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A Wake-up Call for ‘Big Food’

grocerydecision_croppedYesterday afternoon, I snacked on chipotle-lime beef jerky while sipping a stevia-sweetened sparkling beverage. Last night, I cooked dinner for four with a meal kit delivered to my house. This morning, I skipped the cereal sitting dormant in my pantry and grabbed a high-protein nutrition bar from a local company for breakfast as I scrambled out the door. Like me, large swaths of consumers have fundamentally changed their food consumption habits, and small- and medium-sized manufacturers have taken advantage of those shifts to the detriment of established “big food” manufacturers.

As reported in A.T. Kearney’s “Is Big Food in Trouble?” report, the top 25 food manufacturers in the United States have ceded 300 basis points of market share to small- and medium-sized competitors since 2012—and have had anemic annual growth of 1.8%. Changes in consumers’ core values—amplified by social media, celebrity chefs, and a myriad of food experts—are rewarding small- and medium-size companies with annual growth rates of 11–15%. Continue reading