Stan McCarthy

Kerry CEO: Embrace the shift in consumer trends

Food companies need to embrace the shift in consumer consumption and shopping trends, says Stan McCarthy, CEO of Kerry Group. That means incorporating preferences from a demographic perspective, understanding the way pace of life affects food decision making and paying more attention to what’s actually in food.

In an interview with to discuss Kerry’s first-half financial results, he noted, “In the past, the tradition was the weekly shopping — the once a week weekly shopping list, looking for the lowest price and looking for bulk items and multipacks if you will, and shopping for solutions. And we basically accepted brands from a traditional perspective whether we experienced them at a very early age, and accepted them for what they were. And we accepted the messaging that was on the brand or on the package for what it was.

“But that has changed. Consumers are shopping for immediate satisfaction — 25% of all meals consumed are purchased on the same day.”

He said consumers are seeking value, freshness and experience, and they are looking for trusted ingredients on the label.

“They’re no longer just looking at the front of the pack,” he said. “They’re looking at the back of the pack where the nutritional statement exits and ingredients statements exist.”

The mindset extends to food service, where McCarthy stressed consumers are paying even more attention to what they eat. He said people are looking for more fresh products and for customisation. “People want food prepared to their own preference, and restaurants have to be able to facilitate that.”

McCarthy said Kerry is addressing these trends by being a leader in taste and technology. He said the company has a strong depth of nutrition capability and will look to expand on that.

Operating profit at Kerry Group in the first half of fiscal 2015 ended June 30 was €308.6 million ($336.7 million), up 19% from €260 million in the same period a year ago. Revenue increased 5% to €3,028.1 million ($3,303.9 million) from €2,893.5 million. Read the full article