Food waste – how is innovation creating smart pantries?” on day 2 of the conference.
We had the opportunity to ask Dr. Nadene Pienaar a few questions on the food and beverage industry before the FoodNext.Africa conference. See what she had to say:
FNA: What do you believe has been the key change in the F&B sector over the past five years?
Dr. NP: I think the past five years presented a case where general awareness amongst consumers grew exponentially. Consumers today are more demanding, more educated and decerning. Consumers are asking more questions and are very vigilant and vocal about issues such as sustainability, product origin/traceability, food fraud etc.
Consumers are no longer docile participants but are becoming more and more active agents who strive and drive change, and who are not afraid to use their “wallets to vote/support” those retailers and manufacturers that listen and meet their needs.
FNA: Where do you see the three key challenges driving innovation in the industry over the next five years?
Dr. NP: In terms of the Natural environment/climate challenge: I foresee industry becoming more sustainable, focusing on finding more sustainable innovative solutions regarding production, packaging and products (i.e. using food waste in textile/packaging manufacturing).
I would like to see that circular manufacturing / closed loop production start receiving more attention.
I would also like to see the industry making use of research services offered by institutions such as Univ. of Pretoria to aid them in this endeavour.
In terms of Health: Industry will have to find innovative solutions to address the health needs of not only of mid-higher income consumers but will have to focus on developing AFFORDABLE healthy options to lower income / vulnerable consumer groups.
In terms of economic growth: SA definitely need to encourage the youth to acknowledge the important role of agriculture. We need to find innovative ways to encourage farming, researching and production of food / agricultural products that would feed the nation in the long run, i.e. climate stable crops.
FNA: The F&B sector is undergoing a huge change. What are the three tips you would give for success in the coming five years?
Dr. NP: Listen – HEAR the consumer. Be attentive to their NEEDS, that does not mean you have to give in to every DEMAND. Use your power to educate your customers should you feel there is a need (and customize the information according to your specific target market). CRM customer relationship management is important. Consumers are taking note of your CSR corporate social responsibilities/activities use that to gain their trust and as a platform for education.
To ultimately survive industry will have to (now more than ever) start thinking creatively… finding ways to offer food products that are not only unique but also affordable.
FNA: Which type of people do you believe would gain the most from attending your session this year?
Dr. NP: Product developers, Food media and Retail/customer PR