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The $5 Fancy Cupcake & the Old Twinkie: Fickle Trends Demand Greater Automation in Food & Grocery

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When it comes to food trends, consumers can be fickle.

The Hostess Twinkie made huge headlines when its producer and distributor closed operations last year, and some were wondering how they would survive without the long-standing and popular sweet treat.

But the Twinkie will soon be back on store shelves after the Hostess snack cake brand and its assets were purchased by private equity firms who revived bakery production. But will consumers really care, or have they already moved on to other sweet products?

Speaking of sweet, for the last decade or so, retail sales of cupcakes have been a booming consumer trend. You can’t pass a group of stores these days without coming across a cupcake specialty store. But now, cupcake sales are down and customers are moving away from the fad, according to a recent Wall Street Journal article.

In the food and grocery industry, consumers are always looking for new products that meet their changing needs and tastes. So what can companies in this industry do to keep their customers happy?

Food distributors and grocery chains that automate their operations are at a big competitive advantage, because automation allows them to carry more varied products and SKUs. Automation in the food supply chain also increases operational efficiency and picking productivity in the warehouse.

What will be revealed as the next new food or beverage trend? I certainly don’t know, but I do know that whatever it is, this particular industry will be challenged to satisfy their customers.

You can find out more about the benefits of automation and how warehouses are adapting to changing consumer preferences in this new podcast, “Automation in the Grocery and Food Industry Supply Chain: The Final Frontier of the Warehouse.

More Resources

Grocery, Food & Beverage Industries Hear Urgent ‘Click’ With New Service Models for Customer Delivery

Don’t Forget to Order the Milk – Customer Expectations and the Biggest Shift Happening Now in the Food and Beverage Industry

Photo Credit: Chris Breeze

Jim Tompkins

Jim Tompkins is an international authority on leadership, logistics, material handling, outsourcing, and supply chain best practices. As the founder and CEO of Tompkins International, he provides leadership for Tompkins globally. He has written or contributed to more than 30 books. Jim has been quoted in hundreds of business and industry magazines such as The Journal of Commerce, Supply & Demand Chain Executive, and FORTUNE, and he has spoken at more than 4,000 international engagements