Novel dispense tech could unlock ‘mass personalisation’

Anticipating and delivering on evolving consumer demands is never easy. How do you predict the next big thing, how do you know if it will be a lasting change or a fad, how and when do you adapt your core offering? This is a common challenge across all retail industries, and the food and beverage sector is no exception.

According to a study conducted by Sagentia’s sister company Leatherhead Food Research, a major driver of innovation in the sector today is consumer appetite for personalization. In-depth interviews with innovation professionals at 27 leading global brands revealed widespread acknowledgement of a need for more individualized products and services. Large, established brands are painfully aware that leaner start-ups are often better placed to deliver this. They can respond quickly to the evolving consumer landscape and create products directly tailored to individual customers and their of-the-moment needs. 

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Fortunately, a convergence of technology and data developments offers the potential to unlock new approaches and production methods. From robotics to big data engineering, device connectivity to 3D printing, the baseline capabilities for ‘mass personalization’ already exist. There are signs that on-demand novel dispensing, where consumers engage with vending machines to create tailored products in real-time, could become a viable way to achieve this. Conversations Sagentia is having with progressive food and beverage brands indicate that novel dispense for customized vending could become a significant area of innovation over the coming decade.

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